Dec. 24, 2015
Hawkeyes in Hollywood Photo Gallery
- Hawkeye Rose Bowl Site
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- 2015 UI Football Fall Camp Central
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- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
LOS ANGELES — ‘Twas eight days before the Rose Bowl and through skies of light blue, flew tiny reindeer and Iowa Hawkeyes, too.
The University of Iowa football team and staff left the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 12:33 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, landing in the City of Angels at 2:30 p.m. (PT). The official travel party of 299 people made the trip on a Boeing 777 via Omni Air International.
“It’s exciting right now, we’re happy to be here,” senior safety Jordan Lomax said upon arriving at the JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at LA Live. “It’s a great city, great game, and we’re playing a great opponent.”
A 12-1 season the Big Ten West this group led, now visions of roses dance in their head.
The Hawkeyes opened 2015 with 12 consecutive victories and led by four points in the Big Ten Conference Championship Game against Michigan State until the final 27 seconds. Iowa is making its 13th bowl appearance since the 2001 season.
“Each day you get closer to the game it becomes more realistic,” said UI quarterback C.J. Beathard. “Now we’re actually at the bowl site. It’s the Rose Bowl and it is the biggest bowl of them all. It’s a historic bowl and it’s an honor to play in this game.”
Beathard split time in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl (a 45-28 Hawkeye loss to Tennessee), completing 13-of-23 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. This season he has completed 62 percent of his pass attempts for 2,570 yards and 15 touchdowns.
On Desmond, on Josey, Canzeri, and Koehn; open a new year with black and gold reign.
“To be part of such a historic team in this program — especially in your senior year — makes it that much more special. We’re going to do our best to make this memory a good one.”
UI senior linebacker
Most of the Hawkeyes watched movies on the four-hour flight. Beathard took in the Dark Knight and Four Christmases. For senior center Austin Blythe it was the Dark Knight and Fantastic Four.
“It feels good to be here,” Blythe said. “It is nice weather, sunny, and we’re excited to get to work in California and prepare for a good team.”
Senior linebacker Cole Fisher couldn’t get into the Dark Knight, so he fiddled with a game of online poker. The success he had playing cards paralleled the success he has had on the football field this season. Fisher is second on the team with 112 tackles. He has six pass breakups, 4 ½ tackles for loss, three sacks, and three quarterback hurries.
“To be part of such a historic team in this program — especially in your senior year — makes it that much more special,” Fisher said. “We’re going to do our best to make this memory a good one.”
The Hawkeyes will hold their first practice in California at the StubHub Center on Friday at 2 p.m. (PT).
As busses were loaded and LAX they did leave, the head coach winked and exclaimed, “In the Hawks I believe.”
The 2016 Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual between No. 5 Iowa and No. 6 Stanford (11-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12) will be played Friday, Jan. 1, beginning at 4:10 p.m. (CT).
“This is the last game I will ever suit up in for Iowa Hawkeye football,” Lomax said. “To be able to play with this team in this special season is awesome.”