Sep 4, 2013
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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 — Larry Station stood by the side of Chuck Long as two of the great Hawkeyes football players from the 1980s were introduced into the inaugural Wall of Honor on Aug. 31 in Kinnick Stadium.
While nearly 70,000 fans roared in support, Station whispered something to his former teammate.
“I said, it seems like a dream to look up there and see our names and numbers on the stadium wall,” Station said. “He was a redshirt freshman and I was a regular freshman (in 1982). I wasn’t starting that first game (at Nebraska) and Chuck did start. When it came to the third game at Arizona, we both ended up starting. We were in a similar situation, and it was a great experience.”
From Week 3 of their first season until the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day in 1986, Station and Long were part of 35 University of Iowa football victories. They played in the Peach, Gator, Freedom and Rose bowls, winning two of them.
It was fitting that Station spoke to reporters in the Paul W. Brechler Press Box following the first quarter of Iowa’s season opener against Northern Illinois. Seconds earlier, Hawkeye Christian Kirksey — a linebacker like Station — made a tackle, forced a fumble, and then returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.
There were plenty of highlight-reel moments for Station from 1982-85. He is still the UI leader in career tackles with 492.
Station is 49-years-old and looks fit and game-ready. A reporter asked if he wanted to return to the Kinnick Stadium playing field.
“I would like to,” Station said. “I feel it in my heart that I would like to play, but I know physically I probably could only last a series before I went into traction.”
Then Station, the only player in school history to lead the team in tackles four straight seasons, started to grin.
“Maybe two series’,” he laughed. “Maybe the half. Whatever is necessary to win.”
Station is one of two Hawkeyes to be earn consensus All-America honors twice (Cal Jones is the other); he was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection.
“If I didn’t have a good game, then I would do more,” Station said. “You wouldn’t have to tell me to do more, I would do more on my own because I wanted to be the best out there.”
A native of Omaha, Neb., Station saw his first collegiate action against Nebraska on Sept. 11, 1982. The Cornhuskers featured Davenport, Iowa, native Roger Craig, as well as Irving Fryar, Mike Rozier and Dean Steinkuhler. Center Dave Rimington snapped the ball to quarterback Turner Gill.
“I was on a blitz, it opened up and Turner Gill was sitting there for me to take him down,” Station said. “I came in and sacked him and the crowd booed — I felt I was on an all-star wrestling show. There were 70,000 people booing me.”
Station heard the cheers as well and nothing was louder than “the game” in 1985 when No. 2 Michigan came to Iowa City to face No. 1 Iowa. The Wolverines led 10-9 late in the game and were milking the clock. On a crucial third-and-2, Station darted through the line and knocked Wolverine running back Jamie Morris for a two-yard loss. The Hawkeyes drove 66 yards, Rob Houghtlin kicked a 29-yard field goal for a 12-10 Iowa win, and the Hawkeyes went to the Rose Bowl.
“It was the loudest crowd noise I ever heard after a play,” Station said. “It was an electrifying feeling out there and obviously, we needed that play.”
Station and Long were two of three Wall of Honor recipients in attendance. The other was Randy Duncan, a quarterback who won Big Ten and Iowa MVP honors in 1958 when he led the Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl, where they defeated California, 38-12, to finish the season 8-1-1.