Weather Won't Hamper the Hawkeyes

Nov. 26, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The turf will be several degrees cooler at kickoff Saturday than it was on Nov. 22, 2008, when the University of Iowa football team put an emphatic 55-0 finish to college football in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. So just when the Hawkeyes were enjoying three wins in their last four trips up north, the Golden Gophers constructed TCF Bank Stadium.

An attractive — but outdoor — 50,805-seat TCF Bank Stadium.

“It’s nice playing in new stadiums and not old stadiums with rust hanging all over them,” UI senior tight end Allen Reisner says. “I’m sure there will be a lot of people there.”

“I’ve heard it’s a great stadium with great locker rooms and a great atmosphere,” UI senior defensive end Christian Ballard says. “It’s another great Big Ten environment, something to add to the conference. I’m looking forward to experiencing that — it’s going to be a great game.”

The high temperature Saturday is not expected to exceed 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:31 p.m.

“That’s a little chilly when I can see my breath,” says Reisner, who has proven he can block and catch passes in any type of weather. “But it doesn’t really matter. It’s all the same to me.”

To Minnesota native and UI junior defensive end Broderick Binns, playing outside in cold conditions is what football is all about.

“I don’t care,” Binns says. “A dome or no dome, we’re still going out and trying to get the job done. We haven’t had to face (cold weather) the last few years because they had the dome, but it’s going to be a new challenge for us and it will be the same for them, too. I expect a good, hard-fought game.”

The No. 24 Hawkeyes enter the game with a record of 7-4 overall, 4-3 in the Big Ten; Minnesota is 2-9, 1-6.

The Golden Gophers made the Metrodome their home from 1982 to 2008. Iowa’s last game outdoors at Minnesota was a 24-6 loss on Oct. 25, 1980. The last Hawkeye win on the Gophers’ campus was 22-12 on Oct. 23, 1976, inside the “Brick House,” a nickname given to Memorial Stadium.

“It should be pretty cold; we’ve played in cold games before, it’s part of football,” UI senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi said. “You have to be able to adjust to those things.”

As a sophomore, Stanzi experimented with wearing gloves during chilly games to get a better grip on the sometimes-slick game balls. Stanzi, who has thrown for 2,677 yards and 23 touchdowns this season, has since scrapped the gloves because he found them distracting.

“When it gets windy it gets kind of chap out there and it’s a little bit dry and the ball gets a little more slick,” Stanzi said. “But I think I’ll stick to no gloves and just use the hand warmer and suck it up a little bit.”

Ballard knows it will be cold and he and the rest of the Hawkeyes are prepared for the elements.

“You have to deal with whatever comes,” he says. “If it’s raining or snowing or if it’s hot, you have to play in it. (The weather) can take your mind off the game, so you have to overcome it and play the way we know how to play.”

Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz has been involved in several “cold-weather” games as a high school player in Pennsylvania, a college player in Connecticut and a coach at Maine, the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and the University of Iowa.

“It’s really not bad for coaches and players; I’ve never understood why fans go,” says Ferentz with a grin. “Coaches and players are working. It’s not that big a deal.”