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Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has 143 wins under his belt at the University of Iowa, one away from the all-time record.

The Gazette will count down each win, as ranked by writer Marc Morehouse.


When C.J. Beathard went Superman over the Indiana goal line

No. 9 Iowa 35, Indiana 27 | Nov. 7, 2015

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard loses the ball after crossing the goal line on a 7-yard touchdown run against Indiana at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard loses the ball after crossing the goal line on a 7-yard touchdown run against Indiana at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Three cool things:

1. C.J. Beathard blew up in this game. Not that way and not literally, but this is the one when he tried to do a TD dive and was hit in the air and spun. It was a TD, but the ball landed in little pink houses.

Desmond King also kind of blew up in this game. He closed off Indiana’s last effort with ... you guessed it ... a pick. Iowa felt pressure in this one. This was the road game that everyone thought might give them some trouble while trying to complete the perfect 2015 regular season.

Desmond was in a really great mood and talked about how, no, it’s not an accident that he’s in position to collect all of those interceptions. Actually, it might’ve been Josey Jewell who turned my thoughts that way. Josey was a pretty good editor that way.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a hard time separating Beathard from King during their careers. They came, they saw, they won a lot of games and now they’re in the NFL.

2. If you hadn’t noticed Josey Jewell by now in 2015, well, I understand. Those were very exciting times.

Jewell recorded 15 tackles — including 11 solo stops — and broke up two passes. Just 12 minutes into the game, Jewell had seven tackles, including five solos.

“A tremendous leader and he’s only a second-year player,” Ferentz said. “But he’s got a real presence about him. I guess it’s to me kind of special. He’s a magnetic guy. Not a rah-rah guy, but guys rally to him. A big part of that is the way he plays the game. He’s totally committed in his preparation. He plays tough out there on the field. Did the same thing last year as a very young player.”

By the way, that quote showed up in Jewell’s bios at the NFL combine.

3. Thirteen games that first season. Then the first five games of his sophomore season. No interceptions.

King, the cornerback who picked off a Michigan prep-record 29 interceptions at East English Village High School, played his first 18 games at Iowa with zero interceptions. Nearly a season and half, the kid who came to Iowa with 29 interceptions as a high schooler had zero.

Now, it just seems as if it was all interceptions for King. In this one over Indiana, King’s fourth-quarter pick of a Nate Sudfeld pass was his eighth that season, tying Iowa’s single-season record with Lou King (1981) and Nile Kinnick (1939).

King knew all about Kinnick, the Heisman winner who Iowa’s stadium is named after. He knew this was hallowed ground.

“It means a lot to me,” said King, who left this game leading the Big Ten and tied for the national lead in interceptions. “Just being up there with one of the greats, with his name on the stadium. It’s a privilege to be up there and have that next to my name.”

Coincidentally, King’s first interception came against Indiana and Sudfeld at Kinnick Stadium in 2014.

King grew by leaps and bounds from when he was thrust into the starting lineup in his first game as a true freshman in 2013.

In reference to King and middle linebacker Josey Jewell, Ferentz talked about the word “instincts.”

“Instincts is an overused word,” he said. “A lot of times, I think it’s just because guys prepare and they really are serious about what they’re doing.”

Extra work, extra video study, King realized the value in that and bought in with his entire checkbook.

“I had chances my freshman year, but I didn’t play the ball like I am now,” he said. “That’s something I’ve worked on, ball skills. Throwing the ball in the air and just going up to get the ball whenever I can, that’s showing.”

How much video study does King do? Listen up, young football players.

“I watch film everyday, whenever I can,” he said. “Even on our off days. The defensive backs, the whole defense, we come together in the film room and watch film. It really helps us and gives us an advantage on Saturdays.”

But some of this is what you’re born with. During his time at Iowa, King displayed an amazing gift for turning, finding and tracking the football at top speed.

That’s just a natural element and he took full advantage.

“It’s really just ... God’s gift,” King said.

Quote: Beathard was in full “stunt man” mode at this point in 2015.

Let’s ask center Austin Blythe the “Beathard beer bottle teeth” question.

“Probably,” he said. “It comes out when he plays football. That’s the kind of person, athlete he is. He just goes out there and plays. He wants to win, he wants to win for us, mainly. That’s huge.”

Note: Iowa cornerback Desmond King snagged his eighth interception of 2015, tying a school record shared by Lou King (1981) and Nile Kinnick (1939). King’s interception came with 5:21 left in the game with the Hawkeyes leading 35-20.

Why No. 54? — I was on the sideline for the end of this one. Indiana had already left.


Game story from 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., — C.J. Beathard went one way. The ball went up in the air. Maybe his hip went another way. Maybe his groin. Basically, there were pieces of Beathard and the football flying all over the place late in the second quarter.

It was second-and-goal from Indiana’s 7-yard line with 17 seconds left before halftime. The Hoosiers had just surged ahead, sending Iowa to its first deficit in almost a month.

You know all about Beathard and his hip/groin injury. It’s perhaps the biggest variable/obstacle the No. 9 Hawkeyes face the rest of the season. Beathard gave coaches the thumbs up before Saturday’s game. He meant it too, because he knows if he bluffs his way to the field, he’ll won’t be able to stand and deliver.

Beathard is all about the standing and the delivering.

“When I scored on that touchdown, Coach Davis (offensive coordinator Greg Davis) called a quarterback draw,” Beathard said. “I was surprised he called it. I told him I felt good. I was happy he called it. That shows he has trust in me.

“That shows I have to be honest with him. If he would’ve called it and I wouldn’t have been able to do it, it wouldn’t have been good for our offense and our team.”

Beathard spiked the drama out of that setup. He scored on this 7-yarder, flying over the goal line, breaking the plane just before an Indiana defender sent the ball into the air and landing on his back.

Beathard’s arm did the talking — OK, you know what that means — in the second half and the Hawkeyes defense strung together some key second-half stops, including cornerback Desmond King’s record-tying eighth interception this season, in their 35-27 victory before 44,739 fans at Memorial Stadium.

The Hawkeyes are 9-0 for the first time since 2009, which ties for the best start in school history. Iowa is 5-0 in the Big Ten for the third time under head coach Kirk Ferentz (their magic number for the Big Ten West Division title is now two). Iowa also has now won five consecutive true road games for the first time since the 2008-09 seasons.

The big question now is does Beathard open beer bottles with his teeth? Seriously. He’s crossed off just about every other feat of toughness.

Let’s ask center Austin Blythe the “Beathard beer bottle teeth” question.

“Probably,” he said. “It comes out when he plays football. That’s the kind of person, athlete he is. He just goes out there and plays. He wants to win, he wants to win for us, mainly. That’s huge.”

Beathard, who’s the first Iowa starting QB to begin his career 10-0, finished 19 of 31 for 233 yards and a TD pass, an 11-yarder to tight end George Kittle that gave Iowa a 35-20 lead with 6:03 left in the game. The play was a naked bootleg, something Ferentz said after last week’s victory over Maryland that probably wouldn’t be seen again this year because of Beathard’s health.

There it was, and there it was again for an 11-yard gain deep in the fourth, allowing Iowa to drain the final 2:24 off the clock after the Hoosiers (4-5, 0-5) pulled within 35-27.

With running back Akrum Wadley’s 65-yard TD run and LeShun Daniels’ 1-yard TD, the Hawkeyes built a 14-3 lead and seemed set for takeoff. Iowa had a drive die because of a pair of holding penalties and that opened the door for the Hoosiers to counter punch.

Running back Jordan Howard hit on TD runs of 37 and 29 yards — Iowa came into the game with one rush TD allowed all year — and the Hoosiers forged ahead.

Howard finished with 174 yards and IU tagged Iowa for 407 yards total offense, the most the Hawkeyes have allowed this season, but defensive coordinator Phil Parker clamped down on IU’s inside rushing game. After consecutive TD drives, the Hoosiers’ next five drives went punt, punt, field goal, punt and King’s interception.

“They had some different reads in there and then there were some reads that we have to be a little more keen on and pay more attention to,” said middle linebacker Josey Jewell, who led Iowa with 15 tackles. “Everyone is playing well. There are some small detail things, but that’s every game.”

Here’s where the middle linebacker was, after a 15-tackle game, grinding on the things he missed.

That, as much as anything, is why your Iowa Hawkeyes are 9-0.

King/Beathard feature from 2016

Buddha & Googy: Last ride for Iowa’s senior stars

IOWA CITY — You already know Desmond King is Buddha.

The Iowa senior cornerback came into the world on Dec. 14, 1994, a cherubic 8 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces. “Cherubic” is the word people use about big babies when they’re trying to be polite.

Yvette Powell, Desmond’s mom, is long past that.

“He was just pudgy,” Powell said. “That’s how he got the name ‘Buddha.’ Everyone has called him that since he was a kid. We still call him that. In fact, it was weird to him when people called him ‘Desmond.’”

So, Desmond is Buddha, Buddha is Desmond.

That’s one of the posters.

Did you know that C.J. Beathard is “Googy”? The story on the Iowa quarterback’s family nickname is pure whimsy.

“I don’t know, but everyone at the house for some reason, we all just started calling him ‘Googy,’” said Casey Beathard, C.J.’s dad. “‘Hey, Googs.’ ‘What’s up, Googs?’ Then, Susan (C.J.’s mom) started calling him ‘Googy Boy’ or ‘Googy Something.’ It was always just ‘Googs.’ It was really weird. It just took. We started calling him that when he was young. Privately, whenever I see him or even now when he calls, I’ll go ‘What’s up, Googs?’”

Googy was the other poster for the Iowa Hawkeyes (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) this season.

This isn’t exactly “Pancho and Lefty,” the country music tune that Townes Van Zandt wrote and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard made famous. If one of these two does, however, get drafted by the Cleveland Browns, they will be headed toward cold times in Ohio. Same thing for the Arizona Cardinals and the desert, but these are future thoughts.

Today is the last ride for “Buddha and Googy,” two stars who helped Iowa reach great heights in 2015 and then just couldn’t boost things enough to reach those same highs this year.

Beathard’s year began with a sprained knee in fall camp. He still hasn’t shed the offensive lineman-sized knee brace. Through injuries and every element buckling hit at one point or another, Iowa’s passing offense also has been in a knee brace all season.

This week, King found out he didn’t make the list of finalists for the Thorpe Award, the trophy (which came with a Rolex) he won last season as the nation’s top defensive back.

“You don’t always get that opportunity in life more than once,” King said. “I have friends who are finalists on that list, Adoree Jackson and Jourdan Lewis. I just congratulate them and hope we finish the season strong.”

Beathard leaned into the brotherhood of the game with all the questions about senior day this week. With Iowa, it’s something we only see glimpses of. The players live it, good or bad.

The Michigan win, with the rush onto Kinnick Stadium field and 10 million viewers, will be remembered for years.

“You can’t put a price on that, all the money in the world can’t buy that feeling,” Beathard said. “You bond with these guys. ... The only way you can be a part of that is if you’ve been here and are a part of this family.”

When it comes to Buddha and Googy, the concept of family hits.

When the Big Ten Network was in town before the Michigan game, Powell came through the Hansen Performance Center just as Beathard wrapped up a news conference.

They met in the room and gave each other a hug.

“I fell in love with C.J. when we first got here in 2013,” Powell said. “He reminded me of the character ‘Sunshine’ (from ‘Remember the Titans’) and I told him that. Then my son Desmond said, ‘Momma, leave him alone!’ And I said, ‘This is your brother now, I can talk to him and let him know how I feel.’ We’ve been cool ever since.”

It’s easy to throw around the concept of “brotherhood” and “family,” especially when it comes to football. The Beathard-King relationship really is a concrete example.

King is a Detroit, Mich., native whose favorite meal and restaurant back home was hot dogs from Coney Island.

Beathard is a Franklin, Tenn., native. His dad writes country music songs for people you’ve heard.

There’s more to this than moms and dads in the stands wearing the same colors and buttons of their kids.

“Those guys always seemed to be together and I don’t think it was until last year that (C.J.) realized how much Des meant to him,” Casey Beathard said. “He was proud of everything Des did.”

At the end of last season, King had to answer the NFL question.

“I learned how close they were when Des was going through that, he called C.J. and asked what he should do,” Casey said. “C.J. said, ‘I understand if you’ve got to go, but I think, if nothing else, selfishly, I will miss you badly. I think the team really will miss you.’

“I think that meant a lot to Des. That’s when I found out how close they were.”

Now, this is the last ride for Buddha and Googy at Kinnick Stadium.

King will be the first college graduate in his family. He’ll walk across the stage in December, along with Beathard, senior defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and a host of the other 14 seniors.

“I love that he caught on to the message when he was young,” Powell said. “You always finish what you start.”

Last ride for Buddha and Googy.

They’ll lead their collective sides of the ball down the tunnel and out onto the Kinnick field one more time, facing No. 16 Nebraska (9-2, 6-2). You know Iowa has been as reliable as a water divining rod this season.

This is where the boys need to listen to momma. Finish what you started.

“It’s been a long road this season, but I’m looking at the way that they’re playing now,” Powell said. “They want the fans to remember them as fighters. I love that about the Hawkeyes.”