Three cool things:
1. I’d seen the Hawkeyes play party favor at Camp Randall. It was 1999. There was Ron Dayne and a record. There was a Rose Bowl bid. There was a streaker.
This was 1999 and the Badgers thoroughly destroyed an outmanned Iowa team, 41-3.
This was 2005, Barry Alvarez’s last game as Wisconsin’s head coach at Camp Randall. Iowa refused to play the funny hat this time.
Everyone kind shuffles off the 2005-07 seasons and they weren’t great. 2005 was close, very close. But during this three-year stretch, Iowa still played some pretty great defense and that carried them in this one.
I kind of let Alvarez have it here, at least tone-wise. Probably a bit overboard. Maybe more than a bit. Still, this was a legit surprise result. Did not see this one coming, especially coming off a three-point overtime home loss to Michigan and a one-point loss at Northwestern that came courtesy of an onside kick.
Iowa refused to play party favor. That pugnaciousness has served Ferentz’s Iowa program well. I’ve always thought Ferentz likes the fight and he likes fighting the fight with Iowa across his chest.
2. This was Iowa’s fourth straight win over Wisconsin. That factlet seems kind of tumbleweedy now, at least a little, no? The Badgers have won six of the last nine and have kind of taken the series over.
Iowa wouldn’t beat Wisconsin again until 2008 and has just one win (2015) over Wisconsin in the last five meetings.
Wisconsin isn’t so far ahead, but Iowa has got to get on this. You know it, they know it.
“I’m watching ‘Star Wars’ with my son the other day, and I would use this analogy,” Brian Ferentz said. “OK, when you’re in the Wisconsin game, it’s like you’re the pilot of that little sad rebel ship at the opening of ‘Star Wars.’ Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer is closing on that ship, right? That’s what the Wisconsin game feels like.”
You want Wisconsin’s coordinators saying this about Iowa.
3. Is it Schembechler, Hayes, Alvarez? The Big Ten has had great coaches. Alvarez made Wisconsin a brand, from his spot on this sideline and from his chair as the AD.
My wife went to Wisconsin in 1986. I visited her and we went to a football game. Jim Hilles was the coach. He’d taken over for Dave McClain, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 48.
This was way before House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” We left in the second quarter. Probably went to the Parthenon.
Quote: This was Brian Ferentz the player. I don’t think a heckuva a lot has changed.
“I wish he (Alvarez) could’ve gone out a winner here, but we’ve got a lot going on, too. We certainly weren’t going to be brushed aside or lay down.”
Note: KF hates coaching against his buddies. I think that stood for Alvarez.
“I have great feeling for Barry and his program here. But the most important thing on our dockets was making our football team feel better. I’ll be a little selfish there, but that’s the group I care about most.”
Why No. 69? — This one should be higher.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2005
MADISON, Wis. — Goodbye, Barry. Hello, Hawkeyes.
A record crowd of 83,184 fans packed Camp Randall Stadium on a rainy Saturday to say goodbye to Wisconsin Coach Barry Alvarez after 16 seasons, three Rose Bowls and three Big Ten title.
A video with farewells from all over the football world, a makeshift podium and towels that read “Thanks coach, job well done” couldn’t turn Alvarez’s frown upside down.
None of the Hawkeyes saw it, but the look on Alvarez’s face during a 20-minute send-off after the game would’ve put more satisfaction in their souls than the scoreboard.
The Hawkeyes jumped out of the cake and planted a big fat “L” on Alvarez’s mug.
Running back Albert Young rushed for 127 yards, quarterback Drew Tate threw two TD passes and Iowa’s defense racked up six sacks in the Hawkeyes’ 20-10 victory, their first this season over a Division I-A team with a winning record.
“I wish he (Alvarez) could’ve gone out a winner here,” Iowa center Brian Ferentz said. “But we’ve got a lot going on, too. We certainly weren’t going to be brushed aside or lay down.”
Party favors don’t hold Brian Calhoun, the league’s premier running back, to a season-low 18 yards on 15 carries. Party hats don’t sack the quarterback a season-high six times. The retirement cake doesn’t score 20 unanswered points and snap the Badgers’ 11-game winning streak.
The Hawkeyes won their fourth straight over No. 19 Wisconsin and claimed their first road victory over a ranked opponent since beating the Badgers at Camp Randall in 2003.
“It’s hard after a loss to sit there and reflect on 16 years,” Alvarez said. “A tough ceremony to go through, but I was humbled and I was very appreciative.”
Bye bye, Barry. Hello, Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) wiped away two straight losses and claimed bowl eligibility with their best performance of the season. The Camp Randall scoreboard flashed an email address to send farewells to Alvarez (email@example.com). It also flashed validation for the Hawkeyes.
“All the stuff about cracks in the senior leadership and all those things that happened last week (a 28-27 loss at Northwestern), we took that to heart,” senior linebacker Chad Greenway said. “We’re going to a bowl game. I don’t care which one, it’s just exciting especially with all the trials and tribulations we’ve had this year.”
In the first quarter, the Hawkeyes played like party balloons. Wideout Ed Hinkel, who saw his first action since breaking his arm Oct. 8 against Purdue, tipped a pass in the air. Wisconsin strong safety Joel Stellmacher intercepted and set up the Badgers at Iowa’s 32-yard line.
Four plays later, quarterback Jon Stocco hit wideout Brandon Williams for a 17-yard TD. With 47 seconds left in the first half, kicker Taylor Mehlhaff booted a 24-yard field goal to give the Badgers (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten) a 10-0 lead.
Iowa drove 14 plays and 64 yards but was held to a field goal after guard Mike Jones was called for holding, leaving Iowa behind 10-3 at halftime.
“Bottom line is we didn’t get discouraged after the first half,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Last week at Northwestern, Iowa’s offense curled up. The Hawkeyes passing game went from vertical to horizontal. On Iowa’s first play of the second half, Tate hit Clinton Solomon down the middle for a 40-yard gain to UW’s 35.
“I thought we came out more aggressive in the second half than we did at anytime ... probably the whole season,” said Tate, who completed 21 of 34 for 224 yards, two TDs and one interception.
Tate finished the drive with a 6-yard TD pass to fullback Champ Davis, his first career TD reception, and the game was tied 10-10 with 10:11 left in the third quarter.
Iowa took advantage of a Wisconsin penalty to fuel its next TD drive. Iowa would have had third-and-10 at its 20, but Wisconsin defensive end Kurt Ware, in for the injured Matthew Shaughnessy, was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty, giving the Hawkeyes a first down at the 35.
Replays showed that referee Dennis Lipski made the correct call. Ware took two steps and put his hands into Tate’s face. On third-and-1 from the Badgers’ 13, Iowa lined up in double-tight end short-yardage formation. Tight end Ryan Majerus leaked into the left flat wide open and scored easily for a 17-10 Iowa lead with 1:11 left in the third.
“The first pass of the second half, we came out aggressive and went over the top on them,” said Solomon, who caught five passes for 77 yards. “We came out fast and we finished strong.”
Schlicher kicked his second field goal (a 32-yarder) to give Iowa its 20-10 lead with 9:21 left in the game. The Hawkeyes defense took over from there.
“It’s so easy to play defensive back when they’re putting the quarterback on his back,” cornerback Antwan Allen said.
The Badgers are the first team Iowa has shut out in the second half since the Hawkeyes held Ball State scoreless in their season opener.
Somewhere Saturday night, Alvarez probably enjoyed a nice piece of retirement cake. It had to go down better than the knuckle sandwich the Hawkeyes served up.