Nov. 19, 2005
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The Hawkeyes faced Laurence Maroney, the best running back in the Big Ten, on Saturday. They also played for the legendary Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. But for 24 players, the most emotional part of the day happened before the game even started.
The seniors ran out of the tunnel to meet their parents at the 50-yard line in their final appearance inside Kinnick Stadium.
“I still remember the first time I ran out of there as a freshman,” wide receiver Ed Hinkel said. “I had goose bumps and I even knew I wasn’t going to play in the game. Running out of there, I had never been a part of something like that before and it’s an amazing feeling.”
If the nerves of all the attention bothered Hinkel, it certainly didn’t show.
After Iowa keyed in on Maroney on Minnesota’s first drive of the game for a net gain of five yards, Hinkel connected with quarterback Drew Tate for a 46-yard touchdown reception with 9:30 on the clock in the first quarter. The touchdown pass was the longest of Hinkel’s career.
Hinkel scored again on a 26-yard reception from fellow senior wide receiver Clinton Solomon in the second quarter.
Indeed, it’s a satisfying way for a senior to exit, especially since it took modern medicine to get him playing time in the last two games of the regular season.
Hinkel broke his right arm in a win at Purdue in October and didn’t return until a win at Wisconsin last week.
“At the time I broke my arm I was kind of down,” Hinkel said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to suit up again with these guys. That’s why I worked so hard to get back. I wanted to make sure I was able to run out of the tunnel again with those guys.”
No problem there.
Chad Greenway also said the run out to midfield would be the hardest part of the game – outside of trying to contain Maroney.
“You’ve seen it happen for four years now, and now it’s your turn,” the linebacker said. “That’s part of life and that’s part of college football. It’ll set in when I’m pheasant hunting over Thanksgiving break: this was my last game in Kinnick.”
It will also be Greenway’s last home game with his linebacking partner, Abdul Hodge, who had 14 tackles posted by halftime.
“It says a lot about the character about a person to make it through. The coaches believe in them and put a lot of hard work in to get where they are. If you make it through the program for five years it means that you’re a hard worker.”
Running back Marcus Schnoor
“Playing along side him has been a great experience,” Greenway said of Hodge. “With any luck maybe we could play with each other again.”
It’s the last game for lesser-known players as well.
Running back Marcus Schnoor has just 17 carries for 61 yards this season heading into the Minnesota game, but he says just making it through the program to graduation is an accomplishment.
“It says a lot about the character about a person to make it through,” he said. “The coaches believe in them and put a lot of hard work in to get where they are. If you make it through the program for five years it means that you’re a hard worker.”
Despite not getting as many yards as players like Albert Young and Damian Sims, Schnoor says he’s happy with what he’s done.
“Coming in as a walk-on, I didn’t expect anything,” he said. “I just wanted to come in and see if I could do it. It’s been great playing special teams.”
Cornerback Jovon Johnson said one thing would make Saturday a success.
“It’s going to be emotionally challenging,” the senior said. “But we want to gout on top. There’d be nothing better than to go out of Kinnick with a win.”
The seniors got their wish.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com