Nov. 12, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER & JAKE RUDOCK
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Playing in big football games is nothing new to University of Iowa junior wide receiver Andrew Stone. Either is catching touchdown passes.
He did both Nov. 8 during a significant Big Ten Conference matchup at Minnesota.
Stone closed the game’s scoring with a 24-yard touchdown reception from quarterback C.J. Beathard with 14 seconds remaining. Five plays earlier, he hauled in his first reception at the NCAA Division I level — a 9-yarder from Beathard.
“It was a wonderful experience, but it was bittersweet because we lost the game and that is the most important thing,” Stone said Wednesday after practice in Kinnick Stadium. “It has always been a goal for me to score a touchdown and it was nice to accomplish that. I wish the game had a different ending.”
Stone continues to enjoy a much-traveled football career. In the fall of 2009 — as a junior at Northern University High School in Cedar Falls, Iowa — he caught 40 passes for 886 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Class A school. NU High did not field a football team in 2010, so after classes, he drove to Cedar Falls High School and played for the Class 4A Tigers. As a senior, Stone had 21 receptions for 463 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“Not even so much the touchdown catch but this whole experience playing under coach Ferentz, the tradition with the program they have here. It’s not so much the touchdown pass as much as it is to be part of this Iowa program. The touchdown pass is nice, and hopefully I can get a few more next year.”
UI wide receiver
In 2011 and 2012, Stone played at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. He set the school’s career receiving record with 110 catches and helped the Reivers to the NJCAA national title in 2012.
His next stop was Iowa City.
“As a kid I had season tickets to Iowa (games),” Stone said. “My whole life I came to every home game. I didn’t get the chance to come here out of high school, so I went to a community college. Coaches called me and gave me the opportunity to come here and I jumped on it right away. It is the only college I would ever want to play football at.”
Stone was injured during his first season as a Hawkeye and did not see game action. His first playing time came Sept. 27 at Purdue — a 24-10 victory for Iowa. Stone played again during a 48-7 win over Northwestern on Nov. 1.
“I do what the coaches ask to make the team better,” Stone said. “Whether that is being on the scout team or contributing with the starters, I’ll do whatever they ask of me. Hopefully I will improve and increase my role.”
Scoring a touchdown in a Big Ten game is an achievement. But according to Stone, playing for head coach Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes is the true reward.
“Not even so much the touchdown catch but this whole experience playing under coach Ferentz, the tradition with the program they have here,” he said. “It’s not so much the touchdown pass as much as it is to be part of this Iowa program. The touchdown pass is nice, and hopefully I can get a few more next year.”
Iowa (6-3 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) travels to Champaign, Illinois on Nov. 15 to take on the Fighting Illini (4-5, 1-4). Kickoff from Memorial Stadium is set for 11:01 a.m. (CT). The teams have not met since 2008.