Three cool things:
1. A couple of you really loved this game.
I mean like really loved it.
2. I don’t know if Tim Brewster did anything to tick off Kirk Ferentz. It probably just seemed like it.
You guys, you can kind of tell when Ferentz doesn’t like a coach. Let’s face it, part of the reason why Ferentz works at Iowa (still) is earnestness. It’s so very Iowa. That’s not easy for a football coach to pull off. All of these guys, deep down, are coaches with whistles whose days are made if an offensive lineman finally listens and keeps his elbow in.
Brewster had assistant coach bravado without the head coach vision. He seemed to rub everyone the wrong way.
This had nothing to do with Brewster and everything to do with the 2008 Hawkeyes really getting it together and becoming one of Ferentz’s Killer Elite (I don’t know why I keep referencing an action thriller from the ’70s, but it is Sam Peckinpah).
After the big Penn State win, there was a struggle against Purdue, but then in the last two games, this one and the Outback Bowl, Iowa had it going. One thing Ferentz said a lot toward the end of 2002 was that particular group of players were serious about their business, including practice.
They’d show up to practice and start running it. The coaches didn’t have to lift a finger. All the good things a coach needs to see out of his players were pouring out.
I think the 2008 team got to that point.
And I think it went into this Minnesota game and maybe said three words in warmups and maybe didn’t even smile after trashing the Metrodome that one last time. They just sat at their lockers waiting for bowl prep.
3. Paging through the headlines in the archive (I know, sad newspaper guy sentence), I think it’s safe to say that no player during my time doing this has as wide of a, um, spectrum of headlines than Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.
I’m on no one’s side, but I’m not skipping this part.
I think the last time Iowa put out a DJK statement, it left things at this, “During his career at Iowa, Mr. Johnson-Koulianos had moments of success on the field. He also made some unfortunate decisions during that period of time ... We wish the best for Mr. Johnson-Koulianos going forward.”
That’s fine. Don’t play games with weightlifting records, though. Not a good look.
I didn’t write the definitive DJK piece, columnist Mike Hlas did. Here are some highlights from that 2010 post:
— After a 90-minute interview, Derrell asked ”How did I do?” He probably really wanted some feedback.
— Sigh. Hey, DJK was a good talker. I admit it, reporters like the good talkers. Smart reporters like the ones who back it up. One-hundred seventy-three career receptions is No. 2 on Iowa’s all-time list.
For instance, he appeared at a 2007 postgame session with reporters wearing a hat and sunglasses. That isn’t the Iowa way, not under Coach Kirk Ferentz. That got him barred from attending the team’s Tuesday interviews with the media the rest of that season, and he hasn’t been back since.
— You have to remember these are kids. That’s going to come with a little bit of everything. And, yet, it can never be an excuse for anything.
”I never mean to do anything to deliver anything negative or reflect our university in a negative light,” Johnson-Koulianos said. “Maybe sometimes that’s been the case.”
— And, no, we can’t know everyone. You can try, but you’re not going to get that far down the hallway with a few.
“Here at Iowa for me, it’s been an amazing journey,” Johnson-Koulianos said. “It’s been eventful. It’s been a struggle at times, but there have been so many great things that have happened. If you had asked me where I would be playing college football when I was a senior in high school, I think if I had to guess 100 times, Iowa would have been the 100th guess. But this is where I ended up for a reason. I’ve learned so many things I don’t think I would have learned anywhere else.
“Through my high school career I wanted to be an Ohio State Buckeye. Michael Jenkins, Ted Ginn — I wanted to be those guys. I wanted to be in that uniform. And it didn’t work out for numerous reasons.
“But when I got to Iowa there was this mystique about it, and I embraced it. I love it.”
Not everyone has to be friends. Reconciliations don’t have to be public. Good luck to all involved.
Quote: “It was cool, the whole night was cool.” RB Shonn Greene, who set Iowa’s season rushing record this night against Minnesota.
Note: The Hawkeyes reveled in their largest margin of victory over the Gophers in the 102-game series. The biggest Iowa win before this was 61-10 in 1983.
Why No. 58? — The other team has to at least show up for games to make the top 50.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2008
MINNEAPOLIS — The Capital One guy smiled and entertained several questions from Iowa media members. The Outback guy, too.
It was only halftime and the Hawkeyes were more than halfway to Florida. Iowa did its part to deliver Florida sunshine. The Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) battered Minnesota (7-5, 3-5), 55-0, before a mostly Iowa crowd in the Golden Gophers’ Metrodome finale.
Running back Shonn Greene rushed 22 times for 144 yards, breaking Iowa’s season rushing record. The junior now has 1,729 yards, running past Tavian Banks’ 1,691 yards in 1997. He broke the mark in style, spinning away from a pair of Minnesota defenders for a 15-yard touchdown, his second of the game, for a 41-0 lead with 4:58 in the third quarter.
“It was cool, the whole night was cool,” Greene said.
Greene went over 100 yards in all 12 games and became the first Big Ten back to go for more than 100 in eight games since Penn State’s Curtis Enis in 1997.
In their final game of the regular season, the Hawkeyes put together their most complete performance. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi played his best game, completing 15 of 28 for 255 yards and three TDs. Wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos played his best game of the season, catching seven passes for 181 yards and a TD.
This last one is a tougher call. Iowa’s defense has been magnificent all season. But when the Hawkeyes were taking off in the first half, the defense stuffed the Gophers for three three-and-outs and punctuated its effort with cornerback Amari Spievey’s 57-yard TD return after intercepting Minnesota QB Adam Weber with 25 seconds left before halftime.
The 24-point second quarter was the Hawkeyes’ best this season. And it was more than enough. At halftime, the Hawkeyes were halfway to Florida.
The Hawkeyes did their part, now they have to wait for the Bowl Championship Series to do its thing.
Iowa’s bowl fate is tied to Ohio State and whether the Buckeyes (10-2) find their way to a BCS bowl. Oregon State and its quest factors in, too. The Beavers could earn a BCS berth with a victory over Oregon next weekend to clinch the Pac-10 title.
Saturday night, none of that seemed to matter.
“I just want to share this with my teammates right now, especially my offensive line,” Greene said. “They did a hell of a job. The quarterbacks, the wide receivers, everybody did a hell of a job.”
If Ohio State is selected for the BCS, the Capital One will decide between the Hawkeyes, who’ve now won five of their last six, and Michigan State (9-3), which went splat in a 49-18 loss at Penn State on ABC on Saturday.
The key word is “momentum.” You’re about to read it from the Capital One guy.
“We look back at the 2004 game and all the great outcome and the fans traveling,” said Capital One committee member Sean Gothier. “We’ve got to also look at the momentum of this Iowa team. It’s important to have that momentum going into the final games to show that the team is headed in the right direction.”
With a little help, the direction the Hawkeyes are headed is Florida for a New Year’s Day bowl, which would be the fifth for the Hawkeyes under Coach Kirk Ferentz.
Saturday night, none of that seemed to matter.
The Hawkeyes reveled their largest margin of victory over the Gophers in the 102-game series. The biggest Iowa win before Saturday night was 61-10 in 1983.
Whatever hangover the Hawkeyes might’ve had over a “what might’ve been” 2008 — four losses by a total of 12 points — was flushed with a thorough domination of the Gophers, whose season nose-dived with four straight losses at the end.
The Capital One guy was smiling. The Hawkeyes and their RV cavalcade could be headed toward Orlando. The Outback guy smiled but offered carefully measured answers. The Tampa area might not get a shot at your wallets, Iowa fans.
“We’re so fortunate with the Big Ten and SEC, we really can’t miss with any matchup,” Outback Bowl representative Dale Dignum said when asked what Saturday’s results might’ve done for Iowa’s bowl momentum.
Early, the Metrodome crowd and Minnesota’s ever-shifting defense forced Stanzi to use all three timeouts before the first quarter was half over. Iowa had to settle for a pair of Daniel Murray field goals (35 and 29) before opening the proverbial can of butt-kick.
After Iowa’s defense forced its second three-and-out in two Minnesota drives, the Hawkeyes took the Gophers’ blitz and burned them with it.
After UM’s Johnny Johnson was called for punt interference, the Hawkeyes needed just three plays and 1:08 to score from their 27.
Greene burst up the middle for 15 yards. Stanzi then beat a blitz and beat it badly, connecting with Johnson-Koulianos for a 48-yard gain to UM’s 9. Johnson-Koulianos got behind cornerback Marcus Sherels on a out-and-up route with no safety help.
Next play, Iowa blockers pretty much drywalled the left side of the field for an easy Greene 9-yard TD and a 13-0 lead with 9:57 left in the first half. Kicker Trent Mossbrucker tied an Iowa freshman record with the PAT, his 64th point this season.
It was about this time that the Gophers’ defense hit the wall. A 20:46 to 9:14 edge in time of possession in favor of the Hawkeyes put the Gophers’ backs to the wall.
After another three-and-out, the Hawkeyes had first down at their 9 with 8:09 left in the half. Stanzi’s 3-yard pass to Brandon Myers capped a “thanks for stopping by the booth, Gophers” drive — 12 plays, 91 yards and 6:56. It was 20-0 and the Gophers only wanted to get to the locker room after a disastrous second quarter.
Only they couldn’t.
On first down at UM’s 38, Weber overthrew wideout Ben Kuznia and cornerback Amari Spievey intercepted. He hit the right sideline and followed the blocking for a 57-yard return and a 27-0 halftime lead.