Dec. 5, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
INDIANAPOLIS — If there were rankings for college football fans, those at the University of Iowa — like the Hawkeye football team — would be pushing for a spot in the postseason playoffs.
On Monday, one Hawkeye fan was highlighted over all others in the Big Ten Conference.
That’s when Austin Chesney from Bettendorf, Iowa, was named Biggest Fan of the Year by Duluth Trading Company.
“I think I about rolled my car (when I found out),” Chesney said Saturday at the Omni Severin Hotel. “I was so ecstatic. I couldn’t believe they picked a crazy fan to win the award.”
It started months ago when Chesney clicked on a Facebook advertisement inviting people to nominate a Fan of the Year candidate. Chesney entered a photo a friend took of him on Sept. 19 after Iowa senior kicker Marshall Koehn drilled a game-winning 57-yard field goal to defeat Pittsburgh, 27-24.
“It caught like wild fire,” Chesney said. “(On Nov. 30), the Big Ten Conference called to let me know I won the grand prize because so many people voted for it.”
Chesney wins a $500 Duluth Trading Company gift card, four tickets to the Big Ten Football Championship game, two rooms for Saturday at the Omni Severin Hotel, pregame VIP hospitality access, recognition and presentation with the award at the game, and a Big Ten merchandise prize pack.
“It is such a flattering award,” Chesney said. “My dad has been going to Kinnick Stadium for almost 50 years; my wife has had to put up with all my fandom for the Hawkeyes. It is a moment I will never forget. I am trying to soak it in that we are actually playing in the game and winning the award (in the same year). You couldn’t ask for a better scenario.”
The undefeated and fourth-ranked Hawkeyes (12-0 overall, 8-0 Big Ten) take on No. 5 Michigan State (11-1, 7-1) on Dec. 5, beginning at 7:17 p.m. (CT) in Lucas Oil Stadium.