Sign up for our countdown email.

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.

73

When Iowa football players talk about plays, good things have happened

No. 13 Iowa 12, Minnesota 0 | Nov. 21, 2009

Iowa's Adrian Clayborn acknowledges the fans after the team's 12-0 victory over Minnesota Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (The Gazette)
Iowa's Adrian Clayborn acknowledges the fans after the team's 12-0 victory over Minnesota Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (The Gazette)
/

Three cool things:

1. Sometimes, it’s really hard to talk football with Iowa football players. When this happens, though, it’s usually a good thing. It’s usually for a play made and not a failure.

Also, no one in the game wants their plans (from here on out we’ll call plans “kung fu”) on a billboard. Remember when Akrum Wadley said before some game (Michigan or Purdue are the ones in my head, might be wrong) that he would be lining up in the slot? And then he lined up in the slot? You have to be careful with that sort of thing.

This leads to more uncomfortable silences than a “silent but deadly” from the front pew. What can they say? How much do you care about what things look like? Well, I care and I’m going to try to ask those questions, while also being aware of what players can and can’t say.

We had one of those in this one.

Someone let out the name of Iowa’s goal-line defense, “Jumbo Tough.” That’s pretty basic info.

“Just ‘Jumbo Tough,’ basically,” defensive end Broderick Binns said. “Just everybody play heads-up and control your inside gap. Guys were just resilient and we came out on a high note.”

So, OK. You walk away from that, hey, jumbo tough, that’s something, right?

And then Pat Angerer turns out the lights and unleashed a sack full of squirrels.

“You guys would be surprised how many times everybody on the team is in a different defense,” Angerer laughed. “We can’t hear what we’re saying out there. I’d say 90 percent of the time, we’re all running our own defense.”

Sorry, Phil Parker.

Kirk Ferentz clings to the “secret sauce” mentality. He laid down the ground rules early. I’d love to revisit, but I don’t get a vote on this.

To paraphrase Dennis Miller, I don’t want to go on a rant here ... and so I won’t.

2. The week before, quarterback James Vandenberg thrilled you with his performance at Ohio State. (OK, let’s cover that with this: Should’ve gone for it. That’s it. Easy for me to say now, Mr. 20/20 Hindsight Constructive Criticism Guy.)

In this one, baby was put in a corner. This was maybe the one game I’ve ever covered where the team tried to hide the quarterback. I don’t think it was because of Vandenberg. I think Iowa sensed it was going to get the Orange Bowl bid if it won this game, so they left it up to its best players.

In 2009, that was the defense.

And the goal-line stand from the Hawkeyes’ 2 in the fourth quarter, it won’t hold your attention long, but it most definitely was a quiet bullet dodged in, hey, let’s call it what it is, this historic season (winning the Orange Bowl was a big deal, not the biggest but big).

3. Five sacks for the Hawkeyes in this one. This D-line was supreme.

Since this game, Iowa has had just four five-sack games — 2013 vs. Northwestern (6), 2014 vs. Northwestern, 2014 vs. Northern Iowa and 2015 vs. Illinois State.

Quote: It’s one thing when the guy from the Poulan Weedeater Bowl hugs you and a totally different deal when the Orange Bowl guy wraps his arms around you and invites you to the beaches of Miami.

This is the game where Ferentz got a hug from a dude in an orange sportcoat.

“Yes, we’re definitely looking at Iowa, but there’s a lot of football to go,” — Orange Bowl representative Larry Gautier

Note: In this one, Iowa won the pig trophy for the eighth time in nine games. I declared the rivalry dead and then the Gophers won the next two.

I guess, jinx?

Why No. 73? — It was a classic 12-0, at least.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME

Game story from 2009

IOWA CITY — If Iowa earns an Orange Bowl bid, the defense gets dibs on the oceanside rooms in Miami.

Orange Bowl representatives and the brightest orange suitcoats this side of traffic cones were in the Kinnick Stadium press box Saturday for the Hawkeyes’ 12-0 grip-and-grunt victory over Minnesota before 70,585 fans.

Playing extra-super cautiously with a redshirt freshman quarterback, Iowa improved to 10-2 (6-2 Big Ten) and definitely is in the mix for a BCS at-large bowl berth. Even with an offense that was held to seven three-and-outs and two turnovers against the Big Ten’s eighth-ranked defense, Iowa is a BCS contender.

“Yes, we’re definitely looking at Iowa, but there’s a lot of football to go,” Orange Bowl representative Larry Gautier said. Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said Iowa has been in talks with the Fiesta Bowl.

Now comes the wait for the bowl bid. It’ll likely go to the Dec 6 BCS selection show. Iowa is looking for its second BCS bid under Kirk Ferentz and first since the 2003 Orange Bowl.

The 15th-ranked Hawkeyes kept the Floyd of Rosedale bronze pig trophy for the third straight season and for the eighth in the last nine, while Minnesota (6-6, 3-5) settled for bowl eligibility.

Where Iowa’s offense was constipated — the Hawkeyes were held to 171 yards, the fewest since Ohio State 2005 (137) — the defense was gigantic.

The Hawkeyes turned away Minnesota on a first-and-goal from Iowa’s 2 in the fourth quarter. A goal-line stand that defined a season of defensive gumption.

“(Defensive coordinator) Norm (Parker) talks about it, the players talk about it, the fireman mentality,” Ferentz said. “It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing when it’s hitting the fan.”

It hit the fan a lot in the second half. The Gophers just weren’t good enough to do anything with golden opportunity and fell in a shutout for the second straight season to Iowa, the first time the Hawkeyes put back-to-back shutouts on UM since 1955-56.

In the second quarter, Minnesota had second-and-11 at Iowa’s 13. Quarterback Adam Weber fumbled a snap and linebacker Bruce Davis recovered.

With 1:35 left in the third quarter, Minnesota fullback Jon Hoese ran up the middle twice on fourth-and-1 at Iowa’s 34 and was twice pushed back.

Then the coup de grace.

Quarterback James Vandenberg, who finished 11 of 24 for 117 yards and an interception to go with four sacks, fumbled a snap and gave UM the ball at Iowa’s 29. A pass interference penalty on corner Shaun Prater put Minnesota first-and-goal at Iowa’s 2 while trailing 12-0.

Say hello to “Jumbo Tough,” the defensive call and personnel group for Iowa’s goal-line defense.

“Just ‘Jumbo Tough,’ basically,” defensive end Broderick Binns said. “Just everybody play heads-up and control your inside gap. Guys were just resilient and we came out on a high note.”

On first down, linebacker Pat Angerer wrapped up quarterback MarQueis Gray, the Minnesota version of Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor. Second down, Angerer stuck running back Duane Bennett.

So far, so good for “Jumbo Tough.” Or was it?

“You guys would be surprised how many times everybody on the team is in a different defense,” Angerer laughed. “We can’t hear what we’re saying out there. I’d say 90 percent of the time, we’re all running our own defense.”

Whatever works.

Iowa, which sacked UM quarterbacks five times Saturday, dropped into a regular 4-3 defense on third down and Prater atoned with a fabulous breakup in the end zone.

Fourth down and everything for Minnesota.

Weber took a shotgun snap and had nowhere to go with the ball. Binns flushed him out of the pocket and D-linemen Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard ran him down.

First down and possible BCS for Iowa.