Nov. 13, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two University of Iowa football teams have started a season with nine consecutive victories. One, of course, is the current edition of Hawkeyes who are ranked No. 5 by the College Football Playoff.
The other was in 2009.
Tony Moeaki was a fifth-year tight end and permanent captain on the 2009 team. He was named first-team All-Big Ten Conference after compiling collegiate totals of 76 receptions for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns. On Friday he shared a message of motivation with the 2015 team.
“No one gave us a chance at the beginning of the year, but we knew what we had and we played for each other,” Moeaki said. “We had a brotherhood. There were so many close games and we were always on the same page.”
The Hawkeyes play their second game in primetime Nov. 14 against Minnesota with the traveling trophy Floyd of Rosedale at stake; they won four night games in 2009: Penn State (21-10), Michigan (30-28), Michigan State (15-13), and then Georgia Tech (24-14) in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
“He is a night game specialist,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It seemed to bring the best out of him.”
Against Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Georgia Tech that season, Moeaki caught 11 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
Moeaki said there was no pressure on the Hawkeyes, who finished 2008 with four wins and started 2009 with nine more.
“We expected to be there, it didn’t surprise us. Every game was just another game for us. We were going to play for each other and we concentrated on us coming out to practice every day and worried about playing hard for each other and controlling the things we could control.”
Tight end, Atlanta Falcons
“We expected to be there, it didn’t surprise us,” Moeaki said. “Every game was just another game for us. We were going to play for each other and we concentrated on us coming out to practice every day and worried about playing hard for each other and controlling the things we could control.”
Iowa claimed Floyd of Rosedale four times with Moeaki on the roster: 52-28 in 2005, 21-16 in 2007, 55-0 in 2008, and 12-10 in 2009.
Moeaki was selected in the third round by Kansas City in the 2010 NFL Draft. He caught 80 passes in two seasons with the Chiefs and has since played for Buffalo, Seattle, and Atlanta. There are three other Hawkeyes on the Falcons roster: Jonathan Babineaux, Adrian Clayborn, and Charles Godfrey.
There are 21 more Hawkeyes in the NFL.
On Nov. 1 in Atlanta, the Falcons dropped a 23-20 overtime decision to Tampa Bay. Playing tight end for the Buccaneers was Moeaki’s former Iowa teammate, Brandon Myers.
“We know who is playing who and we always look for each other after games,” Moeaki said. “A couple weeks ago I exchanged jerseys with Brandon Myers when we played Tampa Bay. I put that in a frame and I will put that in my future house.”
Moeaki will accompany the Iowa captains to midfield for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game.
Iowa (9-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten Conference) and Minnesota (4-5, 1-4) kick off at 7:12 p.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium.
“We have our reasons why we play,” Moeaki said. “My reason was that I loved my teammates. You have something special, just like we had. Let it show (Saturday). Let’s see that camaraderie you guys have.”