Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 2017 Football Season Tickets | Kinnick Edge | Fight For Iowa | Hawk Talk Monthly — November 2017 | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch — 2017-18 Season | VIDEO — Nate Kaeding
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Nate Kaeding is the all-time scoring leader for University of Iowa football, making 167 point-after kicks, 67 field goals, and one touchdown.
Coincidentally, his touchdown came during his senior season in 2003 at Ohio State. The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes renew their Big Ten rivalry tomorrow inside Kinnick Stadium.
“We had been working on this play which sounded great in practice,” Kaeding said. “It was a simple one where the holder catches it and flips it over his shoulder and I run a toss-right play.
“I have never held a football in a real game before. (Punter and holder) Dave Bradley caught the ball, flipped it over his shoulder. I remember grabbing it, looking for the pylon, and running for dear life.”
It resulted in a 5-yard touchdown for Kaeding, who also converted a 36-yard field goal that day during a 19-10 Ohio State victory in Columbus, Ohio.
Kaeding, who scored 373 career points as a Hawkeye, is honorary captain for Saturday’s game. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. (CT). He went on to enjoy a nine-year career in the NFL, where he became one of the most proficient kickers in league history. Kaeding made 181 of 210 field goals (86.2 percent) and 352 of 354 PATs (99.4 percent).
When it comes to Kaeding’s career at Iowa, another game sticks out for head coach Kirk Ferentz. It was the second Big Ten victory for Ferentz’s program — a 26-23 overtime thriller at Penn State in 2000. Kaeding kicked field goals of 49, 48, and 42 yards in regulation and added a 26-yard game-winner in overtime.
“Looking back at my career, probably the most rewarding thing is knowing we came in and played a part in helping the program turn the corner and shooting it out into the stratosphere,” Kaeding said. “Everyone else has been running with the culture coach Ferentz instilled.”
Kaeding grew up in Iowa City and was team captain of three sports and Iowa City West that won state championships (football, basketball, soccer). He had two scholarship offers coming out of high school: Iowa State and Iowa.
“As a life-long Hawkeye, that became a pretty easy situation,” he said.
During Kaeding’s first two collegiate seasons, the Hawkeyes won 10 games; during his final two seasons, they won 21.
“We had a lot of great senior-junior leadership when I came in as a freshman and they did a great job mentoring us,” Kaeding said. “We built on top of each other. By our junior year, we were in a BCS game and won a Big Ten championship; (the program has) been rocking and rolling since.
“It is neat as a fan and alumnus to watch the team, knowing that it is the same backbone and blueprint when I was here playing.”
Kaeding addressed the current Hawkeyes Friday in the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center, encouraging them to enjoy the “in-between” times of a football game and season.
“(You need to be) in the moment and enjoy big games like this,” Kaeding said. “Looking back on my career, I think I did a bad job of taking myself out of the moment and soaking in the atmosphere and environment and sharing time with teammates and being present in those moments. I wish I could go back and find a better way to strike that balance.
“Sometimes it is the in-between: the time between games and plays that become memorable and the stuff you find most fulfilling. Pulling those moments, especially in big games, is important. Steal a few of those moments and enjoy it.”
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