Dec. 24, 2008
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TAMPA, Fla. — You don’t think University of Iowa senior Andy Brodell is excited to play in another bowl game? All you have to do is look back at his last postseason performance — the 2006 Alamo Bowl — to understand why.
The Hawkeyes led 14-3 after the first period, 14-10 at halftime and 21-20 after the third before falling 26-24 to defending national champion Texas on that day. Brodell left his name in the Alamo Bowl record book by catching six passes for 159 yards and touchdowns of 63 and 23 yards. Now he is back for a bowl encore.
“I try to imagine myself making a big play and hopefully those things happen,” Brodell said. “Whatever big play comes my way is great, but just being able to contribute, whether that’s in the run game or the passing game or special teams in the biggest thing for me. But you look forward to having those types of plays and those types of games.”
The two touchdowns by Brodell in San Antonio tied an Iowa bowl record shared by Ed Hinkel, Deven Harberts, Jonathan Hayes and Ronnie Harmon. The 63-yard scoring strike from Drew Tate to Brodell is the longest touchdown reception in Iowa bowl history. Brodell’s 159 receiving yards set an Alamo Bowl record previously held by Michigan’s Amani Toomer (135 yards in 1995). The mark still stands today.
Brodell started all 12 regular-season games for the Hawkeyes this season — and has 23 career starts — but an injury last season during the fourth game of the season at Wisconsin nearly derailed the career of the sprinting star from Ankeny, Iowa.
“Coming back and just being part of the team, especially after what the whole team went through last year,” Brodell said. “It’s special to me. It was tough (last year) being a junior and a guy who was going to contribute a lot and having to watch what happened (going 6-6) and then not going to a bowl game.”
Brodell is second on the team (behind Derrell Johnson-Koulianos) with 33 receptions and 506 yards. His four touchdown catches ties him with Brandon Myers for first among the Hawkeyes. Brodell’s other game-breaking specialty is returning punts. He is third in the Big Ten Conference with 36 returns for 383 yards (10.6 average), including an 81-yard touchdown against Iowa State on Sept. 13. Brodell has 13 more return attempts than any of the other top eight Big Ten leaders.
“I try to imagine myself making a big play and hopefully those things happen. Whatever big play comes my way is great, but just being able to contribute, whether that’s in the run game or the passing game or special teams in the biggest thing for me. But you look forward to having those types of plays and those types of games.”
UI wide receiver
Against the rival Cyclones, Iowa was nursing a 10-3 lead in the fourth quarter before Brodell’s return put the game out of reach. It was the 10th-longest punt return in Hawkeye history and that performance earned him the Big Ten Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
“It was a big moment, obviously something I’ll never forget,” Brodell said. “That was a big moment on a big stage. I give a lot of credit to the guys on the field along with me. I’ll look back and it will always be a great memory.”
At the team banquet Dec. 13, Brodell received the coaches appreciation award for offense and special teams. During his career, Brodell has 91 receptions for 1,342 yards (14.7) and nine touchdowns and 64 punt returns for 735 yards (11.5) and one score.
Now he is setting his sights on a South Carolina team known for forcing opposing offenses to sputter.
“We’re playing an SEC opponent which is always going to be a challenge,” Brodell said. “It’s a Jan. 1 game, so it’s big for our program and it’s big for this team. Every guy on this team knows we deserve to be here and hopefully we’ll play a good game.”
Iowa departed from the Eastern Iowa Airport this afternoon at 1:37 p.m. (Iowa time) and touched down in Tampa 2-hours, 11-minutes later at 4:48 p.m. (Tampa time). The Hawkeyes will hold a closed practice on Christmas Day at the University of Tampa.
Iowa (8-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) plays South Carolina (7-5, 4-4 SEC) in the Outback Bowl on Thursday, Jan. 1, with a 10 a.m. (Iowa time) kickoff from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
To view a 16-image photo gallery from Wednesday’s travel day — available exclusively on hawkeyesports.com — CLICK HERE.
Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes who live in the Heartland or in the Sunshine State or in all points between should note that the UI Athletics Ticket Office is accepting ticket orders for the 2009 Outback Bowl. Click here to purchase your tickets online. Fans can also purchase over the phone by calling 1-800 IA-HAWKS or over-the-counter at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.