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Iowa Football Stat Watch Week 5: 33 Yards

The distance between a good season and a magical one

NCAA Football: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

33 yards.

That was the distance of Daniel Murray’s kick against #3 Penn. St in 2008 that started the run of wins vs top 5 teams in Kinnick Stadium.

33 yards.

The distance that’s responsible for crowning Kinnick Stadium as the place where top 5 teams go to die.

33 yards.

A singular distance, in a singular moment of time, that has made hero’s out of ordinary men. A measurable post mark in our otherwise immeasurable Hawkeye dreams.

Only 33 yards...

I’m going to be very candid this week folks. This version of Stat to Watch is aimed not at any obscure stat involving this team in particular, but rather, a record which has made Hawkeye fans out of many. All of the numbers I’m about to give you add up to this weeks statistic. I’m going to let you guess what the stat is as you take a walk down memory lane.

33 Yards

As mentioned, this was the distance of the dart that Daniel Murray popped Penn. St’s National Championship bubble with. It would also set the stage for a run into the top 5 the following season and an Orange Bowl victory.

72 Yards

An interception from a warrior since passed into legend, and flipped to a friend. 72 yards later, not even a mighty Spartan could overcome the damage done. The Hawkeyes throttle #5 Michigan State 37-6.

31 Yards

A freshmen from North Carolina shoved into the spotlight. A coach on the opposing sideline who’s had National Championship dreams dashed in Iowa City before. A kick that could rescue a floundering team in an underwhelming season. Keith Duncan would convert, and Iowa beat #3 Michigan.

7 Yards

The distance it takes to silence 70,000 screaming people. A number so small when compared to the magnitude of the moment. A pass that was half an inch high enough sinks the Hawkeyes as Penn. St walks off with a win in 2017.

30 Yards

The amount of yards it takes to electrify the same 70,000 people 8 seconds into a game. A yardage amount that would strike down the giant of the conference. The singular distance traveled that may just be responsible for the coming of the ‘Dough Boys”. Amani Hooker’s interception and 30 yard jaunt into the end zone spurred the greatest singular performance from an Iowa team I have ever seen. Iowa would beat #4 Ohio. St.

44 Yards

The distance of a pass that, for a moment, had a fanbase forget about a young man’s struggles. A pass that vaulted the Hawkeyes to #2 in the rankings. A pass that allowed a fan base to dream about anything being possible. Even if only for a week, Spencer Petras’ 44 yard connection to Nico Ragaini sunk #5 Penn. St and flung Iowa to the top of the mountain.

These are all significant numbers from the last six instances a top 5 team has wandered into Kinnick Stadium. My stat for you this week is the five wins that the Hawkeyes accumulated in those six contests. Only a last second pass stands in the way of a perfect record. This week, #4 Michigan comes to town. If history has any bearing on predicting an outcome, this stat will have changed Saturday evening to six wins in the last seven.

I. O. W. A. Get it done.