Throwin' It Back

Aug. 30, 2004

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The University of Iowa will turn back the college football clock on Saturday, Sept. 4, when the Iowa Hawkeyes entertain Kent State in the “Throwback Game.” Kickoff is set for shortly after 11 a.m. from historic Kinnick Stadium. The University of Iowa will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of its football facility – named in honor of the University of Iowa’s 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick – throughout the 2004 college football season. On Saturday, that celebration will grab fans by their senses when the UI hopes to make it look and feel like 1939.

The Hawkeyes will sport a different look on Saturday when they entertain Kent State in the Throwback Game.

Both the Hawkeyes and the Golden Flashes will be wearing uniforms designed to look like those worn in the 1930s. For the Hawkeyes, the change will be rather dramatic. Instead of a solid black helmet with yellow stripe, white number, and the Tigerhawk, the 2004 Iowa Hawkeyes will wear glittering solid gold headgear.

A limited number of “singles” — single seats scattered throughout historic Kinnick Stadium — are available for the Throwback Game. To purchase yours, contact the UI Athletic Ticket Office.

Instead of their Pittsburgh Steeler-like black jerseys with white number, and yellow and white stripes, the Hawkeyes will wear solid black with block gold numbers on the front and back only. And, of course, no player names. And, instead of yellow pants with a hint of black along the sides, the Hawkeyes will wear an off-white pant with a thin strip of black and gold piping. Count the UI cheerleaders – male and female – and Dance Squad, the UI Marching Band, the chain gang and ball boys and, yes, even the game officials in on the fun. All have been outfitted with uniforms specific for the Throwback Game. “At some point in the process we decided that if we were going to do this, we might as well do it completely,” said Rick Klatt, associate athletic director for external affairs. “It’s going to be quite a sight to see. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the game officials’ locker room. The bow ties and hats those guys are going to where are really special.” Klatt said Kinnick Stadium will also dress the part. The UI’s grounds crew has been studying pictures of Iowa’s historic football venue all summer in an effort to find the right combination old and new when it comes to the painting the field. The challenge: Make the field look like the 1930s while meeting the standards of modern-day college football.

Iowa’s support staff on the field will also join in the celebration of Kinnick Stadium’s 75th anniversary.

“I have no doubt that it will look more like the 1930s than the 2000s. The look of the playing field will definitely be a case where less paint means more authentic,” Klatt said. UI officials are also anxious to see how fans of the Hawkeyes react to the special event. “From what you hear on the street, a good number have their own special plans for the day. That’s great. We’re glad they’re going to get into it a little bit. It will only add to the experience for everyone,” Klatt said. The UI plans to distribute 3,000 imitation black fedoras to participants in the National I-Club’s annual Golden Hawk reception and another 30,000 imitation straw hats to fans as the enter the stadium. “We also have a couple tricks up our sleeves not to mention some great game day give-aways,” said Klatt. The game is a sellout, but not because it’s being dressed up special to kickoff the celebration of the stadium’s 75th anniversary. “To paraphrase Hayden (Fry),`We’re selling the sizzle for a pretty good steak. The steak on Saturday is a very, very good college football team that’s worth the price of admission without all the special fuss going on around it this particular weekend,” said Klatt. Speaking of Fry, the UI’s most recent inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame will also be in attendance on Saturday as one of the members of this year’s class of inductees into the UI Athletics Hall of Fame. That’s just one of the special activities planned for the season opener. The UI will also announce the winner in the online voting for the favorite Herky in the Herky on Parade program and will officially unveil the Diamond Collection of Herkys – 15 more Herkys that will be on display in the areas immediately adjacent to Kinnick Stadium.

Fans can also take an old-time mode of transportation to Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeye Express will make its inaugural journey from just south of the Coral Ridge Mall to Kinnick Stadium two hours before kickoff. It will provide fans an opportunity to “take the train to the game” like they did in the 1930s and, in so doing, avoid the challenges of game-day parking and traffic. “The Hawkeye Express is going to be a great option for many fans not only for this game, but all of our home games. It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s inexpensive. Plus, it’s fun,” said Klatt