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THROWBACK THURSDAY: IOWA VS ILLINOIS (2004)

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Hey, it's still barely Thursday.

Hey, look, Ron Turner is still getting paid to coach football teams.
Hey, look, Ron Turner is still getting paid to coach football teams.
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

In case you've forgotten, we're celebrating #tbt, or Throwback Thursday, each Thursday at BHGP by reflecting on the game from Iowa's 2004 season that corresponds to the current date.  Why 2004?  Because ten is a nice round number... but mostly because 2004 was a wildly entertaining year for Iowa football.  Unfortunately, this particular game was pretty much anything but "wildly entertaining."

Thanks to HawkeyeFan123 for uploading this highlight video.

Honestly, this isn't a very memorable game, so let's keep this brief.

0:17 -- Ah, a terrible Illinois coach named Ron.  No, the other one.  Zook may have been good for a few more laughs, but Turner's Illinois teams could be every bit as bad -- and maybe worse -- than Zook's bad Illinois teams.  He did take Illinois to the Sugar Bowl in 2001, but in hindsight that year seems like a bizarre fever dream.  It also makes Illinois' subsequent implosion under his watch even more remarkable.

0:20 -- One of the few memorable things about this game?  It was basically played in a wind tunnel -- there were 40 mph winds in Memorial Stadium, which made throwing the ball against the win particularly difficult (and ill-advised). Against a better opponent than Illinois, this might have been perilous for Iowa, given the state of the Iowa running game by this point (Sam Brownlee ran the ball 19 times for 50 yards in this game).

0:35 -- Forgot the ball!  Silly Illinois.

0:45 -- Your weekly reminder that the 2004 defense was comprised of ferocious hellbeasts, especially along the front seven.

0:55 -- Yeah, about that Iowa running game... there goes Aaron Mickens, suffering a nasty concussion.  Champ Davis would also suffer an injury in the game (a season-ending knee ligament tear), compounding the misery at running back.  This line from the ESPN recap of the game perfectly sums up the absurdity of the situation:

Mickens and Davis are the fifth and sixth Iowa running backs to be hurt in a game this season.

1:36 -- Did someone say "blocked kicks"?  Once again the special teams of that era comes up with a key play.  This game was actually tied 7-7 at halftime, but that blocked punt (recovered for a safety in the end zone) helped break the game open for Iowa.  The safety made it 16-7 and Iowa scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive after the free kick, opening up a 23-7 lead.  With a defense as good as the '04 unit -- and an opponent as hapless as Illinois -- that was plenty of points.

1:50 -- Ed Hinkel only had five receptions on the day, but he made the most of them, amassing 108 yards and two touchdowns on those five grabs.

2:15 -- That's Antwan Allen taking off after a precursor to Tyler Sash's famous Pinball Pick-Six, but of note is the quarterback on the other end of that interception: none other than former Iowa quarterback, Jon "The Feutjer" Beutjer.  Beutjer left Iowa after the 2002 season and transferred to Illinois; if memory serves, this game was the only opportunity Iowa had to play against him after he went to Illinois.

2:26 -- Silly Illinois.  You think Iowa doesn't know how to defend an end-around?

3:09 -- The best part of this touchdown run by Drew Tate is the fact that it's basically one long shrug.  He spends the first half of the run (or maybe we should classify it as a "trot" instead) scrambling and looking downfield for a receiver to throw to, then simply decides to walk it into the end zone himself when he sees that Illinois has left an enormous corner of the end zone completely unguarded.  Great job, Illinois defense.  Just some bang-up work on that play.

3:18 -- Silly Illinois.  That's how you run an effective end-around.

3:38 -- We really saw those two Ed Hinkel touchdown catches a lot in this video.  Not complaining, mind you.