Big Play Hawkeyes

Nov. 5, 2009

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Official Sports Report, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free. To receive the UI’s OSR or to learn more, click HERE.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Every time you have a special season, one can point to a play or two that one can reflect on and say, “wow, how about that play?!?! If that play goes the other way, the outcome of the game could have been different.”

For Iowa football fans in 2009, fans can point to numerous special and/or unique plays that have turned this season into a magical one for the Hawkeyes. Listed below in order from the start of the season are some of the biggest and strangest plays fans will ever see:

Sept. 5 (Northern Iowa): Iowa blocking consecutive field goal attempts in the final seconds against Northern Iowa to preserve a one-point victory.

Sept. 26 (Penn State): Trailing 10-5 at Penn State in the fourth quarter, Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn blocks a punt and completes the daily double by returning the block 53 yards for the game winning score.

Oct. 10 (Michigan): Leading by only two points with Michigan driving in the final minutes, Hawkeye safety Brett Greenwood intercepts Michigan quarterback Denard Washington on Iowa’s 31 yard line.

Oct. 17 (Wisconsin): Trailing 10-3 in the third quarter, a scrambling Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi finds tight end Tony Moeaki in the back corner of the end zone, who tip-toes for the game tying score.

Oct. 24 (Michigan State): Trailing 13-9, Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi engineers a game-winning touchdown drive in the final 1:32 that culminated with a seven-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Marvin McNutt on a slant pattern as time expired.

Oct. 31 (Indiana): With Indiana leading by 14 points and on the doorstep looking for more points in the third quarter, an Indiana pass ricocheted off four different players and ultimately dropped into the hands of Tyler Sash who darted 86 yards the other way for a score.

Oct. 31 (Indiana): After throwing four interceptions in the third quarter against Indiana, Ricky Stanzi rebounds with back-to-back deep scoring strikes of 92 and 66 yards to Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulinaos, respectively, on consecutive offensive plays to give the Hawkeyes the lead, which they would not relinquish.

Twice this season after games, Head Coach Kirk Ferentz was asked if he has ever seen a play or a game like that before and guess what his answer was….

“I can’t imagine ever seeing a game end this way,” said Ferentz after the Hawkeyes blocked consecutive field goals in the final seconds. “I doubt there’s a person in the stadium that’s ever seen anything like that in TV or in person. It’s just a bizarre deal and we are very fortunate.”

“I’ve never been in a game like this or seen a game like this,” said Ferentz after Iowa’s thrilling comeback win over Indiana. “I’ve never seen a play where Tyler’s (Sash) playing a little video thing, and I’ve never seen it like that. You can’t say enough about our players. They continue to battle and fight and find a way to be successful.”

Amazingly, Iowa has trailed in eight of its nine games and have found unique ways to walk away with victories. The Black and Gold have trailed by double figures three times this season and rallied for the win in each game. Iowa trailed by 10 points at Wisconsin and Penn State and 14 points against Indiana.

And, think about this… in the previous 10 seasons under Coach Ferentz, the Iowa Hawkeyes were 3-41 when trailing after three quarters. This season, the Hawkeyes are a perfect 4-0. Iowa trailed 13-10 versus Northern Iowa, 10-5 at Penn State, 6-3 at Michigan State and 24-14 versus Indiana entering the final quarter of play. The Black and Gold own the fourth quarter this season, outscoring their nine opponents, 100-38.

Northwestern is next on the Hawkeyes schedule, with Iowa hosting the Wildcats Saturday at 11 a.m. in Kinnick Stadium on “Family Weekend”. The fourth-ranked Hawkeyes will be looking to avenge last season’s 22-17 loss to Northwestern, which was played in Iowa City.

With three more regular season games remaining, how many more magical moments will the Hawkeyes provide their passionate fans? One thing is for sure, Iowa fans need to watch the entire game because these Hawkeyes play hard until the final whistle.