116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Ed Hinkel game
Iowa 52, Minnesota 28 | Nov. 19, 2005
Three cool things
1. I can just picture the poor media-guide editor on Iowa's sports info staff just kind of glossing over the 'stadium records' section.
Not a lot changes, so the temptation is a quick spell check and on to 'Hawkeyes in the NFL.' When you reach 'Kinnick Stadium record' territory, you are talking about a big, impressive number. (FWIW, Gino Torretta holds the Kinnick record for passing yards in a game at 433. And Rod Woodson's 100-yard interception return for a TD still stands.)
Here are the Kirk Ferentz-era Hawkeyes with their names on this list:
In 1999, quarterback Scott Mullen attempted 60 passes against Indiana. Mullen again for 74 offensive plays (same game); and Mullen for total offense (473 yards, same game).
The 95-yard pass from Brad Banks to Dallas Clark against Purdue in 2002 is the longest pass play in Kinnick. LeVar Woods' 87-yard blocked FG return that helped deliver Kirk Ferentz's first win is the longest blocked FG return at Kinnick. Marshall Koehn's 57-yarder that beat Pitt in 2015 is tied for Kinnick's longest.
Wide receiver Ed Hinkel is in there, too. His four TD receptions in this game is the Kinnick record.
Hinkel had to work his tail off to get back for his senior day game at Kinnick. He had his arm broken in two places in week 6 at Purdue. Five games later, he was setting a stadium record.
2. Let's blow out the other two cool things and enjoy how much a true 'glue guy' can mean to a team (see feature story below).
Quote: 'San Antonio (Texas), El Paso (Texas), doesn't matter to me, as long as it's Texas.' — wide receiver Clinton Solomon, who, yes, was from Texas.
Note: Did you guys see those passing numbers from 1999? Stadium records? Ferentz clearly didn't believe in that. Ken O'Keefe had the West Coast offense going in the first year. It was Iowa's best shot in 1999 and 2000. They started winning when they started consistently winning the line of scrimmage.
Why No. 111? — There's a picture of Kirk and Brian Ferentz from this one that shows the fruits of victory. It's them together on the sidelines enjoying the moment, having a blast ... at a forgettable Minnesota team's expense.
IOWA CITY — Maybe in the playbook it's called 'senior day special.'
The senior wide receiver takes a reverse handoff and zips a perfect pass to the other senior receiver. Senior receiver Clinton Solomon threw the pass, senior receiver Ed Hinkel caught it for a touchdown and senior day was officially a cake walk.
The Hawkeyes scored touchdowns on their first five possessions and ripped Minnesota, 52-28, before 70,585 fans Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Seemingly, every Iowa senior did something cool. Solomon hooked up with Hinkel, who scored a career-best four touchdowns. Linebacker Chad Greenway had an interception. Cornerback Jovon Johnson picked off his 17th career pass. Linebacker Abdul Hodge racked up 19 tackles. Senior offensive linemen Brian Ferentz and Ben Gates helped clear the way for 236 yards rushing.
The Iowa seniors did everything they could to ensure a warm bowl trip in late December. The Hawkeyes (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) won their second straight game and are officially hot with bowl selections coming as early as Tuesday or as late as Dec. 4 after the conference championship games.
'San Antonio (Texas), El Paso (Texas), doesn't matter to me, as long as it's Texas,' said Solomon, who, you guessed it, is from Fort Worth. The Hawkeyes piled up 613 yards of offense for the first time since 2001 and took a 38-7 halftime lead while holding the nation's top rush offense to just 63 yards in the half.
Quarterback Drew Tate completed 19 of 32 for 351 yards and a career-high four TDs. Hinkel set a Kinnick Stadium record with four TD receptions. Running backs Albert Young (103 yards) and Damian Sims (104 yards, including a whiplash 71-yard TD run) gave Iowa its first 100-yard duo in a game since Fred Russell and Jermelle Lewis did it against Minnesota in 2002.
'Seemed like everything we called was working,' Young said.
And some plays they didn't call, like the 'senior day special.' The play was supposed to be a reverse to Solomon, an 'around' as it's called in the huddle. But the Hawkeyes practice an 'around pass' and that's what Tate let slip out in the huddle.
'I went to the line of scrimmage and I was smiling about it,' said Solomon, a former high school quarterback. 'In practice, I've thrown the crappiest balls, but I rolled to my left and got something on it.'
Hinkel had no idea it was supposed to be a run.
'I think Drew might've got the signals crossed up or something,' said Hinkel, who was showered with chants of 'Eddie, Eddie' after his third and fourth TDs. 'But probably not.'
It was Tate being Tate.
'What are the coaches going to say?' Young said. 'We scored.'
Coach Kirk Ferentz was fine with it. They scored, what could he say?
'We were going for the reverse anyway,' Ferentz said. 'We weren't mad about that.'
This was a senior celebration from Tate's 46-yard TD pass to Hinkel 5 1/2 minutes into the game to Tate's 3-yard TD pass to Hinkel with 9:36 left in the game, giving Iowa a 52-14 lead.
The 24 seniors who walked off the Kinnick field for the last time Saturday are winners, among the biggest winners in school history. Iowa's seniors have 38 victories over their four seasons, a total that matches the 2001-04 Iowa teams for the most in school history over a four-year span.
This class has 25 conference victories, a total that equals Iowa's 1982-85 and 2001-04 teams for the most league wins over four seasons.
They tenderly hugged mom and dad at the 50-yard line before the game. Then they bludgeoned the Gophers (7-4, 5-3), who were rendered the senior-day party hat and will likely head to the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, the Big Ten's door prize.
'It's not as if we overblow it,' Coach Ferentz said. 'We don't hype it up or make it that big of a deal. I think more than anything it's the younger guys recognizing the price they've paid to become seniors.'
Whatever emotional oomph senior day gave the Hawkeyes — they haven't lost on senior day since 1999 — they hardly needed it.
While Iowa was scoring on its first five possessions, the Gophers generated just 127 yards and zero points. Laurence Maroney, the Big Ten's leading rusher, left the game with a bum ankle late in the first quarter. Before Minnesota Coach Glen Mason could say 'Motor City,' a team that lives and dies with its running game was behind 35-0, with Young's 5-yard TD coming off Greenway's interception.
'I thought we were ready to go, but we didn't perform very well,' Mason said. 'Why? I don't know why. I don't know if there's a right or wrong answer.'
That sort of covers it for Iowa's bowl possibilities — there's no right answer or wrong answer or any answer.
Iowa Athletics Director Bob Bowlsby said it's too early to tell where the Hawkeyes will end up. One Iowa official said the Alamo Bowl looked good. The Alamo Bowl representatives said they like Iowa and would love to get their hands on Oklahoma for the first time, setting up the Ferentz-Bob Stoops showdown with storylines galore.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves and the Bowl Championship Series, which would have to take Ohio State, the Big Ten co-champ.
'If they told us we're going to Detroit, Nashville (Music City Bowl), we're going to have a good attitude about it,' Coach Ferentz said.
The Hawkeyes aren't going to Detroit, so he can say that.
Here's a 2005 post that was an appreciation of everything Hinkel.
IOWA CITY — This is an appreciation of dirty work, the third-down catch, black tape underneath the eyes.
This is an appreciation of the 6-foot-nothing, 100-and-whatever pounds, too slow, too skinny Everyman who would rise up and catch an ESPN play of the day every once in a while.
One of Ed Hinkel's favorite pastimes is watching NASCAR. How apropos. Even his favorite sport comes with dirt under the fingernails.
'He's one of those guys who somehow, someway, he's going to come through for you and help your team win,' Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. 'It's not always, `Wow, boy, did you see Ed Hinkel?' He's had a few of those too. That's what everybody thinks about, but I think about the stuff that maybe isn't quite as apparent.'
Iowa's Tuesday news conference felt a little bit like a wake. The tones were hushed and everyone asked what Hinkel meant to Iowa. Hinkel, a fifth-year senior receiver, had surgery Monday on the broken right arm he suffered in Iowa's victory over Purdue last Saturday.
Ferentz was hopeful Hinkel would be able to return late in November, possibly for Iowa's season finale against Minnesota. Quarterback Drew Tate, Hinkel's roommate, said he'd heard Hinkel could be back in four weeks.
'He'll be with us on the sidelines and traveling,' Ferentz said. 'Who knows? He may get back quicker than any of us think. It wouldn't surprise me. But bones are bones and they have to heal.'
Nevertheless, one of the Hawkeyes' steadiest and, occasionally, spectacular seniors will be out for an extended period. Thus, the Ed Hinkel appreciation.
'He's like a brother to me, since I've been here,' said cornerback Jovon Johnson, who has known Hinkel since the two were grade-school basketball players in Erie, Pa. 'To lose him is something significant to me. I know he's going to be there supporting me and still pushing me to move forward and try to keep my mind off what his injury was. He's going to be there for me 100 percent.'
Hinkel still leads the Hawkeyes in appearances on ESPN SportsCenter's top 10 plays of the day, making it four times.
He might never be caught in this stat.
You remember Penn State 2002, the all-out dive for a 22-yard TD against his home-state team. You remember Iowa State 2004, the crazy, Frisbee-catching dog faceplant into the Kinnick turf while stretching for a 29-yard TD. You remember Michigan 2004, the one-handed lunge on the sidelines for a 2-yard TD catch just before tumbling at the feet of Michigan's band.
The leap over an Illinois defender to finish off a 20-yard reverse run two weeks ago wasn't bad either.
He's a master of reaching the unreachable pass thrown to the unreachable spot.
'You guys see all the catches he makes,' running back Albert Young said. 'He does that in practice, too. If I see a ball going deep and I see him diving for it, I expect him to catch it.'
But that's just the eye black on someone Ferentz called 'a consummate football player.'
Go back to 2002, Hinkel's freshman year. In Iowa's 29-24 victory at Miami (Ohio), Hinkel caught four passes for 31 yards, including a key third-down grab that helped massage a 99-yard drive. He also had 29 yards on three punt returns. He also recorded a special-teams tackle.
You can also put perseverance on Hinkel's resume. Hampered by a groin injury all of 2003, he missed most of nine games, pretty much ruining his sophomore season. He made it back to have his best '03 performance in Iowa's Outback Bowl game, catching three passes for 44 yards.
'The more of those guys you have on your football team, the better off you are,' Ferentz said. 'Just the things that he does that go unnoticed by the casual observer, whether you want to call it the dirty work, he's a complete football player. He's a complete competitor. His attitude's always been outstanding.'
Hinkel has made being a possession receiver cool. Darned near every time he's touched the ball this year, Iowa has made a first down. Thirteen of Hinkel's 21 touches have gone for first downs. Against Iowa State, he was 2-for-2. He went 4-for-4 against Illinois. His 43-yard reception against Purdue came on a third-and-10.
'He's always been grinding out, doing things right, right place at the right time,' linebacker Chad Greenway said. 'He's always working hard. That's something you can't take away from a kid, coming in here, working hard and getting the best of your ability.'
Hinkel will be the first to admit that he has modest physical traits. After his one-handed grab at Michigan last season, he was asked about the size of his hands. He claimed to have the smallest hands on the team, constantly bugging equipment manager Greg Morris for a pair of medium gloves.
'I can barely palm a football,' Hinkel said.
A few weeks ago, when all the former high school quarterbacks on Iowa's roster compared their arms, Hinkel admitted he probably had the worst of the bunch.
'There were questions,' Ferentz said when asked about Hinkel's recruitment out of Erie Cathedral Prep. 'Size, is he too small? Is he fast enough? But it's worked out, I wish all of our guys had careers like him. If every story was like that, it'd be great.'
Last season, when asked to rank his highlight catches, Hinkel replied with the humility of a player who values every practice, every lift and every sprint.
'I can't really put a finger on which one was the best, which one meant the most,' he said. 'They've all meant something. Most importantly, they've all been touchdowns.'
If there's a book on speeding the healing of a broken arm, Hinkel's nose deep in it. You just know he is.