What's in Iowa's Wallet?

Jan. 1, 2005

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ORLANDO, FL — An unbelievable season ended unbelievably for No. 11 Iowa Saturday afternoon, as Drew Tate connected with Warren Holloway for a 56-yard touchdown pass and the Hawkeyes stunned No. 12 Louisiana State 30-25 in the Capital One Bowl.

“For this thing to end today the way it did is probably pretty fitting,” Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I don’t know if you could write a better script. Nobody would believe it if you did.”

The score ended an intense fourth quarter and spoiled a comeback by the Tigers, who overcame a 12-point deficit with 8 minutes left and were up by one point with 14 seconds left on the clock.

“I think both teams out there showed a lot of heart today,” Ferentz said. “No great surprise what a great football game it was. I just can’t say enough about our players, our staff. This has been a pretty unusual year in a lot of regards, and the resiliency these guys have shown week-in and week-out is hard to put into words.”

While freshman quarterback JaMarcus Russell came off the bench to spark LSU’s late rally, throwing two touchdown passes to Skyler Green, Tate took the field with 44 seconds remaining in the game, threw two passes and then had a penalty push Iowa back to its own 44 with 14 seconds left.

Tate, surprisingly under little pressure by a pass rush that threw him off in the first half of the game, went through two other receivers before finding Holloway unguarded and 10 yards away from a game-winning touchdown.

“We just called four verticals and (Clinton) Solomon was supposed to run a skinny post,” Tate said. “They had a safety on him. I was going back to (Scott) Chandler, but the safety playing that side of the field jumped on him.

“And then, Warren’s guy ran over to the flat. I just threw it up to Warren, and I think once Warren caught it, he wasn’t going down. I was scared I overthrew him, but he did an unbelievable job not going down.”

Tate had previously connected with Solomon, on a 57-yarder for Iowa’s first TD. Chandler had also snagged passes of 21 and 20 yards for Tate in the last two quarters.

But it was the unlikely Holloway, who scored his first and last-ever collegiate touchdown, who came out the hero.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz holds up the Capital One Bowl Trophy after leading Iowa to a 30-25 victory over LSU.

“It’s very surreal,” the senior said. “We pulled it out; everybody executed good. We took advantage of the game, the coverage, and the rest is history.”

“Of a team of workers, he’s probably the No. 1 hard worker,” linebacker Chad Greenway said of Holloway. “He wasn’t getting time early, but he kept working hard, and good things happen to those who wait, and that was definitely his case.”

“It ended with an ESPN Classic, hopefully,” said Tate, who finished 20-of-32 for 287 of Iowa’s 334 offensive yards.

“We were playing for a field goal,” Ferentz said looking at Tate, “and he blew that too.”

Iowa (10-2) won its eighth consecutive game and reached double digits in victories for the third consecutive year under Ferentz. Four of the Hawkeyes’ victories this year have been by a total of 11 points.

Tate won the game’s MVP award, but his accolades may have been more muted had it not been for the yeoman’s effort put in by the Hawkeyes’ special teams. Tate had two interceptions on the day, and one led to an LSU field goal.

But Ryan Majerus blocked an LSU punt in the first period, and Miguel Merrick blocked another in the second with senior Sean Considine recovering for a 7-yard touchdown.

“It was just one of those things where we had a block on and Miguel came through and made a great play,” Considine said. “I just happened to be the lucky guy there to scoop it and score, and we knew we would have a few opportunities on special teams that would change the outcome of the game, and we needed those seven points so I’m glad that happened.”

“We knew coming in that we would have to play well on special teams, and special teams came up huge for us,” defensive end Matt Roth said.

For the majority of the game, LSU (9-3) struggled on offense, just a week after its coach, Nick Saban, announced that he will coach the Miami Dolphins starting next week.

The Tigers had to punt six times before the fourth quarter and two drives ended with field goals despite getting inside Iowa’s 30-yard line. Starting quarterback Marcus Randall also threw an interception that led to an Iowa field goal prior to exiting the game in the fourth.

“I don’t know if you could write a better script,” Ferentz said. “Nobody would believe it if you did.”

“We obviously didn’t play one of our best games today,” Saban said. “We didn’t have the consistency we needed against a very good defensive team to win the game until the fourth quarter, which was enough to win, but we didn’t get them stopped when we needed to.”

Roth said the Tigers, who rallied in the fourth quarter to win four times in the regular season, still looked pretty good.

“They have a great offense,” the senior said. “And we knew if we stuck to the game plan and played team defense, we would get them when we needed to, and that’s what we did.

“I think whenever our defense takes the field we feel confident and that we can come through for the offense and for the team,” Roth added. “The team relies on the defense, and the offense keeps making plays.”

Roth had just three tackles on the day because his left arm was hit in the first play of the game and started to swell. While coaches urged him to leave the field to get it examined, Roth merely said, “I’m not coming out for this.”

Offensive lineman Brian Ferentz said it was “about time” that an offensive play won a game for the Hawkeyes, as opposed to a defensive one.

“It was just a fitting end because of what we’ve been through as a team, and it certainly looked pretty bleak at points through the season and it looked pretty bleak with 14 seconds left,” the junior said, “but we found a way to win and it was by a guy that most people didn’t expect to make a play.

“It’s us.”

Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com