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THROWBACK THURSDAY: IOWA VS PURDUE (2004)

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It's still Thursday in a few time zones.

I explained the premise of this series of posts a few weeks ago, but basically: 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-Purdue game, another wacky game from a season full of 'em.

Thanks, as usual, to The Hawkeye Historian for uploading this video.

0:00 -- We remember 2004 as the year of Iowa's magical mystery run to a Big Ten title... but that year was supposed to the The Year of the Boilermaker.  Purdue, behind senior quarterback Kyle Orton, had the early season hype; in fact they'd risen all the way to #5 in the polls and were hosting College Gameday for an epic primetime clash with #12 Wisconsin.  And then... this happened.  Purdue's season flipped around on that play just like Kyle Orton.  Purdue lost that game -- and their next two games entering the Iowa game (by a combined total of 8 points; in fact, Purdue's five losses that season came by a combined total of 14 points).

0:19 -- Ah, the glory days of the home winning streak.  From the 2002 Iowa State game until the 2005 Michigan game, Iowa didn't lose a single game played at Legendary Historic Kinnick Stadium.  Those were good times and Kinnick was one hell of a place to watch a game.

0:33 -- Kyle Orton didn't play in this game, having sustained an injury a few weeks earlier.  Orton, an Altoona, IA native who famously wasn't recruited very hard by Iowa (in part because Orton was something of a late bloomer, recruiting-wise) never really got a chance to strut his stuff in his home state.  Injuries took him out of the 2002 Iowa-Purdue game and kept him out of this game altogether.  He did get a win over Iowa in West Lafayette in 2003, though.

1:00 -- Your regular reminder that Drew Tate could be an absolute escape artist in the pocket.

2:14 -- Hooray blocked kicks!  Iowa's kick-blocking prowess in 2004 was downright otherworldly.

2:50 -- And now a muffed punt by Purdue!  The 2002 Iowa-Purdue game featured no small amount of special teams insanity (Iowa scored points off a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point), but 2004 was no slouch in the special teams insanity department, either.  SPOILER ALERT: this wasn't the last blocked kick in this game.  There was just something in the water when Purdue came to Iowa City in the early '00s.

3:05 -- Key to that muffed punt recovery was special teams gunner Charles Godfrey.  Two years later Godfrey would emerge as a standout cornerback for Iowa and kick off a long streak of Iowa cornerbacks getting selected in the NFL Draft.  Phil Parker: good at his job.

3:38 -- Excuse me, Brandon Kirsch, I believe you forgot the football.  Iowa's defense sacked Kirsch six times (and hit him many more times) and forced five turnovers.  It's absolutely mind-boggling that this game wasn't a massive Iowa rout.

4:29 -- Two things standout about this play.  One, it's yet another example of peak Drew Tate: his tremendous escapability in the pocket, his knack for extending plays, and his ability to always, always be looking downfield for an open receiver. Just marvelous.  When you consider how much success Iowa had with quarterbacks who were mobile (or at least possessed of some magic feet in the pocket), it's even more puzzling that Iowa has mostly opted for a succession of pocket passers at quarterback over the last decade.  Second, Tony Jackson!  It's a shame he wasn't a little bit better than he was because he had a name made for fun nicknames.  My friends and I were always partial to Play-Action Jackson!, but Touchdown Tony Jackson would have been pretty good, too.

4:40 -- "Drew Tate is magical."  Yes.  Yes, he was.

4:45 -- A reminder: Iowa was up 17-0 in this game after the first quarter.

5:05 -- HERE COMES THE RALLY.  (Sadly, this statement is not sarcastic.)

7:10 -- Who says Norm didn't blitz?  (Well, OK, he didn't blitz a lot.)  Iowa actually blitzed Ed Miles and Antwan Allen from the edges on this play.  Easy Eddie Miles feels like one of the forgotten linebackers of the Ferentz Era, mainly because he had the slight misfortune of playing alongside Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge, two linebackers who were a) very good and b) utterly beloved by Iowa fans.  It didn't help that Miles played the least flashy linebacker position as well.  Miles represented a big recruiting win for Ferentz (he was a 4* recruit out of Pennsylvania Florida) and even if he was never a superstar on the field, he was a very solid piece of some very good Iowa defenses.

7:23 -- The SPOILER WARNING didn't lie: more blocked kicks!

8:24 -- The fourth quarter began with Iowa clinging to a 17-14 lead.  A reminder: Iowa led this game 17-0 after the first quarter.

8:30 -- What. A. Play.  Tate eludes a blitzer, then uncorks a beautiful downfield throw with perfect touch on it to Scott Chandler and hits him in stride.  Given the time (the fourth quarter) and circumstances (third and long in a game that was edging Purdue's way), that was a very play.  Scott Chandler had himself one hell of a performance in this game -- 4 receptions for 122 yards.

9:08 -- Special teams, special teams, special freaking teams.  This game absolutely pivoted on special teams plays -- for both teams.  Schlicher made three field goals for Iowa -- but he also missed a pair of field goals and had another one blocked.  Meanwhile, Iowa managed to block a pair of Purdue field goals, which ended up being rather huge, considering that Iowa won by just three points.  What a crazy, crazy, crazy game.

9:50 -- ARMPUNT!  Thank you, sir, Antwan Allen will be happy to field that for you.

11:00 -- George Lewis intercecption!  Seriously, how is this game not on ice yet?  Lewis, like Miles, never got as much love as Iowa's two star linebackers (and, to be fair, he also wasn't quite as good, either), but he made some big plays for Iowa and ably filled the "other" linebacker spot for those Iowa defenses.

12:10 -- WHAT IS GOING ON HERE.  Another missed field goal.  Well, a blocked field goal, actually, but still.  Field goal kicking was an absolute adventure in this game.

12:40 -- What do you know, a wide receiver scoring a touchdown on an Iowa linebacker in coverage.  Some things never change.  That said, Greenway's coverage wasn't too bad here -- sometimes wide receivers just make plays, especially when they're as good as Taylor Stubblefield.  Stubblefield looked like he'd entered a "catch everything thrown his way" cheat code before this game, too: he had 15 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown.  That ain't fair.

12:45 -- ONSIDE KICK OH NOES... oh never mind Ed Hinkel's gonna field it no problem.  Whew.