THE DATE: November 22, 2008
THE OPPONENT: Minnesota
THE SCORE: LOL
At the end of every failed coaching regime, you can generally go back and pinpoint the place where said coach lost his job, where the hole in the balloon grew to such a diameter that it could not be plugged or filled or blocked. So was the case when Minnesota closed the second season of the Tim Brewster era with a home game against Iowa. The hated Hawkeyes had miraculously remained unfazed by 14 fans chanting "Who Hates Iowa?" in the Metrodome that night and built a 27-0 lead over the Gophers at the half. Nevertheless, the Gophers remained theoretically in the game, and even managed to stop Shonn Greene for three consecutive downs early in the third quarter. While attempting to catch the ensuing Iowa punt, Minnesota returner Johnny Johnson was hit by his own player -- who had been chucked six yards backwards by the man he was attempting to block -- and fumbled the ball back to Iowa. Three plays later, Ricky Stanzi hit DJK for a 29 yard touchdown and popped a giant hole in Tim Brewster's balloon. Iowa went up 34-0, the faithful few Gopher fans left their seats and started preparing for ice fishing season, Iowa fans gave new meaning to the term "Hump Dome", and Iowa closed out the Metrodome with a 55-0 win over the hated Gophers. It took Minnesota nearly two more years to pull the trigger, but Brewster was done that night.
Iowa's victory over Michigan State in 2010 was probably the height of Kirk Ferentz outward coaching dickishness: There was the Sash lateral, the timeouts used late in the first half to get the ball back, and the second half trick plays. But if that game was Exhibit 1, 2008 Iowa-Minnesota was 1A, the sort of complete and total asskicking normally reserved for MACrifices and ACC bowl opponents. 2008 Minnesota was and remains Ferentz's biggest win over a Big Ten or BCS-conference program, and his second-biggest win overall (in 2005, Iowa beat Ball State 56-0). And it was done by everyone: Shonn Greene was pulled late in the third quarter, Rick Stanzi early in the fourth. Jake Christensen threw his last pass as a Hawkeye in this game. Paki O'Meara picked up six carries. Iowa won by 55 points, and that was with the dogs called completely off with 13 minutes left to play. It was horror-movie-level brutal, as evidenced by this student-made postgame video.
HEROES: Like so many games in 2008, it started and ended with Shonn Greene: 22 carries, 144 yards, 2 touchdowns in less than three quarters of work. DJK had one of his finest games, tallying 181 yards receiving and a touchdown on seven catches. Tyler Sash and Amari Spievey intercepted a pass each, adding 115 return yards between them. And Jewel Hampton did a nice job with the one kickoff return he had to handle, taking it for 20 yards.
IMPORTANT: Well, it's a 55-point win over Minnesota. It's the sort of mollywhopping we want Ferentz to put up every year against Minnesota. And Iowa State. And jNorthwestern. So, as a rallying point and template, it's extremely important. As an actual game, meh. It cemented Iowa's spot in the Outback Bowl and was the third of what eventually became a thirteen-game winning streak.
PERSONAL MEMORIES: I went to Minneapolis that weekend without a ticket but with a "ALL YOUR GOALPOST ARE BELONG TO US" sweatshirt. There was all you can drink beer before the game. There was beer in the stadium. Six hours later, after getting a last-second nosebleed seat to watch Minnesota's noses literally bleed, I was standing outside the Metrodome screaming "WHO HATES IOWA NOW BITCHES?" Maybe my favorite game ever.
WHICH GAME IS #15? The starting halfback for the team that lost to Iowa ran for 246 yards.