Iowa Football

Iowa football notes: Hawkeyes planned for the 'clanga' of Mississippi State the best they could

Still, Mississippi State's cowbell tradition will be front and center in the Outback Bowl

Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz answers questions during the Outback Bowl coach's press conference Saturday, December 29, 2018 in Tampa, FL. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)
Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz answers questions during the Outback Bowl coach's press conference Saturday, December 29, 2018 in Tampa, FL. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

TAMPA, Fla. — Even the internet’s wild and wonderful and horrible Urban Dictionary goes right to Mississippi State when you Google "clanga."

It’s not weird, it’s simply the word for the sound that Mississippi State fans have assigned to their cowbells. This is one of those “beauty in the eye of the beholder” things. Bulldogs fans rattle the cowbells constantly during games and seem immune to the noise.

You heard Iowa wide receiver Brandon Smith, a Mississippi native, talk about the tradition earlier this week, giving “clanga” a decided thumbs down (he favored Ole Miss growing up, so that also played into his opinion).

When the 18th-ranked Bulldogs (8-4) were picked to face the Hawkeyes (8-4) in Tuesday’s Outback Bowl, bowl officials immediately let it be known that the cowbells were welcomed into Raymond James Stadium.

This caught Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz’s attention. Throughout Iowa’s December practices at the Hansen Center, the “clanga” noise was piped into the indoor facility.

“We did round up all the cowbells we could in Iowa City,” Ferentz said with a laugh. “That’ll be an experience for us.”

In 2015, Mississippi State fans set a Guinness World Record for ringing cowbells at something called the “Cowbell Yell” in Davis Wade Stadium. More than 15,000 fans attended the event and set the record at 5,748 cowbells ringing simultaneously.

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Again, beauty in the eye of the beholder. It’s a sweet song or it’s the kind of thing that makes embedded dictators surrender.

Tristan Wirfs is OK, really

During the 20 minutes the media were allowed into Iowa’s practice on Friday, there was some note taking. One note was sophomore Tristan Wirfs lined up at No. 2 right tackle behind Levi Paulsen.

The tweets went out, and Hawkeye nation’s cheeks clenched.

This is the problem with tweeting information without context. Ferentz had some thoughts during his Saturday news conference.

“You guys caused a firestorm there,” Ferentz said. “We rotate guys around in practice all the time, so poor Tristan got a call from his mom two hours after practice, and she’s worried the kid is sick or hurt or whatever.

“Chalk one up for social media on that one.”

Ferentz said Iowa often rotates offensive linemen in and out of the lineup during practice.

Sorry, Mrs. Wirfs.

Kind Kinnick words from Joe Moorhead

Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead spent two seasons as Penn State’s offensive coordinator.

In 2016, he probably didn’t notice the Hawkeyes. The Nittany Lions thrashed Iowa 41-14 and ran up 599 yards total offense, the second most against a Kirk Ferentz defense (that’s 20 years now).

It was very different in 2017. The Lions needed a TD pass from Trace McSorley as time expired to pull off a 21-19 victory.

The crowd noise at Kinnick Stadium was a 12th man for the Hawkeyes.

“I’ve been fortunate in my time as an FBS coach to compete in a bunch of the best stadiums in the country and I don’t know if there was ever an atmosphere ever on the last drive we had on that two-minute drill,” Moorhead said Saturday. “We didn’t have to use silent cadence very much in my two years at Penn State, but you couldn’t hear a thing and I know it’s an incredibly passionate and proud fan base.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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