I did not see the 2009 Iowa-Indiana football game live. I was at work and desperately trying to keep up through spotty checks of the radio and my crappy phone. I was essentially picking up stray pieces of the game and by the fourth quarter I was relaying those pieces to complete strangers.
But despite not having the chance to see that wild, unpredictable, perfect-for-Halloween contest, I cannot think of the 2009 Iowa Hawkeyes without also thinking of that game.
It was a perfect microcosm of who that group of Hawkeyes was. They were not perfect, sometimes not even pretty, but they made their own breaks and you always knew that they would come through with one play that could turn everything around.
And Indiana was not the only game that showed that. The Northern Iowa game did too, so did Penn State. And don't forget about Michigan State.
Every year there is that one game or handful of games that instantly spring to mind when you bring up Iowa's special seasons, some you only need to say a moment and not the opponent.
There's the bootleg, 1 vs. 2, the Nick Bell game, the goalposts game, the Catch, the Pinball Interception, Love It or Leave It. That's seven games right now and I bet you can tell me the opponent in every one.
Which brings me to this season. About a week or two ago I was wondering -which game or games are we going to look back on when we think of the historic season?
One thing is certain, there are plenty of options. Iowa played 14 games this season and almost every one of them was memorable. Even the pasting of North Texas (62 points?! From Iowa?). And yes, even the two losses (one of which doubled as one of the best conference championship games in recent memory and the other proved that Christian McCaffrey was a cyborg sent from the future to destroy back sevens).
Let's go with the school-record 12 wins, though. What was your favorite? Which one is going to pass the test of time? The good news is that there is no wrong answer. And if by chance you've forgotten what happened (top-10 wrestling and basketball teams can do that to you) this fall, I've provided some helpful reminders with the help of YouTube extraordinaire HawkeyeHistorian, who true to his name was keeping good video record of this historical season.
Let's get started.
Sept. 5 vs. Illinois State
The score... Iowa 31, Illinois State 14
Remember... when we thought Iowa would probably limp to 6-6 and a tough game with the Redbirds would be the depressing start... that fake field goal that failed but still got the biggest cheer of the game... it was one of the hottest games on record... when the Hawkeyes went 99 yards on C.J. Beathard's second drive of the season... Iowa jumped out to a 31-0 lead.
Video evidence... Sorry, FCS victories are best savored in still images.
Sept. 12 @ Iowa State
The score... 31-17
Remember... Iowa honoring former standout Tyler Sash with a number nine on their helmet... C.J. Beathard turning into Fran Tarkenton and scrambling past Cyclone defenders... the last-second fake field goal... Tevaun Smith's beautiful catch in the end zone... Matt VandeBerg being Johnny-on-the-spot and scooping up a Hnery Krieger-Coble fumble... the late touchdown to Riley McCarron... Desmond King's INT... Jordan Canzeri's clinching score... Iowa walking hand-in-hand to the Cy-Hawk trophy.
(This video comes from gohawkeyes529)
Sept. 19 vs. Pittsburgh
The score... 27-24
Remember... Brett Greenwood leading the team on the field to a raucous Kinnick crowd... Pittsburgh mistakenly testing Desmond King... Beathard starting a season of limping with his diving touchdown... the Panthers blocking a punt... Beathard smartly getting down with just enough time left... Marshall Koehn booming a 57-yard field goal.
Sept. 26 vs. North Texas
The score... 62-16
Remember... Iowa City natives Dan McCarney and Andrew McNulty receiving a rude homecoming... Jordan Canzeri tying a school record with four touchdowns... that huge touchdown pass to Tevaun Smith... the Iowa defense scoring two touchdowns on interception returns by Josey Jewell and Bo Bower.
Video evidence... Withheld out of respect for McCarney
Oct. 3 @ #19 Wisconsin
The score... 10-6
Remember... Iowa forcing four Joel Stave turnovers... George Kittle providing the game's only touchdown... Wisconsin losing the ball on its own one-yard line... Joe Schobert being a terror monster for the Badgers... Jordan Canzeri making Tanner McEvoy look foolish... the Hawkeyes surviving one last drive on fourth down.
Oct. 10 vs. Illinois
The score... 29-20
Remember... Jordan Canzeri getting a carry... Jerminic Smith providing a glimpse of the future... Jordan Canzeri getting a carry... Drew Ott having to leave early due to injury... Jordan Canzeri taking a carry 75 yards for a touchdown... Ke'Shawn Vaughn losing the ball at an inopportune time... Jordan Canzeri getting a carry.
Oct. 17 @ #20 Northwestern
The score... 40-10
Remember... Akrum Wadley having a day and joining the record books with four touchdowns... Clayton Thorson playing quarterback without depth perception... Josey Jewell dislodging the ball and several major organs... Derrick Mitchell getting into the act and hitting the spin cycle for a touchdown... Iowa outscoring Northwestern 88-17 over the last two years.
Oct. 31 vs. Maryland
The score... 31-15
Remember... Iowa getting touchdowns from three different running backs... the Hawkeyes turning an interception into a fumble into a first down for Maryland... Perry Hills running around... Aaron Mends partially blocking a Terrapin punt... Desmond King going the distance... Maryland's only slightly garish uniforms.
Nov. 7 @ Indiana
The score... 35-27
Remember... Iowa needing just two plays to find the end zone... Air Beathard... Jordan Howard giving the Hawkeye defense fits... George Kittle providing some key separation late... Desmond King tying Kinnick for INTs in a season... Beathard going all Chuck Long for the deciding first down.
Nov. 14 vs. Minnesota
The score... 40-35
Remember... those uniforms, those wonderful, wonderful uniforms... an Iowa offense that moved up and down the field with ease... Minnesota emptying the playbook and providing a counterpunch... the impromptu light show... LeShun Daniels capping off a three touchdown night with one beautiful cut... the loud and lingering I-O-W-A chants... watching Minnesota booting its onside kick out of bounds.
Nov. 21 vs. Purdue
The score... 40-20
Remember... old man winter making an appearance and dumping plenty of snow the night before... it not making a lick of difference due to Iowa's excellent ground crew... the Hawkeyes jumping out to a huge lead with three touchdowns in the first quarter... George Kittle taking a dump pass and going untouched for a touchdown... Jordan Canzeri providing the exclamation point with his long touchdown run... earning that first-ever trip to the Big Ten Championship game.
Nov. 27 @ Nebraska
The score... 28-20
Remember... Desmond King's one-quarter suspension... Tommy Armstrong interception #1... that muffed punt... Kirk Ferentz blowing a gasket... Tommy Armstrong interception #2... Parker Hesse can't lose... Jordan Canzeri scoring touchdown on back-to-back offensive plays... Tommy Armstrong interception #3... F--- it, I'm throwing a fade on fourth down... Tommy Armstrong interception #4... Iowa sealing the deal with one onside kick return.