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THROWBACK THURSDAY: IOWA VS OHIO STATE (2004)

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Our look back at the 10-year anniversary of one of Iowa's most enjoyable seasons continues with a look at Iowa-Ohio State.

I explained the premise of this series of posts last week, so if you want the full explanation, make with the clicky.  Long story short: it's #tbt, or Throwback Thursdays, on social media, so we're using that as an excuse to pay homage to the 2004 Iowa football season, one of the most wildly enjoyable Iowa seasons in memory.  This week brings us to the Iowa-Ohio State game; get those arms warmed up.  There's some windmillin' to be done...

Big hat-tip to The Hawkeye Historian for uploading this video.

0:00 -- Hindsight tells us  that this was not a vintage Ohio State team; in fact, it was the worst team OSU fielded during Jim Tressel's tenure there.  They ended up going just 8-4 (after a bowl win) and only 4-4 in league play.  At the time, though, they were still The Ohio State.  The fact that they had posted unimpressive wins over Marshall (24-21) and NC State (22-14) wasn't overly alarming; we were only two years removed from the "Luckeyes" national championship-winning squad, after all.  The back-to-back losses OSU had posted (at Northwestern and at home against Wisconsin) were more alarming, but still: Ohio State.  They can always be counted on to strike down Iowa's joy.  At the time, we also didn't know quite what to make of this Iowa squad, either; they were fresh off a bye and the beatdown of Michigan State the week before that, but the memory of the debacle in the desert against Arizona State was still fresh, too.

0:37 -- "young quarterback Justin Zwick"  The Justin Zwick Era at Ohio State was neither long nor celebrated.  In fact, between his injury and general ineffective play prior to the injury, this game hastened the end of the Zwick Era and kicked off the Troy Smith Era.  That change didn't pay dividends in this game, but it certainly did over the next two seasons.  So you're welcome for that, Buckeyes.

1:54 -- Oh goddammit.

Buckeye fan club

2:10 -- Just another example of Tate being Tate: dancing in the pocket, evading defenders, always looking for a man open downfield.

2:30 -- Tate to Solomon, touchdown.  That was a fun connection in 2004 and 2005.  I think we'll be seeing a bit more of them in this series.

3:10 -- Schlicher the kicker!  He had the daunting job of replacing Nate Kaeding, one of Iowa's best -- and most beloved -- kickers and he did... pretty alright, actually.  Schlicher made 21/26 field goals (80.8%) in 2004, which was a boon to a team that played as many close games as Iowa that year.  He was shaky from deep -- 3/7 on kicks over 40 yards -- and weirdly missed or had blocked three extra points, but he made some key kicks for Iowa during the season.

3:45 -- Ten years ago, before "fat cats," and Citi Boyz, Inc., Rhabdo-gate, and a few dozen maddening losses, Kirk Ferentz's hair sure had a lot more color in it.

5:15 -- You can call it "The season of the lost tailback," if you want, Lynn Swann, but here at BHGP we know 2004 by another name: The Rise of AIRBHG.

7:15 -- Derrick Robinson was something of a forgotten man on the 2004 defensive line.  That's understandable when you're playing alongside colorful personalities and playmakers like Matt Roth and Jonathan Babineaux, but Robinson was a very able fourth man on the line: 47 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries.

7:40 -- Ah, Scott Chandler, such an ungainly-looking colt of a man back then.  This was Chandler's second year at Iowa and he was still very much in the midst of transforming from a long, lanky wide receiver into a towering and solidly built tight end.  He'd get there eventually, but in 2004, he was one tall drink of water who moved a bit awkwardly.

9:11 -- Matt Roth, just blowing shit up and knocking down quarterbacks.

9:30 -- Matt Roth on offensive linemen: "Fat, lazy, disgusting... but I respect 'em.  And, uh, great holders."  Outside of maybe Pat Angerer, I don't think there's been more a quotable Iowa player during the Ferentz Era.

9:47 -- Game, blouses.

9:50 -- Beating Ohio State is one thing (and a thing that does not happen very often for Iowa).  Blowing them off the field, though?  Hot damn, that's really amazing.

9:56 -- WE HAVE WINDMILLING.  REPEAT: WE HAVE WINDMILLING.

tate windmill 2.0

2004 is full of a lot of great moments (most of which are coming up later in this series), but... this one still ranks near the top when I think back on the 2004 season.

11:41 -- I've watched this a few times and I'm still not sure how Tate scored a touchdown here.  He just seems to sort of teleport between two defenders.

12:25 -- This was quite a big day for Derrick Robinson, actually.

13:16 -- I really wanted to keep the shutout in this game.  33-7 is definitely great and all, but 33-0 would have one of those scores that would have been instantly memorable for years.  Alas.

Still, this was the game that started to convince me there might be something pretty special about this Iowa team.  This may not have been a particularly great Ohio State team, but wins over Ohio State don't come along often for Iowa and utterly comprehensive wins come along even less often, so... But more than beating Ohio State was the way Iowa did it: with a swarming, aggressive defense that shut down running games and forced turnovers and an offense that relied heavily on a sophomore signal-caller who had a little bit of magic in him.  That started to seem like it could be a winnable formula after all...