A Fast Start

Oct. 8, 2005

Prior to Saturday’s kickoff inside Ross-Ade Stadium, Ed Podolak, the color man for the Hawkeye Radio Network’s play-by-play coverage of Iowa football and a fellow who played a few big football games during his collegiate and professional career, said it was very important for the Hawkeyes to start fast against what Podolak promised to be a very, very fired up Purdue team.

“Nothing scares me more than playing an opponent who has been told all week that it’s underachieving. These Purdue kids are talented and have a lot of pride, and they won’t stand still for that kind of criticism. They will be one fired up group of college football players,” said Podolak.

“To counter that, you have to start fast offensively. You have to move the ball and score, and get them thinking about themselves. A fast start today is critical.”

Well, things didn’t look too good for the visiting Hawkeyes shortly after the team captains assembled for the coin toss. Iowa started on defense for just the ninth time in 79 games since Kirk Ferentz became the head coach and Purdue promptly marched 80 yards to take a 7-0 lead.


Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes are encouraged to wear black on Saturday, Oct. 22, when the Hawkeyes entertain Michigan in the first-ever ‘Black Out Saturday” event at the UI.

Then, Iowa hit the gear Podolak had hoped they’d fine. On a third and eight in the Hawkeyes’ first offensive series Drew Tate found a streaking Clinton Solomon down the right sideline and the senior wide receiver scored what would be the first of two touchdowns against the Boilermakers.

Then, on the Hawkeyes’ very next possession, Tate found Ed Hinkel on another third down play for a gain of 43. Seconds later, Iowa’s lead took a 14-7 lead on a 3-yard pass from Tate to tight end Ryan Majerus. It was a lead that Iowa never relinquished en route to its first victory in West Lafayette since a 31-21 victory in the Hawkeyes’ 1991 Holiday Bowl season.

The statement was made: Iowa was ready, willing and able to go toe-to-toe with Purdue if the game was to become what the Boilermakers sometimes call “Basketball on grass.” In the end, it was Iowa who was the offensive machine, rolling up 535 yards en route to a 34-17 victory, a win that pushed Iowa’s overall record to 4-2 and its Big Ten Conference record to 2-1.

Tate ended the tempo-setting first quarter with 188 yards and a pair of touchdown. He completed seven of nine passes, including three to Solomon, who secured the victory when he took a Tate spiral 36 yards midway through the fourth quarter.

Iowa’s fast start also opened up the Hawkeye running game led by Albert Young, who logged a career-high 36 carries for 165 yards.

“It was a little scary watching them go down the field on that first drive, but we made adjustments and the players just took it up another notch,” said Ferentz.

“There’s no question our guys made a major step today. We played hard-nosed and physical, and continued to improve.”

A fast start. It’s what Podolak wanted. It’s what the Hawkeyes delivered.

The only negative of the day was the loss of Hinkel, who broke his right arm when he was tackled at the end of his 43-yard catch and run in Iowa’s second offensive series.

Iowa now returns to Iowa City for back-to-back games inside historic Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes entertain Indiana next Saturday at 11 a.m. Michigan visits Kinnick on Oct. 22 in the first-ever “Black Out Saturday.”