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BHGP Film Room: Alamo Bowl 2001

Iowa breaks the tie late on Kaeding’s kick to defeat Texas Tech

Penn State Nittany Lions vs University of Iowa Hawkeyes Photo by Matt Stockman/Getty Images

The Setup

Texas Tech is led by “The Pirate” Mike Leach, quarterback Kliff Kingsbury (yes, that Kliff Kingsbury), and receiver Wes Welker.

The Red Raiders have just kicked a 37 yard field goal to tie the game at 16 with 2:05 remaining in regulation.

Back deep to receive the kickoff are Kahlil Hill and Fred Russell. Hill gets the kick and is brought down at the 17. Senior quarterback Kyle McCann trots out for his final drive as a Hawkeye.

Taking advantage of safe defense

Iowa opens in 11 personnel with tight end Dallas Clark in the boundary slot, and it is a fullback, Jeremy Allen, lined up six yards behind McCann. On first down, McCann hits Allen out of the backfield on a Texas route for 16 yards. It’s pretty crazy to see a team go to a fullback in this situation, but it shows how versatile and athletic Allen really was. This is a route Iowa has used a lot over the last three season with Wadley and Goodson.

With all three timeouts remaining and the clock stopping for a first down, Iowa is moving quickly, but does not need to panic. Remaining in the same formation, the Hawkeye offense is able to get a quick gain and get out of bounds on the hitch route to Tim Dodge. He steps out at Iowa’s 37 after gaining 5 yards and leaving 1:37 on the clock.

Big Strike to Hill

Texas continues to only bring four rushers allowing McCann to have all day to wait for Hill to come open after the outside receiver has cleared out the corner. Iowa kept Allen and Clark in to block leaving only three guys out in routes, but Hill was able to win and is pushed out at Texas Tech’s 43 with 1:30 left. This is the point in the game where I was hoping Iowa wouldn’t score too soon and give the potent Air Raid offense a chance to match.

Texas Tech changes defensive strategy

The basic four man rushing isn’t working for Tech and they decide to bring field slot corner and field linebacker on a blitz. Iowa’s line and Allen pick it up perfectly. McCann sees a crease in the center of the line and sprints upfield before angling to the sideline. He’s knocked out of bounds but not until he has gained 15 yards. Ferentz goes nuts on the sideline wanting a late hit penalty. With Iowa carving up their defense, Tech is forced to call a timeout. There is 1:23 remaining and Iowa is in Nate Kaeding’s range at the 26 yard line.

Almost broke it open

Needing to force Iowa backwards, Tech brings another blitz. Iowa is expecting a blitz and goes with the draw to Allen, but he is brought down from behind netting two yards. Iowa is sitting pretty good and does not need to call a timeout and chooses to let the clock tick down. It appears they are going to put the game on Kaeding’s leg.

Major Mistake

For some reason, McCann takes the snap with 20 second remaining on the play clock. This time the Red Raider’s blitz gets to McCann. He tries to get rid of it, but the ball lands with no one around. Flag on the play. Intentional grounding and it is third down back to the 30 yard line.

Iowa is still in Kaeding’s range, he hit from 46 earlier in the game, but they would like to pick up a few yards here. McCann looks for Hill, who is running an out from the slot, but he is well covered and bracketed by the safety and slot corner. Fourth down and fourteen with 49 seconds. Now I’m officially worried there is both too much time on the clock. In addition to the clock, a missed field goal would put the Tech offense in good field position.

It comes down to this

Texas Tech takes their final timeout in attempt to freeze Kaeding. The spot is good. The kick is up, and he absolutely hammers it through the uprights. It was a 47 yard kick and looks on replay like it would have been good from about 60.

Tip of the cap to Norm Parker

This game helped propel Iowa into a truly special 2002 season. It was also another example of what can happen when you give Norm Parker significant time to prepare for a unique, at the time, offensive scheme.