Hawkeyes Sweep Trophy Games (Again)

Nov. 22, 2009

By Sean Neugent

IOWA CITY, Iowa — For two years in a row, all the rivalry trophies remain on display in the Hayden Fry Football Complex after the University of Iowa’s defense stymied Minnesota on Saturday to retain Floyd of Rosedale, 12-0.

“We like to step up to the challenge,” UI wide receiver Marvin McNutt said. “We like coming in and keeping every trophy we have. It’s not a good feeling when someone else comes in and gets your trophy.”

Sure, every game is as important as the next, but when a trophy is on the line, there’s extra motivation. It’s the best of both worlds with a win and the hardware for proof.

“They’re important games, but every Big Ten game is important,” UI defensive lineman Christian Ballard said. “We try to do our best in every single game. They are important, but they stand for something much more important than that in that we try and lay it all on the line for all the trophy games. This was a big one and going another year and winning all the trophy games is huge.”

The Hawkeyes play three trophy games a year, not including the bowl game. All three are against historical rivals Wisconsin, Iowa State and the Golden Gophers.

The Iowa State rivalry is for in-state pride. The Cy-Hawk Trophy started in 1977 and the Hawkeyes own the series 22-11. The trophy consists of a football and a running back striking a stiff-arm pose.

The Hawkeyes have had their troubles with the Cyclones since 2000. Iowa State and Iowa have split the series since 2000. The Hawkeyes went on a stretch from 1983-1997 where they won the Cy-Hawk 15 straight times before the Cyclones responded to win the next five games in the series dating to 2002.

“I think it goes back to our coaches,” Hawkeye kicker Daniel Murray said. “Coach (Kirk) Ferentz has really emphasized the trophy games the past two years. A few years ago when we lost to Iowa State, he told us we need to stop this, this isn’t just another game — this is a trophy game. We need to bring that back to our sideline. I think it is mainly his mentality that we need to keep these things because they do mean a lot for bragging rights and everything around here.”

The Heartland Trophy is relatively new, but the rivalry has gone on for years between the Badgers and Hawkeyes. The trophy is a bronze bull, and Iowa leads the series 4-2 in games played for the Heartland Trophy. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 42-41-2. With the back-and-forth battles, it is not hard to see why the game is so significant with tightly contested games.

Floyd of Rosedale has a long story behind it that ended with the Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson betting Minnesota’s prized hog against Iowa’s prized hog that the Gophers would win dating all the way back to 1935. The Golden Gophers won the game and the hog was donated from an owner of Rosedale Farms in Fort Dodge, hence “Floyd of Rosedale”. The series is close, but the Gophers own the advantage 39-34-2. The Hawkeyes have kept the Floyd of Rosedale in their sights the past three seasons.

Whether it is in-state pride, a toug- fought series, or a matter of historical context, the Hawkeyes know these rivalry games have a lot at stake. They have proved who the dominant team is in the past two years and they will fight next year to keep the trophies in Iowa City.

“These games are important and we always want to keep hardware in our complex,” UI defensive lineman Broderick Binns said. “Every trophy game we came out tough and hit them in the mouth.”

The Hawkeyes have only one more piece of hardware to collect and it is dubbed as the most important piece to the puzzle — winning a bowl game. Iowa went to the Outback Bowl last season and defeated South Carolina. The Hawkeyes will have to wait a few weeks to find out their destiny. Whether it is a BCS bowl or not, you can bet the Hawkeyes will play with everything they have to collect the last piece of the puzzle in a battle for the trophy.

“Every game is a big game, but when there is a trophy on the line it adds extra incentive,” UI linebacker A.J. Edds said. “You never want see a team come to your sideline and take something that you feel is yours. It was big to win all the trophies and hopefully the next few years we can keep that going.”