Aug. 4, 2010
- University of Iowa Football Fall Camp Central
- 2010 Iowa Football Media Fact Book
- 2010 Iowa Football Media Guide
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
- Take the Hawkeyes With You: Iowa Podcasts
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone app!
- Iowa Football wallpaper
CHICAGO — When Marvin McNutt caught a 7-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Ricky Stanzi on Oct. 24, 2009, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., it wasn’t the first time the outcome of a University of Iowa football game broke the heart of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Cousins spoke candidly Tuesday about his love for the Hawkeye football program at the Big Ten Football Media Days at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.
“Absolutely, I was a Hawkeye fan,” Cousins says. “I can remember the 2002 season watching Brad Banks’ every game and cheering them on and following them to the bowl game against USC and getting my heart broken.”
Southern Cal defeated Iowa 38-17 in the 2003 FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami.
Cousins graduated from Holland Christian (Mich.) High School; his grandfather, Ralph Woodard, played tight end and defensive end for the Hawkeyes, lettering in 1945, ’47, ’48 and ’49. Woodard received his undergraduate degree at the UI before attending medical school here.
“He feels very indebted to the university and he has had season tickets ever since,” Cousins says. “His three kids — my mom — went to the University of Iowa. She graduated with a nursing degree; she was on the pom pom squad.”
MaryAnn Cousins — Kirk’s mother — stopped by the University of Iowa marketing table to say hello prior to Tuesday’s Kickoff Luncheon. She was briefly caught off guard after noticing that the photos UI senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn was signing for Hawkeye fans was an image of Clayborn sacking Cousins during the 2009 game in East Lansing, won by Iowa, 15-13. MaryAnn smiled as she scooped up a few of the pictures for keepsakes.
“We went back every year for Homecoming — I mean every year,” Cousins says. “We would tailgate, go to Carver-Hawkeye to watch the basketball team practice, we would go to the Field House and listen to the band warm up, then we would go to the game. I grew up around Iowa football. I know the traditions there and I’m going to be excited to go there and play at Kinnick this fall.”
That contest will be played Oct. 30. In his first year as starting quarterback for the Spartans, the 6-foot-3, 202-pound Cousins completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,680 yards and 19 touchdowns. He ranked third in the Big Ten and 25th nationally in passing efficiency.
“We went back every year for Homecoming — I mean every year. We would tailgate, go to Carver-Hawkeye to watch the basketball team practice, we would go to the Field House and listen to the band warm up, then we would go to the game. I grew up around Iowa football. I know the traditions there and I’m going to be excited to go there and play at Kinnick this fall.”
Michigan State quarterback
“I actually have a No. 8 Iowa jersey with my name on the back of it that I got when I was younger,” Cousins says. “I was a fan for sure, but my allegiances have switched. For me personally, with my family background, (the Michigan State-Iowa game) is one of the most special games for me. Obviously the Michigan game is very, very special, but to be able to go to Kinnick Stadium and play Iowa and the outcome we had last season is only going to add fuel to that fire. It’s going to be a great game. I know Kinnick Stadium will be rocking like it always is and we’re going to have to come ready to play.”
Cousins did not make the Spartan traveling team in 2007 when Iowa defeated Michigan State 34-27 in double overtime in Iowa City. Last season Cousins completed 16 of 32 passes against the Hawkeyes for 225 yards. His 30-yard touchdown pass to Blair White gave Michigan State a 13-9 lead with 1:37 remaining. Iowa drove 70 yards on 10 plays and won the game in dramatic fashion as time expired.
“That was as tough of a loss as I’ve taken probably in my whole athletic career,” Cousins says. “The game was back-and-forth and although it was a low-scoring game, there were a lot of exciting and intense moments. Then we score after not really doing much offensively all game and then you watch Ricky Stanzi and his magic and bring their team back down. That’s the way college football is and that’s what, as a fan, made me love it growing up. I guess I was on the wrong end of that one.”
While Cousins’ mother was a Hawkeye, his father, Don, grew up outside Chicago rooting for the Illinois Illini. Mom’s allegiance had the most influence on the Cousins children.
“From a young age we were raised to bleed black and gold,” Cousins says.
MaryAnn Cousins is from Fort Dodge, Iowa, and spent her summers on Lake Okoboji, where Ralph and Martha Woodard currently reside. There will be a first Oct. 30 when Michigan State comes to Kinnick Stadium — Grandpa and Grandma Woodard are expected to wear green and white clothing while sitting near the 50-yard line, surrounded by a sea of black and gold.
“I’m putting them in a tough spot,” admits Cousins. “They say they will be in green and white in the middle of the Hawkeyes — we’ll see.”
While Cousins and the Spartans are making preseason plans up north, the Hawkeyes will hold their annual media day Friday, Aug. 6. The season-opener is against Eastern Illinois at home Saturday, Sept. 4.