Oct. 20, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — As a player, University of Iowa offensive lineman Robert Gallery experienced nothing but victories during the Hawkeye-Penn State football rivalry.
There was a double-overtime 26-23 win in 2000, a six-point Homecoming decision in 2001, a 42-35 overtime win in State College in 2002, and a 26-14 victory inside Kinnick Stadium in 2003.
The Hawkeyes hope Gallery rouses some of that winning magic as honorary captain for Saturday’s crucial matchup against the Nittany Lions. Kickoff is set for 7:01 p.m. (CT).
“It was always a dogfight,” Gallery said of the Iowa-Penn State series. “It was always great to play them, especially when we beat them up there (in 2000) — it started a nice little roll when we were here for consecutive wins against them.”
Gallery was a four-year letterman at offensive tackle for the Hawkeyes from 2000-03. He earned the Outland Trophy as a senior in 2003, joining Calvin Jones (1955) and Alex Karras (1957) on the list of UI Outland Trophy recipients. The native of Masonville, Iowa (East Buchanan High School), also earned consensus All-America honors in 2003, and was a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award. He was named first team All-Big Ten in both 2002 and 2003, and was the Outstanding Offensive Lineman in the Big Ten in his final season.
Following the 2002 season, Gallery announced that he would forego a chance at the NFL Draft and return to the Hawkeyes for his senior season.
“I don’t think I was ready to go,” Gallery said. “I knew I could get better here. The coaching and teaching I got here, I knew it wouldn’t be any better than that any place else. It was the right decision. It helped set me up for my NFL career.”
“It was always a dogfight. It was always great to play them, especially when we beat them up there (in 2000) — it started a nice little roll when we were here for consecutive wins against them.”
2003 Outland winner
Gallery was the second player selected in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played in the NFL for eight seasons with Oakland and Seattle, before retiring prior to the 2012 season.
“You know when it’s time,” Gallery said. “I have had a few injuries and surgeries the past few years. When that starts happening, you think about your family. It was the right time for me. I have a lot of life to live and I am happy for what I have had.”
Gallery participated in three bowl games during his Iowa career, helping the Hawkeyes win the 2001 Alamo Bowl and the 2004 Outback Bowl. Gallery was a junior in 2002 when the Hawkeyes posted a perfect 8-0 conference record, while earning a spot in the 2003 Orange Bowl, Iowa’s first BCS-bowl appearance.
The Iowa offense featured a running back who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each season that Gallery was a member of the program. The Hawkeyes posted a 28-10 record in his final three seasons. He was named captain and Most Valuable Player following his final season.
“This is an opportunity to get back and enjoy some of the things I went through 10 years ago when I was here,” Gallery said. “It’s an honor to be asked to (be honorary captain). There are a lot of guys who have done a lot more in their careers than I have that could do this before me now. It’s an honor they asked me to come back and spend time around here.”
Gallery has kept an eye on the 2012 Hawkeyes, who enter Saturday’s tilt with a record of 4-2 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten Conference.
“They are young guys that work hard. You know you’re going to get the best effort out of them every week,” Gallery said.
Gallery said he is not much for making speeches, but when he addresses the team Saturday, he will “share some experiences I had and see what comes out.”
Gallery will accompany the Iowa captains to midfield for the pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sideline during the contest.
To watch a video interview with Gallery, taken during Iowa’s walk-through Friday in the indoor practice facility, click HERE.