I spent the weekend before the Iowa football team’s season-opener looking into my crystal ball. I not only saw a score, but also a brief account of what will transpire with each game.
Iowa 24, Northern Illinois 23
Disaster is avoided when sophomore defensive end Riley McMinn uses every inch of his 6-foot-7 frame to block a 38-yard field goal on the final play of regulation. However, McMinn is called for being off-sides, giving the Huskies another shot at defeating Iowa for the first time. McMinn redeems himself by blocking the second attempt. Kirk Ferentz accidentally swallows his gum while being hugged by Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta during the post-game celebration.
Iowa 38, Missouri State 13
Iowa does enough good things to keep the momentum building. Junior college receiver Damond Powell has a breakout performance by catching two touchdown passes from starting quarterback Jake Rudock, including one in which he makes several defenders miss in open field. Powell becomes the first Iowa receiver to do that since late in the 2011 season. Missouri State coach Terry Allen, who grew up in Iowa City and graduated from West High, says after the game that it was privilege to coach inside Kinnick Stadium. He then says, “Closer than his team was on the field today,” when asked how close he was to becoming the Iowa coach after Hayden Fry retired in 1998.
Iowa State 28, Iowa 21
Trailing 28-0 at halftime, Ferentz announces on Twitter that he will replace Rudock in the third quarter with redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard, who then mounts a furious comeback, only to come up short at the end. Iowa’s ninth loss in the last 15 games against Iowa State is accompanied by a quarterback controversy. A poll is taken Monday that ranks Beathard as the third most popular person in Iowa City, trailing only Dan Gable and Fran McCaffery.
Iowa 31, Western Michigan 20
Ferentz sticks with Rudock, who responds with a gutsy performance under pressure against the latest MAC Attack. Beathard also plays a few series to keep the quarterback controversy brewing. Fans spill into the streets of downtown Iowa City afterward to celebrate a rare victory over a directional school from Michigan.
Minnesota 27, Iowa 24
Hawkeye fans, at least 20,000 strong inside TCF Bank Stadium, start chanting, “Wait until basketball season,” as the final seconds tick away. The game is competitive from start to finish, but the Gophers make a 48-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter that proves to be the difference. Ferentz sticks with Rudock, causing Beathard to pass McCaffery in second place in the latest popularity poll.
Michigan State 17, Iowa 13
The Iowa defense rises to the occasion, but so does Michigan State’s vaunted crew. The game is ultimately decided by turnovers. The loss moves McCaffery back in front of Beathard in the popularity poll after Beathard fails to provide a spark off the bench in the second half.
Ohio State 41, Iowa 17
The fans whose glasses are always half full take solace in outscoring the Buckeyes 17-7 in the second half. It’s reminiscent of the 1995 Iowa squad, which trailed Ohio State 56-0 in the second quarter in Columbus before scoring 35 points in the second half.
Northwestern 24, Iowa 23
Northwestern quarterback/receiver Kain Colter continues to haunt the Hawkeyes by accounting for his team’s three touchdowns in three different ways — running, catching and passing. The Iowa players are devastated until defensive coordinator Phil Parker reminds them that Colter is a senior.
Iowa 28, Wisconsin 27
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is seen limping on the sideline while coaching against Auburn the same day. It’s later revealed that Bielema twisted his ankle while jumping for joy over his alma mater’s last-second victory against his former employer. Iowa ekes out the victory behind Mike Meyer’s career-long 54-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining. Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez blames the loss on Bielema, but tells reporters that he needs until Monday to come up with a reason besides being vindictive.
Iowa 34, Purdue 31
The Hawkeyes stay in bowl contention with a come-from-behind victory against their protected Big Ten rival on the road. Rudock has his best game as a Hawkeye with three touchdown passes. His performance causes Beathard to drop to fourth in the popularity poll behind Gable, McCaffery and Chicago high school point guard sensation Tyler Ulis, who despite it being Nov. 9 is still trying to choose between Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan State.
Michigan 28, Iowa 14
In addition to winning, Michigan picks up three verbal commitments during the game, all of whom are five-star prospects. Two of the recruits acknowledge that they aren’t sure who the head coach is at Michigan, but they still committed because of the school’s tradition and because of the winged helmets.
Nebraska 5, Iowa 3
Talk surfaces about moving this game to Wednesday morning on the eve of Thanksgiving after the two border rivals produce yet another dud. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany denies the report, but says a 7 a.m. kickoff on Black Friday is being considered. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini warns that he isn’t a morning person and would be even more unfriendly playing at that hour.
Big Ten: 2-6.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football