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All Hawkeyes' helmets are present and accounted for

Let's imagine the convo between the police and the kid with Beathard's helmet

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard celebrates with fans after the Hawkeyes' 14-13 win over the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Beathard's helmet, which was lost in the mad rush of the field after Keith Duncan's game-winning field goal, turned up on a fan's head in downtown Iowa City and was retrieved by the Iowa City police. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard celebrates with fans after the Hawkeyes' 14-13 win over the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Beathard's helmet, which was lost in the mad rush of the field after Keith Duncan's game-winning field goal, turned up on a fan's head in downtown Iowa City and was retrieved by the Iowa City police. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Imagine how the conversation went late Saturday night/early Sunday morning on the Ped Mall.

Iowa City Police officer: “Excuse me, where did you get that helmet?”

Person wearing Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard’s helmet: “Scheels?”

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz on the game ball

Iowa City Police officer: “You didn’t get that at Scheels. It has a number on it. It’s clearly been used.”

Person wearing Beathard’s helmet: “Garage sale?”

Iowa City Police officer: “Please hand over the helmet.”

Person wearing Beathard’s helmet: “What helmet?”

You knew there would be some collateral damage in the celebration after the Hawkeyes’ 14-13 victory over No. 3 Michigan last Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium. After Keith Duncan’s 33-yard field goal — which was seen on ABC by more than 10 million people, according to ESPN — a lot of the sellout crowd of 70,585 fans poured onto the field.

They danced to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” They did a few shots of Fireball on the Kinnick turf (hey why not?). And they scooped up everything that looked like a souvenir.

That included a few Hawkeyes helmets. The number reached the teens, head coach Kirk Ferentz said.

“I think I got that word Sunday sometime,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “There was some concern there, but it sounds like they all got back in the nest yesterday morning, I think the last one got returned.”

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Of course, the Hawkeyes (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) travel to Illinois (3-7, 2-5) on Saturday. It’s a classic trap game, considering Iowa’s November has included Penn State, Michigan and closes with a trophy game against Nebraska. We’ll get into that more the rest of the week. Let’s stay with the helmet story. It’s fun and this stuff doesn’t happen very often.

After Ferentz finished his postgame interviews late Saturday night, he got his usual ride back from head student manager Brock Baumert, who let Ferentz know about the pillaging of helmets and the recovery efforts.

“He said the managers were really helping, the student managers were helping after the game, because anything that wasn’t nailed down was being accosted,” Ferentz said. “So, I guess those guys they deserve gold stars for the week.”

Case in point: Junior outside linebacker Ben Niemann lost his helmet, but only for a second.

“Our equipments guys saw someone in the stands with it and got it back,” Niemann said.

Junior linebacker Josey Jewell dropped his helmet, but only for a second.

Seconds are a key detail here, people.

“It (his helmet) fell down right away when I was running onto the field,” Jewell said. “All of the sudden, I thought, ‘I probably shouldn’t leave that there.’ Some other fan was picking it up. I went over to them and they gave it back to me. It was good I didn’t leave it like C.J. did.”

All of the players heard something about Beathard’s helmet.

“I heard a fan had C.J.’s helmet downtown,” Niemann said. “The police officer brought it back to the complex. There was definitely some stuff like that going on.”

Lots of you saw Beathard toss his helmet just before he ran onto the field. It wasn’t exactly a surprise to his teammates that it was swept away or, more accurately, briefly “borrowed.”

“It was heat of the moment. I guess he forgot it back there,” Jewell said. “I guess a couple of people did that. At least we found them.”

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Punter Ron Coluzzi was the holder for Duncan’s kick, so his helmet never left his head. That ended up being a smart move, given the size of the pile.

“C.J. lost his helmet and I know the police returned it the next day,” Coluzzi said. “It was crazy, unreal, a lot of fun.”

Iowa equipment manager Greg Morris told Beathard ...

“I guess one of the cops walking down the street saw a kid wearing it and brought it back,” Beathard said. “There were a few helmets gone after the game. In the locker room afterward, guys were like, ‘We don’t know what happened to our helmets.’ Then, the next day, I guess they got all of them back except for mine. Then, they found it.”

Did Beathard know that might be the outcome when he threw his helmet and sprinted into the celebration?

“I really wasn’t thinking about it,” he said. “Honestly, that’s the last thing I was thinking about, my helmet. I figured we’d get them back, and in the end, we did.”

Beathard couldn’t care less. His team, a 22-point underdog, just beat No. 3 Michigan. He hurried through the postgame to get to a concert his brother, Tucker, was playing at the Blue Moose Tap House in Iowa City last Saturday night. Tucker Beathard was the only family member C.J. had at the game. The rest of the family was in Washington, D.C., attending C.J.’s grandfather Bobby’s induction into the Redskins hall of fame.

“I did, yes,” Beathard said when asked if he made it to Tucker’s show.

Ferentz’s headphones made it through OK, he said.

“I took mine off, but he (Baumert) said they were going after everything, including headphones,” Ferentz said. “He did mention headphones. There’s not much good on there, so I don’t know.”

Wait, did someone think to grab the football that Duncan booted through the uprights? That’s kind of a biggie.

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“I put it down somewhere and kind of left it there,” said Ferentz, who was given the ball after the game. “Somebody has it right now, I better check on that, too. We got the helmets back, we’ll see about the ball.”

If he finds it, Ferentz told the team he would find a place in the Hansen Performance Center to showcase it. If he finds it.

“Because, you know, it was a good win,” Ferentz said. “A ranked opponent and all of that stuff.”

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.