The Iowa defense has always been known as a salty unit. From the bullies of the Big Ten to six seconds of hell, the defensive side of the ball has been a superlative for basically every successful Hawkeye squad of the Ferentz era (and prior).
With a downright monstrous defensive line returning for the Black & Gold next year, and some hopeful greenhorns at the linebacker position, Iowa could very well notch 30 sacks — a high watermark the Hawkeyes have hit twice in the last 10 years (‘15 and ‘09). That’s without mentioning the recent triumphs Iowa’s defensive backs have been enjoying.
All that being said, I wanted to take a trip and suss out which quarterbacks Iowa truly made suffer on the gridiron.
A couple honorable mentions include Jim Harbaugh, who in 1985 found the “excessive crowd noise” in Kinnick to mess with his snap counts (uhhhh, that’s the point) and that one time Juice Williams went 9-32 with 3 interceptions.
5. Adam Weber, Minnesota
Weber may be the career stats leader in just about every passing category for the gilded rodents, but his day against Iowa in 2009 was one to forget.
Weber didn’t throw an interception against Iowa in this one, but he fumbled ... twice and was sacked five times.
Oh, and he completed just 14 of his 40 (!!!) pass attempts. That’s about 35 percent for those of you keeping stats at home.
This was the last game of the regular season for that 2009 team. A loss here would have put them out of BCS Bowl eligibility, but Norm Parker’s unit wasn’t going to let that happen.
Let’s not look at Iowa’s offensive stats in this one. Just know the good guys won, and that Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard and Broderick Binns are still chasing Adam Weber in his dreams.
4. Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Tommy Armpunt did everything in his power to end Iowa’s perfect regular season back in 2015. Luckily, his power was rendered extremely limited thanks to the Hawkeye defense.
While Armstrong was never sacked in this game, he certainly lived up to his nickname. Armstrong threw four interceptions, one of which went for a pick six after Parker Hesse read him like a book.
This game was the exclamation point on what was a magical run in 2015. And wuddya know, Iowa hasn’t lost to Nebraska since.
3. Austen Arnaud, Iowa State
It just wouldn’t be such a list if I didn’t include an Iowa State game.
Austen Arnaud gave it away early and often, turning it over four times (Iowa would have five interceptions total this game, including three from Tyler Sash) in a 35-3 Hawkeye win.
Arnaud wasn’t sacked in this one, but was held to just 10/22 for 79 yards.
2. Andrew Robinson, Syracuse
It was a long day for Robinson.
Not only did the Orange quarterback connect on just 7 of his 20 passes for 79 yards and an interception. But he was terrorized in the backfield as well.
The Iowa defense managed to sack Robinson not once, nor twice or even three times — Bryan Mattison was able to get three sacks on Robinson alone.
Nope, Robinson was sacked a total of six times in a 35-0 win back in 2007.
So this is why a couple of you wanted to rekindle Iowa’s home-and-home with Syracuse.
1. Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (OH)
You probably didn’t need two guesses to know who was landing No. 1 on this.
Big Ben came into this game looking to kickoff his 2003 Heisman campaign in style.
Iowa had other things to say about that.
Roethlisberger was sacked four times, threw as many picks and fumbled the ball once in a 21-3 loss to Iowa. It was the first game of his senior season, and was the only loss for Miami on the year.
This game also inspired the legendary Mayne Event feature from ESPN:
Two words: Iowa Hawkeye Pride.