As you're no doubt well aware, it's been a long time since Iowa was in the Rose Bowl -- 25 years, to be exact. It's been even longer since Iowa won the Rose Bowl, though -- 1959. That win was the culmination of a remarkable season for Iowa football -- perhaps still the best season in the history of the program. Courtesy the fine folks in the BTN Film Vault, there's some lovely highlights of that season available:
This is an absolute delight. Let's break down some of the best parts.
0:07: Another wildly successful Iowa season that came out of nowhere -- it was happening before Ferentz got here.
0:10: "Western Conference crown" sounds weird.
0:21: "Halfback Ray Jauch displays his blinding speed..." So Jauch was basically the Akrum Wadley of the 1958 Hawkeyes, I guess. (Jauch actually did lead the nation in yards per carry in 1958.)
0:43: This play is great for so many reasons. One, even in 1958 Wisconsin passing the ball was A BAD IDEA. Two, Jeff Langston basically pulls off the same tip, catch, and score play that Parker Hesse did against Nebraska this year. It's awesome no matter what decade it happens in.
1:12: Randy Duncan, just throwing darts and dropping bombs in the passing game.
1:32: "The Hawkeyes have fullback power, too." WELL, DUH.
1:45: Willie Fleming with the ol' "oops I bobbled it but now I'm gonna run it all the way back for a touchdown" punt return. Always a classic.
2:15: The fact that so many of these highlights are against Michigan is an absolute delight. Iowa beat Michigan 37-14 that year -- in Ann Arbor. (In fairness, this was one of the weakest Michigan teams in some time.)
2:33: This play is great because Willie Fleming's nickname is "Wee Willie Fleming" and because WEE WILLIE HITS 'EM WITH THE SPIN CYCLE.
2:55: "Have you seen enough?" No, never. This play highlights Bob Jeter, who was one of Iowa's best players on those late 50s Evy teams. Iowa's depth at running back in '58 was also pretty extraordinary, with Jeter, Jauch, and Fleming all punishing defenses.
3:15: You know "Phenomenal Willie Fleming" is probably a better nickname than "Wee Willie Fleming"...
3:31: "Yes, sir, it's all 'Hail the Champ, Iowa's razzle-dazzle Hawkeyes, who will put on quite a show for the folks January 1st against Cal in the Rose Bowl."
IOWA'S RAZZLE-DAZZLE HAWKEYES
let's just that sink in for a minute
IOWA'S. RAZZLE-DAZZLE. HAWKEYES.
Your grandfather's Hawkeyes were something else, man.
Incidentally, Iowa was an 18.5 point favorite against Cal in the Rose Bowl and they did put on quite a show -- they won 38-12 and set records for longest run (81 yards, Jeter), individual rushing yards (194, Jeter) team rushing yards (429), and total offensive yards (516).
This video from BTN, made in 2008 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that sensational '58 squad, offers even more highlights from that season -- including some lovely clips from the Rose Bowl game itself (in color, no less).