Marvin McNutt owns the slant route and don't you ever forget it.
Since that loss to Western Michigan, Iowa has gone 18-6. That run has included a pair of upset wins over top-five teams (Penn State, twice), a program-best 9-0 start this year, wins over every Big Ten team but three (Ohio State, Illinois, and -ugh- Northwestern), a rare win over Iowa State in Ames, a 55-0 demolition of Minnesota in the final Gopher game ever played in the Metrodome, a dominant Outback Bowl victory, and perhaps more come-from-behind wins than in all the other years of the Ferentz Era combined. And while all six of those losses have been painful in their own way, there's something to be said of the competitive spirit that's been on display in all of them as well. The 2007 Western Michigan game was the fourth game that year that Iowa lost by nine or more points -- none of the six subsequent losses have been by more than seven points.
The journey of 2009 is far from over -- a 10-win season is still in our grasp, there's some Gophers to destroy, a big bronze pig to keep, and a bowl game somewhere warm to win -- but on this day, the anniversary of one of the darkest and most depressing moments in recent Iowa football history, it's worth taking a moment to stop and think about how far we've already come in such a short period of time. The pain of losing the de facto Big Ten Championship Game to Ohio State stings, but it feels a hell of a lot better than the ache of losing to Western Michigan and being lost in the college football wilderness.