A quick story before I hit you with a few things that stuck out from Iowa’s 20-13 VICTORY over Iowa State:
The past two weeks I’ve been with family down the Jersey shore (No, you do not go down TO THE SHORE, you go DOWN THE SHORE because reasons?). Before we left and before football started, my now 14-month old daughter was mostly crawling and taking two beautiful naps a day. Because I’m still new to all of this fatherhood stuff and apparently super naïve, I just assumed that would stay the same until she’s basically entered high school.
Our vacation started off perfectly. She was still mostly crawling. She wanted to do some walking but realized she can get places way faster on her hands and knees. And she LOVED her naps on naps on naps. As we got deeper and deeper into it though (and closer and closer to Hate Week), something changed in her brain. Something that went from “I like napping and being cute and crawling around to discover things” to “I ONLY like to walk and even when I ask you to hold me I really only want to walk and even when I’m rubbing my eyes and acting like I want to nap, I, again, only want to walk and oh look an electrical outlet I should keep walking to that!”.
And then Saturday morning arrived. She woke up with what I can only describe as a fire under her backside. She was fully rested and ready to GO. I took this as a good omen for the day and for the Hawkeyes and figured she’d do her dear ol’ Dad a solid when it came time for kickoff.
She was a firecracker. Up meant down. Down meant up. Electrical outlets might as well have been candy and when they weren’t a giant hose filled in the gaps. She probably could’ve played for the Jets because she was all gas and no brakes from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. That also meant that I had to be all gas and no brakes from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Thankfully I was able to monitor more of the Colorado drubbing over Nebraska, but as we got closer and closer to kick, I started to panic. How am I supposed to hunker down and watch Iowa with a child that wants to only walk on the part of the deck that is as hot as lava?
The answer? You’re not.
But despite having to chase that little Gremlin around during most of the first half, something else seemed to have clicked in her brain... Football is exciting. When Sebastian Castro returned that Rocco Becht interception for a touchdown, I scooped her up, jumped up and down and started singing the Iowa Fight song and her face lit up. She clapped and screamed and laughed and then she did the most perfect thing in the world... she pointed at the TV, mutterd “foobaw”, laughed at herself and started clapping again.
She might not be taking naps on naps on naps much any more and my football watching experience may be drastically different from here on out. But sharing small little moments like this make it worth it.
Now, to the musings:
- I’ve thought A LOT about 200 wins since Saturday and the more and more I think about it the more and more impressive it gets. Being able to flirt with that number of wins means you’re winning enough to maintain longevity, you’re developing enough to keep players coming into your program and you’re probably changing JUST enough to stay with the times. Kirk Ferentz has done all of the above. There’s a reason he’s just the 27th coach in the history of college football to hit that number. It’s HARD. And it feels like it’s only going to become more and more difficult for coaches at premier programs to achieve it as we get deeper and deeper into the Playoff Era. For all that Kirk Ferentz is and is not, he’s been the definition of stable and nothing should be taken away from what he’s accomplished here. Has it been a frustrating 200-wins? Sometimes, yes. But there have been so many amazing memories that a lot of us wouldn’t trade for anything (the Rose Bowls be damned). Oh and the best part of this 200th win is that it will always be against Iowa State. If I was the Iowa Marketing Department I would create a commemorative 200th win football that us peasants can purchase that shows Saturday’s score prominently. I’d buy 4 right now.
2. Maybe I was half blind from chasing my daughter around, but I thought the offensive line played better this week. I know the running game is taking a lot of heat right now and rightfully so, but I kind of think it was more indecision and a lack of burst by Kaleb Johnson more so than the line not doing what it was supposed to. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe I’m an idiot (ok, I am an idiot), but something looks “off” with KJ. Or maybe I’m just infatuated with Jazzy and want him to touch the ball 10-15 times a game moving forward. Either way, I think the line is gelling and they are taking steps forward. Time will ultimately tell as they have one last tune up this weekend against Western Michigan before things start to get real.
3. Brian Ferentz did some things on Saturday that broke tendencies and he was aggressive and that’s with a run game that needs to improve and a quarterback that is clearly playing through pain. The man has his haters that will never give him an inch, but I personally loved what he did on Saturday. Is it perfect by any stretch of the imagination? Hell no. But I’ll just keep squinting enough until I see the pieces fall into place. I know, I know, they only scored 20 points and seven of them came from a Pick-6...but 2-0 is 2-0 and until it costs them a win, I’ll continue to look at the positives.
4. Iowa’s defense is just special year in and year out. Phil Parker deserves every penny and then some and whatever Beth Goetz and Ferentz have to do to keep him as our DC until he wants to sit on his porch drinking coffee until the sun goes down, they need to do it.
5. I hate the Cy-Hawk Trophy. I’m sorry but it’s horrendous. It just doesn’t do it for me. Why these two teams aren’t battling for a bronze ear of corn or something that is shaped like the state of Iowa will never make sense to me.
6. At the end of the day, football is a silly game that we all take way too seriously. BUT, when it comes to Iowa Football, there is just something about it that continues to tear at my heart strings. We’ve talked a lot about the frustrations and the offense and Brian, but what isn’t talked about nearly enough is how this program continues to do the BEST things off the field when it comes to kids. If you’re a fan of this team, you probably have already seen the video of Tory Taylor and and Logan Lee pulling Kid Captain Nile Kron down from the stands to celebrate. But if you haven’t, I’m begging you to start your manic Monday off with it because holy balls does it give you the feels. I’m talking tears and chills all at once. What a wonderful group of men. Well done.
Here's some Hawkeye celebration with the trophy.— Chelsie Brown (@ChelsieTBrown) September 9, 2023
One of the coolest moments was when Tory Taylor and Logan Lee pulled the Hawkeye Kid Captain Nile Kron down from the stands to celebrate with them. pic.twitter.com/C7vxD671m1
7. 281 points left for Mr. 325... but I still believe that as long as Iowa goes 10-2 or better, all of this means nothing.