Oct. 10, 2009
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Just call him Superman.
University of Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki returned to the Iowa lineup Saturday night against Michigan. What a return it was.
The gifted blocker and receiver from Wheaton, Ill., scored a pair of touchdowns while leading the Hawkeyes to a 30-28 victory over the visiting Wolverines, a win that improved the nationally ranked UI to a perfect 6-0 overall, a mark that includes Big Ten Conference victories over Penn State and Michigan. Iowa is also now eligible for post-season play for the ninth consecutive season.
Moeaki put Iowa on the board when he waltzed untouched 34 for yards to tie the score at 7-all with 9:20 to play in the first quarter. Two-hours-plus later in real time, he repeated the dance, this time racing 42 yards – again untouched – to paydirt to give Iowa a 30-21 lead that was trimmed to 30-28 after another impressive drive that resulted in its third touchdown via the rushing game.
“Oh, Tony where have been thee?” the Hawkeye Radio Network’s Gary Dolphin asked after the 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior sent Kinnick Stadium’s sellout and “Blacked-out” crowd into a tizzy.
Moeaki’s six catches were a team-high and a game-high, and they pushed his season total to 17 for 2009 in just three games.
“It felt really good,” Moeaki told Dolphin during the post-game interview session. “I’m tired, but I’m happy for everyone in the Hawkeye family. It was a great environment and a great win for our team.”
Imagine the impact he will have when he gets to practice. Moeaki said he didn’t see the practice field this week as his teammates prepped for Michigan.
“I’m looking forward to contributing as we keep working our way through what is a tough, tough league. We’re resilient. We’re tough, We’re playing team football,” said Moeaki.
Before he scored Iowa’s first touchdown of the game, Moeaki was the guy Ricky Stanzi looked for to convert on 3-and-3 at the Michigan 32. He also had an 11-yard grab in Iowa’s 9-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 40-yard field goal by Daniel Murray that opened the second half scoring.
The victory was Iowa’s first over Michigan since a 30-27 in 2003. It was also the Hawkeyes’ 10th straight victory.
Iowa now goes on the road for a pair of Big Ten contests, the first Saturday at Wisconsin. Kickoff for the game with the Badgers is set for 11 a.m. Iowa time. The Hawkeyes play at Michigan State on Oct. 24. ESPN or ESPN2 will provide live television coverage. The game will kick off shortly after 6 p.m. Iowa time and will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. It will be Iowa third prime-time television appearance of the 2009 season.