By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Bob Davis cherishes two souvenirs from a beautiful fall day in 1977.
It was Saturday, Sept. 17, and Davis was one of 59,725 inside Kinnick Stadium as Iowa State and Iowa renewed their football rivalry after 43 years. He saw Dennis Mosley and Jon Lazar score rushing touchdowns and he watched a Hawkeye defense hold Iowa State scoreless for the final 42 minutes, thanks to 11 tackles by Dean Moore and 10 from Tom Rusk.
There are few specifics Davis recalls from that overcast afternoon when temperature topped out in the mid-70s.
“I just remember the person I was with almost getting punched out by an Iowa State player,” Davis said. “We were right behind them and could touch their helmets. Iowa State was supposed to win and we were egging them on and egging them on and they were getting mad.”
Iowa won, 12-10. Davis and his friends from Muscatine, Iowa, came away from the big day unscathed physically. His bounty was a miniature, plastic football and a Pepsi bottle commemorating the historic event.
“I have lived in Iowa, Chicago and Kansas City. Your school stays with you. Where I was a Bears and Cubs fan (in Chicago), now I’m a Royals and Chiefs fan (in Kansas City). But your school, the University of Iowa, is with you permanently.”Bob Davis
“Somehow we got Row 1 seats (behind Iowa State’s bench),” Davis said. “I guess they weren’t very popular. I was surprised they were toward the middle of the field. It was hard to see the game because (Iowa State players) were standing up and you could hardly see through them.”
Davis was born in Waverly, Iowa, spent most of his life in Muscatine, and graduated from Des Moines Roosevelt High School. After attending junior college in Muscatine, he enrolled at the University of Iowa, earning an undergraduate degree in 1973.
“I never considered any place else, Iowa is where I wanted to go,” Davis said. “Before my senior year I was a physics major and (Professor James) Van Allen was there. I thought I was smart, then you get in class with those other physics majors — those guys are smart. I switched to environmental science.”
Davis also remembers professors Louis and Clyde Frank. Louis taught physics and astronomy; Clyde taught chemistry.
After working a couple years after earning a bachelor’s degree, Davis returned to the University of Iowa and received a master’s in environmental engineering. He retired from the City of Kansas City at the end of December.
“I have lived in Iowa, Chicago and Kansas City,” Davis said. “Your school stays with you. Where I was a Bears and Cubs fan (in Chicago), now I’m a Royals and Chiefs fan (in Kansas City). But your school, the University of Iowa, is with you permanently.”
Davis attends a football game or two every season, typically the Heroes Game against Nebraska with a friend who is a fan of the Cornhuskers. His 40-year-old daughter (he also has a 45-year-old son) accompanies him to a nonconference game when the weather is warm. She was born premature at 1-pound, 15-ounces and is wheelchair bound.
“She is an Iowa fan,” Davis said. “We were going to get matching Iowa tattoos, but with COVID, we didn’t do it.”
Davis said he wasn’t much of an athlete growing up, but when he hit 30, he started playing soccer, riding bicycle, running and downhill skiing. At 48, he started with golf.
“I play a lot of golf and a lot of pool,” Davis said.
And watches a lot of Hawkeye athletics on television.
“I really liked watching Megan (Gustafson) the last couple years (in women’s basketball),” Davis said. “This year the men’s team looks really good.”