Editor’s Note: The University of Iowa Athletics Department, in conjunction with Coca-Cola, will produce exclusive video highlights of the top 10 Iowa football games over the past 20 seasons, as voted on by Hawkeye fans. Hawkeye fans will vote each week between two game options, with the winning game each week advancing as a top 10 moment. Beginning Aug. 13, the weekly countdown of the Top 10 games will begin, with Coca-Cola releasing 16 ounce cans across the Hawkeye State. Fans will be able to view video highlights of each moment by scanning the Tigerhawk on the cans with the Hawkeye Sports App, via the new augmented reality feature coming to the Hawkeye Sports App later this summer. The release of the greatest moment of the past 20 years is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 8.
Fans can download the Hawkeye Sports App, free of charge, in the Apple App or Google Play stores.
Questions concerning the purchase of 2018 football tickets, including general public, University of Iowa faculty/staff and University of Iowa student season tickets by current students, should be directed to the University of Iowa Athletics Ticket Office. The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The office telephone number is 1-800-IA-HAWKS. Information is also available at hawkeyesports.com/fightforiowa.
By RICK BROWN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s 2004 football team had come to a fork in the road, just four games into the season.
The Hawkeyes were 2-2 after a humbling 44-7 loss at Arizona State and another at Michigan in the Big Ten opener, 30-17. Injuries were piling up at running back and about to get worse, making the road ahead a daunting journey.
“From what I remember, it felt like we needed to redefine ourselves,” wide receiver Ed Hinkel said. “As an offense, anyway.”
Head coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe thought the same thing. The forward pass became the Hawkeyes’ go-to weapon. And seven weeks later, Iowa was celebrating a share of its second Big Ten Championship in four seasons.
“I remember our motto for that year was just find a way,” said Hinkel, one of the most productive pass-catchers of the Ferentz era. “We did what we had to do, whether it was the offense, the defense, or special teams making a play.”
Two games in that 2004 season stand out. The first was a 38-16 trouncing of Michigan State on Oct. 2, a week after the loss in Ann Arbor. The second was a 30-7 victory over No. 9 Wisconsin in the Nov. 20 regular-season finale, which enabled the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes to share the conference crown with Michigan at 7-1. The Badgers finished 6-2.
The spark for this title turnaround actually started early in the week of the Michigan game, following a poor practice. Captains Hinkel and Robert Gallery brought the offense together.
“Gallery and I told them, ‘We’ve got to practice better or we’re looking at a long season,'” Hinkel recalled. “Did that make a difference? I don’t know. But I think we practiced better the rest of the year.”
Iowa’s loss at Michigan was fueled by five turnovers, not a lack of desire. When preparation started for the Michigan State game, change was in the air.
Quarterback Drew Tate entered the game last in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 154.8 yards a game. He torched the Spartans for 340 yards and a touchdown, the most passing yards for a Hawkeye quarterback in four seasons. Iowa passed on every first down in the first half.
And the timing couldn’t have been better for unfortunate reasons. Jermelle Lewis injured a knee and was lost for the season, joining Marcus Schnoor and Albert Young on the sideline.
“The years I was there (2002-05), that was the most we passed it in a season,” said Hinkel, who had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown against Michigan State. “At least it felt that way as a receiver. It was fun.”
Hinkel also said the return of Brian Ferentz for the Michigan State game gave the offense a spark. Ferentz, who had been out all season with a knee injury, started at guard against the Spartans.
“He would probably not tell you this, but I think that was a big influence,” Hinkel said.
Iowa got on a roll after the Michigan State victory, and the Hawkeye defense carried the load. Iowa won by two, 10, two, and two points in the four games leading into the regular-season finale against Wisconsin.
“Somebody always stepped up and got it done,’ Hinkel said. “Most of the time it was the defense. We definitely rode the defense that year.”
Hinkel remembers going through warmups before the Wisconsin game when he heard that Ohio State had knocked off Michigan, 37-21.
“We knew we were playing for a share of the Big Ten title,” Hinkel said. “Get a win, and get a trophy afterward.”
Things got off to a rocky start for Tate, who was picked off by Wisconsin’s Jim Leonhard on the Hawkeyes’ first two possessions. But the Iowa defense kept the Badgers off the scoreboard. The key play on the team’s third possession came on a third-and-2 play from the Iowa 42 late in the first quarter.
“Drew threw it a little high, and I went up and got it,” Hinkel remembered. “I knew I was going to take a hit, whether I caught it or not. After that, we kind of got going a little bit. It changed momentum and we started playing better on offense.”
The Tate-Hinkel completion was good for 12 yards. Six plays later, Tate and wide receiver Clinton Solomon hooked up for a 6-yard touchdown.
After Wisconsin tied the game, 7-7, Tate and Solomon hooked up again for a 51-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half. Solomon ran an improvised pattern on the play.
Iowa’s defense was up to the task, shutting out Wisconsin the second half. That defense recorded four sacks and forced three fumbles. Sean Considine and Jovon Johnson had interceptions.
Tate threw for 186 yards and three touchdowns, and was masterful running the offense as the Hawkeyes won their 18th consecutive game at Kinnick Stadium.
“It’s his car we’re driving right now,” Ferentz said.
Iowa would finish the season with eight consecutive victories after a 30-25 triumph over LSU in the Capital One Bowl. The Michigan State and Wisconsin victories got them there.
“The Big Ten title in 2002, we knew we had a good team,” Hinkel said. “But 2004 was a little different. It seemed like we were underdogs in almost every game and there were so many more obstacles we had to overcome that year. In my opinion, that one meant a little bit more. It was an amazing season.”
|Week One Winner||2005 Capital One Bowl|
|Week Two Winner||2002 Minnesota|
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