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|Iowa Hawkeyes football|
|Athletic director||Gary Barta|
|Head coach||Kirk Ferentz |
21st season, 162–104 (.609)
|Field surface||Field Turf|
|Location||Iowa City, Iowa|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|Past conferences||WIUFA (1892–1896)|
|All-time record||661–561–39 (.540)|
|Bowl record||17–15–1 (.530)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||5 (1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, 1960)|
|Conference titles||13 (11 Big Ten, 1 MVIAA, 1 WIUFA)|
|Division titles||1 (2015)|
|Rivalries||Iowa State (rivalry)|
Nile Kinnick (1939)
|Consensus All-Americans||28 |
|Colors||Black and Gold|
|Fight song||Iowa Fight Song|
|Mascot||Herky the Hawk|
|Marching band||Hawkeye Marching Band|
The Iowa Hawkeyes football program represents the University of Iowa in college football. The Hawkeyes compete in the West division of the Big Ten Conference. Iowa joined the Conference (then known as the Western Conference or Big Nine) in 1899 and played their first Conference football season in 1900. They are currently a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) member of the NCAA. The Hawkeyes play their home games in Iowa City, Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, with a capacity of 69,250. The Hawkeyes are currently coached by Kirk Ferentz, who is in his 21st season as the head coach and is the longest current tenured head coach in NCAA Division I FBS.
Football was first played as a club sport at Iowa in 1872, with intramural games against other colleges played as early as 1882, but it was not until 1889 that the University of Iowa first officially recognized a varsity football team. Beginning in 1892, Iowa played for six seasons as a member of the Western Interstate University Football Association against three other Midwestern flagship state universities. In 1899, again playing as an independent, Iowa completed its first undefeated football season, which led to an invitation to join the Western Conference, now known as the Big Ten Conference. In 1900, the Hawkeyes finished another undefeated season and won a share of the Western Conference title in their first year of conference play. In 1907, Iowa helped form the new Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association with the other three university members of the former WIUFA and participated in football in the new league, while retaining its existing membership in the Western Conference. Iowa tied for the league championship in the first season of competition, but would leave the conference soon thereafter to return to sole competition in the Western Conference.
Howard Jones era and 1930s
Iowa claimed consecutive Big Ten titles in 1921 and 1922. The Hawkeyes won 20 straight games in the early 1920s under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Howard Jones. Jones soon left Iowa and established a powerhouse at Southern California, and the Hawkeyes were abysmal for most of the 1930s.
1929 Big Ten suspension
Iowa was expelled from the Big Ten on May 25, 1929. The reasons were officially unstated and university president William Jessup professed not to know why the faculty committee voted to expel the university. Suspicions of player compensation and Iowa's inaction to address alleged ethics violations appear to have been the main cause. Following the 1929 season, the Big Ten faculty committee unanimously voted to reinstate Iowa to the conference on February 1, 1930. On December 11, 1929, Iowa had disqualified 27 players, presumably due to compensation issues, and was advised not to seek reinstatement of any of those players.
Eddie Anderson era (1939–1942, 1946–1949)
Little was expected of Iowa's 1939 team based upon its overall record in the decade, but led by their new coach Eddie Anderson the team exceeded expectations and had a glorious run. Nicknamed the “Ironmen” because a small number of players shouldered the brunt of the time played, the 1939 Hawkeyes scored several upset victories and vaulted into the national rankings. Though Iowa fell a game short of winning the Big Ten title, team MVP Nile Kinnick won almost every major national award, including the 1939 Heisman Trophy.
Forest Evashevski era (1952–1960)
Forest Evashevski was hired as Iowa's head coach in 1952. He lured Calvin Jones to Iowa, where Jones became the first Hawkeye – and the first African-American – to win the Outland Trophy in 1955. From 1956 to 1960, Evashevski led Iowa to four finishes in the top five of the national rankings, three Big Ten Conference titles, two Rose Bowl victories (in 1957 and 1959), and the 1958 FWAA national championship. After the 1960 season, Evashevski left coaching to become Iowa's athletic director.
The Forgotten Season
In 1960 the Hawkeyes held on to the #1 ranking for much of the season. The Hawkeyes defeated #8 Ohio State, #15 Michigan State, and #10 Purdue. Iowa lost to rival #3 Minnesota. The game was the only loss of the year for the 1960 Hawkeyes and they shared the Big Ten title with Minnesota. However, at that time, the Big Ten did not allow their teams to go to any bowl except for the Rose Bowl. As such, Minnesota was picked over Iowa to go to Pasadena and Iowa was left out, despite a #2 ranking in the Coaches' Poll and a #3 ranking in the AP. Minnesota went on to win the National Championship, as the final AP poll was conducted before their Rose Bowl loss to Washington. This season is known as the "Forgotten Season", for despite ending the season with a #2/3 ranking and a share of the Big Ten title, the Hawks were left out of January play.
1960s and 70s
Evashevski's departure from the sidelines began a two-decade downturn in Iowa's fortunes. Jerry Burns coached from 1961 though 1965. He had a 16–27–2 record. His first team finished 5–4, which would be Iowa's last winning record for 20 years. Ray Nagel followed from 1966–1970 with a 16–32–2 record. Consecutive 5–5 records in 1968 and 1969 would be the Hawks' only non-losing records from 1961 to 1980. Frank Lauterbur followed, coaching from 1971–1973 with a 4–28–1 record, with a 0–11 record in 1973. Bob Commings coached the Hawkeyes from 1974–1978. His record was 18 wins and 37 losses.
Hayden Fry era (1979–1998)
Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry was hired after the 1978 season to reverse Iowa's fortunes. Considering the awful state of the program upon his arrival, Fry didn't take long to return the Hawkeyes to respectability. In his third year, Fry led the Hawkeyes to their first winning season in 21 years, a share of the Big Ten title, and a berth in the Rose Bowl–only the third bowl appearance in school history. He had vowed to resign if he didn't get the Hawkeyes to a bowl within four years.
Fry would go on to lead the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten titles (one outright, two shared) and 14 bowl games (including two more Rose Bowls in 1986 and 1991). His best team was the 1985 unit, which won a then school-record 10 games and garnered Iowa's first outright Big Ten title in 27 years. That team spent most of October ranked #1 in both major polls, the highest they had been ranked that far into the season in two decades. Among the legacies that Fry left behind is the now iconic Tiger Hawk logo and a widely reviled pink visitors locker room (better to “calm” the opponents). Fry retired in 1998, turning the program over to his former assistant Kirk Ferentz.
Kirk Ferentz era (1999–present)
Ferentz led Iowa to three consecutive top-10 finishes from 2002 to 2004 and two Big Ten titles. The Hawkeyes have played in 17 bowl games in the past 19 seasons, and in 31 bowl games over the last 39 seasons. Kirk Ferentz has been the head coach since Hayden Fry's retirement after the 1998 season, and has led the team to a number of Bowl appearances, including two Orange Bowls (2003, 2010) and the 2016 Rose Bowl. Iowa has cracked the Top 25 at the end of the season eight times during the Kirk Ferentz era – No. 8 in 2002, 2003, and 2004, No. 20 in 2008, No. 7 in 2009, No. 9 in 2015, No. 25 in 2018, and No. 15 in 2019. Through 2019, Iowa has won at least eight games in the last five seasons, and has won three consecutive bowl games.
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- Independent (1889–1891)
- Western Interstate University Football Association (1892–1897)
- Independent (1898–1899)
- Big Ten Conference (1900–present)
- Western Conference (1900–1952)
- Big Ten Conference (1953–present)
- Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1907-1911, concurrent with Western Conference membership)
Iowa has been selected national champion in 1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, and 1960 by NCAA-designated major selectors. All of these championships are recognized by the NCAA.:111, 113 Iowa claims all five championships.
Iowa finished the 1958 regular season ranked #2 in the AP and Coaches Polls, behind 11–0 LSU, although both votes were taken before the bowl games. Iowa convincingly won the 1959 Rose Bowl, 38–12, setting or tying six Rose Bowl records. The Football Writers Association of America gave their national championship trophy, the Grantland Rice Trophy, to Iowa.
|1921||Howard Jones||Billingsley, Parke Davis||7–0|
|1956||Forest Evashevski||Football Research||9–1|
|1958||Forest Evashevski||Football Writers||8–1–1|
|1960||Forest Evashevski||Berryman, Boand, Litkenhous, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)||8–1|
Iowa has won 13 conference championships in school history, eight shared and five outright, winning 11 with the Big Ten or its predecessors the Big Nine or Western Conference, and one with the WIUFA.
|Season||Coach||Conference||Conference Record||Overall Record|
|1896||Alfred E. Bull||Western Interstate University Football Association||3–0–1||7–1–1|
|1900†||Alden Knipe||Big Ten Conference||2–0–1||7–0–1|
|1907†||Mark Catlin, Sr.||Big Ten Conference||1–0||3–2|
|1921||Howard Jones||Big Ten Conference||5–0||7–0|
|1922†||Howard Jones||Big Ten Conference||5–0||7–0|
|1956||Forest Evashevski||Big Ten Conference||5–1||9–1|
|1958||Forest Evashevski||Big Ten Conference||5–1||8–1–1|
|1960†||Forest Evashevski||Big Ten Conference||5–1||8–1|
|1981†||Hayden Fry||Big Ten Conference||6–2||8–4|
|1985||Hayden Fry||Big Ten Conference||7–1||10–2|
|1990†||Hayden Fry||Big Ten Conference||6–2||8–4|
|2002†||Kirk Ferentz||Big Ten Conference||8–0||11–2|
|2004†||Kirk Ferentz||Big Ten Conference||7–1||10–2|
Iowa has one Big Ten division championship.
|2015||Big Ten – West||Michigan State||L 13–16|
Iowa has appeared in 33 bowl games, including 31 bowl games since 1981. In bowl games, Iowa has a 17–15–1 record.
|Alfred E. Bull (1896)||1||9||7||1||1||.833|
|John Chalmers (1903–1905)||3||32||24||8||0||.750|
|Howard Jones (1916–1923)||8||60||42||17||1||.708|
|Alden Knipe (1899–1902)||5||44||29||11||4||.705|
|Forest Evashevski (1952–1960)||9||83||52||27||4||.651|
|Hayden Fry (1979–1998)||20||238||143||89||6||.613|
|Kirk Ferentz (1999–present)||21||266||162||104||0||.609|
|Edward A. Dalton (1892)||1||6||3||2||1||.583|
|Jesse Hawley (1910–1915)||6||42||24||18||0||.571|
|Burt Ingwersen (1924–1931)||8||64||33||27||4||.547|
|Eddie Anderson ^ (1939–1949)||8||70||35||33||2||.514|
|Roger Sherman (1894)||1||9||4||4||1||.500|
|Otto Wagonhurst (1897)||1||8||4||4||0||.500|
|Ben "Sport" Donnelly (1893)||1||7||3||4||0||.429|
|Oscar "Ossie" Solem (1932–1936)||5||40||15||21||4||.425|
|Mark Catlin (1906–1908)||3||17||7||10||0||.412|
|Jerry Burns (1961–1965)||5||45||16||27||2||.378|
|Leonard Raffensperger (1950–1951)||2||18||5||10||3||.361|
|John Griffith (1909)||1||7||2||4||1||.357|
|Ray Nagel (1966–1970)||5||49||16||32||1||.337|
|Bob Commings (1974–1978)||5||55||18||37||0||.327|
|Clem Crowe (1945)||1||9||2||7||0||.222|
|Irl Tubbs (1937–1938)||2||16||2||13||1||.156|
|Edward "Slip" Madigan (1943–1944)||2||16||2||13||1||.156|
|Frank Lauterbur (1971–1973)||3||33||4||28||1||.136|
^ Eddie Anderson did not coach during the 1943–1945 seasons to serve in World War II.
–Iowa did not hire their first head coach until 1892, even though their football program began in 1889. They have had 25 total head coaches in their program's history.
Iowa plays Iowa State annually for the Cy-Hawk Trophy, which began in 1977. The teams' first meeting was in 1894. The teams quit meeting after the 1934 season until they renewed their rivalry in 1977. It was in 1977 when the tradition of the Cy-Hawk Trophy began, when the Des Moines Athletic Club donated a trophy dedicated to the rivalry. It was quickly dubbed the "Cy-Hawk Trophy". Iowa also leads the trophy series 29–14. Iowa leads the overall series 45–22 through the 2019 season.
Iowa plays Minnesota annually for the Floyd of Rosedale, which is Iowa's oldest trophy game that began in 1935. The teams' first meeting was in 1891. Floyd of Rosedale was created in 1935 after Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson bet a prize pig that the Gophers would win the game, a goal which the Gophers would accomplish that year. After the death of the pig, its image was cast in bronze, and the Floyd of Rosedale trophy was created. Minnesota leads the trophy series 42–41–2 and leads the overall series 62–49–2 through the 2019 season.
Iowa plays Nebraska annually for the Heroes Trophy, which began when Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference in 2011. Since the inauguration of the series as a conference game, the game has been played on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Iowa leads the trophy series 6–3, while Nebraska leads the overall series 29–18–3 through the 2019 season.
Iowa has played Wisconsin for the Heartland Trophy since 2004. The teams' first meeting was in 1894. Wisconsin leads the trophy series at 9–5 and the overall series 48–43–2 through the 2019 season.
Logos and uniforms
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Iowa's home jersey is black with white numerals, with gold and white stripes on the sleeves. The away jersey is white with black numerals, and gold stripes on the sleeves. Players' names are located above the numerals on the back of the jersey. Gold pants with a black stripe are worn with both the home and away jersey. Iowa's helmets are black with a black facemask. They also have a gold stripe and the gold Iowa Hawkeye logo included on both sides of the helmet.
In 1979, Hayden Fry helped to create the Tiger Hawk, the logo seen on Iowa's football helmets. Since both teams shared the colors of black and yellow gold, Fry sought and gained permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the dominant National Football League (NFL) team of the 1970s, to overhaul Iowa's uniforms in the Steelers’ image. Fry's idea was that if the team were going to act like winners, they first needed to dress like winners. Fry had originally asked Steelers defensive tackle "Mean" Joe Greene for a replica helmet and home jersey; Greene was able to send Fry to one of the team owners, and three days later, the owners sent Fry reproduction copies of the home and away uniform of Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, making Iowa one of only a few schools to use the uniform scheme of an NFL team; others include the Blue Devils of Duke University whose football uniforms resemble those of the Indianapolis Colts. Although the uniforms appear substantially the same, there are subtle differences, mainly in the font of the numerals, the scheme of the white away jerseys, and the width of the pants and jersey stripes.
The Hawkeyes have removed the Tiger Hawk helmet logo and the single yellow gold stripe from their game helmets on several occasions as a symbolic gesture of mourning. The first instance was on November 2, 1991, in recognition of the six victims of a fatal campus shooting. The second occasion was for a December 29, 1996, appearance in the Alamo Bowl. It served to commemorate the family of linebacker Mark Mitchell, who were involved in a fatal vehicle accident while en route to the game. The accident resulted in the death of Mitchell's mother and severe injuries to his father and two brothers. Third came on Veterans' Day 2011 when they used a red, white, and blue tiger hawk on one side and left the other side blank in honor of our fallen heroes against Michigan. All three games resulted in Iowa victories. Fourth was September 12, 2015 when they honored #9 Tyler Sash, former Iowa Safety and NFL Veteran, who had died on September 8, 2015. During this removal of the helmet logo, only one side was removed, while the other had a large #9 placed, honoring the jersey number Sash wore while he played at Iowa. Most recently, the Tiger Hawk was removed for a fifth time during the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, California on December 27, 2019 to honor the passing of Coach Hayden Fry.
The Iowa Athletic Director has okayed only six stickers on the helmets from 1985 to the present. The first was in 1985, when a gold disk appeared, with the black letters "ANF," which stands for America Needs Farmers. This sticker had remained in place until 1992 when the NCAA made teams remove ‘excessive’ decals. However it was brought back by head coach Kirk Ferentz in 2011 and has remained in place ever since. The second was a small black sticker on the back of the helmet, with white letters that spelled out "EVY," the nickname of legendary Iowa head coach, and Athletic Director, Forest Evasheski, to commemorate his death in 2009. The third was in memory of Iowa high school football coaching legend Ed Thomas, who was killed in his team's weight room by a former player. A small gold sticker with the black letters "FFF" placed near the crown of the helmet represents Faith, Family, Football, a motto Coach Thomas preached to his players to represent what his players' priorities should be not only through the season, but throughout life. The fourth was a small green sticker, with the number 30 on it to honor former Hawkeye Safety Brett Greenwood, who had recently fallen into a coma while working out at his old high school. Fifth was a small black sticker with a gold "TS", worn on the back of the helmet to commemorate the death of former Hawkeye safety Tyler Sash. Then on October 9, 2016, former Polk County deputy sheriff Ron Stewart died at the age of 76. Stewart volunteered his time providing security for the Iowa Football team at home and road games from 1982 to 2014. For the remainder of the season, the Hawkeyes wore a decal on the back of their helmets bearing his initials "RS" within a sheriff's badge in his memory.
Kinnick Stadium, formerly known as Iowa Stadium, is the home stadium of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City, Iowa. It opened as Iowa Stadium in 1929; prior to that time, Iowa played its home games at Iowa Field. Iowa Stadium was renamed Kinnick Stadium in 1972 in honor of Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner and the only Heisman winner in university history, who died in service during World War II. It currently holds 69,250 people, making it the 25th largest college football stadium in America and the 82nd largest sports stadium in the world.
Notable games and seasons
1953: #20 Iowa vs #1 Notre Dame
On Nov. 21, 1953, an undefeated #1 ranked Notre Dame team was set to face the Hawkeyes in South Bend. In the first quarter, Iowa defensive back Dusty Rice intercepted the Irish, which allowed the Hawkeyes to drive the ball 72 yards for an Iowa touchdown and a 7–0 lead. With only 2 seconds left in the first half, Irish tackle Frank Varrichione fell down with an injury which stopped the clock (Notre Dame had no time outs left). Varrichione went in that same play and the Irish scored on a touchdown pass to Dan Shannon, to tie the game 7–7 at the half. With the score still deadlocked late into the fourth quarter, Iowa intercepted a pass on their own 48-yard line. The Hawkeyes then scored on a touchdown pass to end Frank Gilliam to give the Hawkeyes a 14–7 lead with 2:06 left in the game, with Notre Dame having no time outs remaining. With only 6 seconds left and the clock ticking away Frank Varrichione came down with another injury which stopped the clock (again he went back in that very same play). Notre Dame then scored a touchdown to tie the game up and stay unbeaten. After the game, sportswriters such as Grantland Rice and others were infuriated calling it unfair, and the Irish earned the label: "The Fainting Irish of Notre Dame". Iowa head coach Forest Evashevski said after the game: "When the One Great Scorer comes to write against our name, He won't write whether we won or lost, but how come we got gypped at Notre Dame". The Hawkeyes, who were ranked #20 before the game, jumped teams with better records to gain the #9 ranking. Varrichione has since admitted that the injuries were fake, in Steve Delsohn's book, Talking Irish: The Oral History Of Notre Dame Football. In addition, Notre Dame Heisman winner Johnny Lattner praised his team's tactics calling it "Pretty smart thinking, wasn't it?". Because of this game, the NCAA changed the rules making players sit out at least one down before returning to the game.
1956: #6 Ohio State at #7 Iowa
On November 17, Iowa (ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll) defeated Ohio State (ranked No. 6), 6–0, before a crowd of 57,732 at Iowa Stadium. Ohio State went into the game with the second best rushing attack in the country but were held to 147 rushing yards, their lowest rushing yardage total in two years. The result broke Ohio State's winning streak of 17 games against conference opponents and clinched for Iowa the conference championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl. After time expired, Iowa fans hauled down the goal posts and paraded through Iowa City.
1957 Rose Bowl: #3 Iowa vs. #10 Oregon State
Aided by three rushing touchdowns, the Big Ten Champion Iowa Hawkeyes got off to a 21–6 start at the half. After the half, Iowa scored two more touchdowns and beat Oregon State 35–19. With the victory, Iowa won their first Rose Bowl Game in program history. Quarterback Ken Ploen was the game's MVP ending the game with one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown.
1959 Rose Bowl: #2 Iowa vs. #16 California
With their win in the Rose Bowl in 1959, the Iowa Hawkeyes won their first, and only, National Championship. However, although Iowa won the Grantland Rice Trophy as awarded by the Football Writers Association of America following the Bowl games, LSU was voted #1 in both major polls, the AP and Coaches polls, which were tallied before the Bowl games were played.
This game was lopsided and by the end of the third quarter, with a 22–6 advantage over the California Golden Bears, Iowa could smell victory. The championship, however, is disputed. The AP, whose poll came out before the bowl games, had picked LSU as their National Champion. Many believe that the Iowa Hawkeyes rightfully hold the 1958 National Championship.
1981: #7 Nebraska at Iowa
Official recap—There weren't many among the 60,160 who jammed Iowa's Kinnick Stadium who thought they were watching a matchup of the eventual Midwest entries in the Rose and Orange Bowls. There probably weren't a whole lot more who thought Iowa would avenge a 57–0 slaughter the Hawkeyes had suffered in Lincoln the year before. However, Iowa took advantage of excellent field position to jump to a 10–0 first-half lead, then held on to win a 10–7 stunner over the seventh-ranked Huskers.
The Hawkeye defense held the Huskers to their lowest total offense output of the season—234 yards—and stopped the Nebraska offense three straight times in Iowa territory after Roger Craig's one-yard TD had pulled the Huskers within 10–7 early in the final period. NU was stymied in the fourth quarter by a missed 30-yard field goal, a fumble, and Lou King's diving interception, which secured Iowa's victory with 39 seconds remaining.
In the first half, the Hawkeyes capitalized on a short punt and an interception to set up a two-yard TD run by Eddie Phillips and a 35-yard field goal by Lon Olejniczak. Meanwhile, the Huskers were held scoreless through three quarters for the first time since 1973 and didn't get out of their own territory until late in the second period, partly because of Iowa punter Reggie Roby's 50-plus yard average. NU quarterbacks Mark Maurer and Nate Mason completed only 8-of-18 passes for 81 yards and rushed 12 times for minus-2 yards.
Iowa used its upset win as a launching pad to defeat such teams as UCLA, Michigan and Purdue and post its first winning season since 1961.
“At this minute, this is the greatest victory of my life," Iowa coach Hayden Fry said. "I’m getting to be an old man and I don’t want to hurt any of my other teams that pulled off some upsets. But while I’ve been at Iowa, this is far and away the greatest victory.
“If you stay with this game long enough, the worm is bound to turn. Don’t think we didn’t earn this one, either. We did it fair and square, plus we showed a lot of character.” 
1985: #2 Michigan at #1 Iowa
The Hawkeyes trailed 10–9 late in the fourth quarter, in what may be considered the greatest game ever played at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa got the ball, with 5:27 left, on their own 22-yard line. Led by their All-American Quarterback, Chuck Long, Iowa drove the ball to the Michigan 12-yard line. As the clock expired, kicker Rob Houghtlin sent one through the uprights, to give Iowa the win. The Hawkeyes would go on to accept an invitation to the 1986 Rose Bowl.
2005 Capital One Bowl: #11 Iowa vs. #12 LSU ("The Catch")
The game has gone down in Hawkeye history known simply as "The Catch". Iowa was set to play the defending National Champion LSU Tigers. Despite leading the entire game, Iowa found itself down 24–25 and got the ball with only 46 seconds left on the clock. With only a few seconds left in the game, Iowa found itself on their own 44-yard line facing a 2nd and 6. Iowa Quarterback Drew Tate threw the ball 56 yards to Warren Holloway for an Iowa touchdown that gave the Hawkeyes a 30–25 victory over Nick Saban's defending champion Tigers. The touchdown was Holloway's first and only career touchdown.
2008: #3 Penn State at Iowa
The undefeated Penn State Nittany Lions came into the game ranked #3 in the country with hopes of a BCS national championship. The Hawkeyes, on the other hand, were 5–4 and coming off a tough loss at Illinois. The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead following a Penn State fumble on their first drive, but the Nittany Lions would come back to take a 13–7 lead into halftime. With less than four minutes left in the game, and trailing 23–21, Iowa strong safety Tyler Sash intercepted Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark's pass inside Iowa territory. The Hawkeyes drove to within field goal range where kicker Daniel Murray made a 31-yard field goal with :01 left to play. Iowa would go on to win 24–23 and hand Penn State its only regular season loss of the year. The Hawkeyes would go on to beat South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The win would be the first in a 13-game winning streak for Iowa stretching into the 2009 season.
2010 Orange Bowl: #9 Georgia Tech vs. #10 Iowa
The game pitted the ACC Champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against #10 Iowa. On Iowa's second drive of the game, quarterback Ricky Stanzi drove the Hawkeyes 80 yards, culminating in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt, putting Iowa on top 7–0. Iowa scored another touchdown on their next drive, following a Georgia Tech punt, with Stanzi hitting Colin Sandeman for 21 yards, extending the Hawkeyes lead to 14–0. On the ensuing drive, GT punted for the third time in a row. On Iowa's next drive, Stanzi was intercepted by Jerrard Tarrant who returned the pick for a touchdown, cutting Iowa's lead to 14–7. Georgia Tech received the ball at the start of the second half. Iowa took over on downs after Georgia Tech missed a 41-yard field goal. On Iowa's next drive, they extended their lead by three thanks to a 33-yard field goal from kicker Daniel Murray. At the start of the 4th Quarter, Iowa had a 17–7 lead. This lead was cut when Georgia Tech drove down the field for its first and only offensive touchdown of the game. The touchdown cut Iowa's lead to 17–14. However, Iowa running back Brandon Wegher sealed the win for the Hawkeyes with his 32-yard rushing touchdown late in the 4th Quarter. Iowa beat Georgia Tech by a final score of 24–14.
The win marked the first ever BCS Bowl win for the Iowa program (Iowa had won two Rose Bowls prior to the formation of the BCS). The win also marked Iowa's first ever Orange Bowl victory. Iowa is one of only five Big Ten teams to compete in and win an Orange Bowl.
2016: #2 Michigan at Iowa
Iowa entered this matchup against the 9–0 Wolverines with a 5–4 record, a letdown given the high expectations entering the season. Michigan arrived in Iowa City with the #1 scoring defense and the #3 scoring offense in the country. A week after being humbled 41–14 at Penn State, in the midst of a three-game home losing streak, and after trailing 10–0 in the second quarter of this game, the Hawkeyes put forth a gritty, spirited effort. Freshman Keith Duncan drilled a 33-yard field goal as time expired to deliver Iowa a much needed win. Akrum Wadley was the offensive standout for the Hawkeyes with 115 yards rushing, and another 52 yards receiving that included a touchdown late in the first half. The Hawkeye defense did their part as well, allowing only 201 total yards and scoring a safety in the 14–13 win.
With Clemson and Washington both losing, this marked only the second time #2, #3, and #4 fell during the same day in the regular-season. The other time was October 19, 1985, and one of the games that day was #1 Iowa's 12–10 win over #2 Michigan.
2017: #3 Ohio State at Iowa
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Iowa entered this matchup against the 7–1 Buckeyes with a 5–3 record. At kickoff, the Buckeyes were ranked #6 in the nation and although the game was being played at Iowa's Kinnick Stadium, Ohio State was a 21-point favorite to win. Early on, it was an even contest as the teams traded scores on their way to a 17–17 midway through the second quarter. However, in the last 3 minutes of the first half, Iowa TE Noah Fant was on the receiving end of two Nate Stanley TD passes, sending Iowa into the locker room with a 31–17 lead. The second half belonged to the Hawkeyes as they sliced through the Ohio State defense on TD drives of 78, 60 and 47 yards on their way to a resounding 55–24 win. Notable performances from the game were five TD passes by Iowa QB Nathan Stanley, Iowa CB Joshua Jackson's 3 interceptions, Iowa RB Akrum Wadley rushing for 118 yards on 20 carries (5.9) and Ohio State QB J. T. Barrett throwing four INT's along with three TD's. On the day Iowa racked up a total of 487 yards against an Ohio State defense that came into the game only allowing 302 per contest. Many pundits remarked after the season that the lop-sided loss to Iowa was the reason that Ohio State was excluded from the College Football Playoff, even though the Buckeyes had won the Big Ten championship.
2019: #4 Minnesota at #20 Iowa
The Hawkeyes entered this game following a close road loss (22–24) at Wisconsin. Minnesota, on the other hand, was coming in with an undefeated 9–0 record and just off a home win against then-undefeated Penn State.
However, the Gophers' undefeated season would end during this match, as they fell 19–23 to the Hawkeyes, despite a late comeback rally. Iowa actually kept the Gophers outside the end zone for two quarters, forcing two Gopher field goals. At the end of the half, the Hawks were up 20–6. The Gophers would respond mightily in the second half, both on offense and defense, outscoring their opponent 13–3 through two touchdowns, one each the third and fourth quarter. They forced a turnover late in the fourth quarter with a change to win the game, but quarterback Tanner Morgan was injured, and Cole Kramer had to step in on a 4th down and 23. His hail mary was ultimately intercepted by Riley Moss, clinching the Hawkeyes' upset.
Minnesota would clinch the Big Ten West and play Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship if they won this match, even if they were to later fall to Wisconsin in the season finale, since the Badgers had two conference losses. However, this loss opened the door for Wisconsin to regain a shot at winning the West, which they were able to pull off by upsetting the Gophers on the road.
This was also the first of four straight wins for Iowa to end the season. Many pundits called them the "strongest 3-loss team in the country" prior to the game, as they lost in three road games by a total of 14 points. Since 2008, Iowa is 5–1 against AP-top 10 teams at home, their lone loss coming in 2017 to Penn State on a touchdown pass as the clock expired.
Iowa's official fight song is the "Iowa Fight Song" which is sung by the marching band and the fans. Iowa's school song is "On Iowa". Iowa also plays a third fight song, entitled "Roll Along Iowa". After victories the band plays the Im Himmel gibt's kein Bier Polka, which translates to "In Heaven There is No Beer". Before the game (since 2005) the team has exited the tunnel together to "Back in Black" by AC/DC before joining hands and running onto the field in unison to "Enter Sandman" by Metallica.
Iowa's mascot is Herky the Hawk, a black and gold caricature of a Hawk. Herky was created as a cartoon in 1948, and first appeared at a sporting event in 1959. Herky was actually named after the Greek God Hercules. The term "Hawkeye" originally appeared in the 19th century historical novel The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; it was later used in its plural form to describe the people of the state of Iowa. The University of Iowa adopted this as the nickname for its athletic teams.
Hawkeye Marching Band
Founded in 1881, the Hawkeye Marching Band now performs at all Iowa Hawkeye home football games. The band also travels with the team to usually one away game per year and any post-season bowl games.
In 2017, Hawkeyes fans created what ESPN called "college football's coolest new tradition". In February of that year, the university's children's hospital, which has long had a close relationship with the Iowa football program, opened a new 12-story building across the street from Kinnick Stadium, with the top few floors featuring an unobstructed view of the playing field. The top floor of the hospital features the Press Box Cafe, a lounge area with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the field that is reserved for patients and their families on Hawkeyes game days, with big-screen TVs available when Iowa plays on the road. Following a suggestion posted to a Hawkeyes fan page on Facebook, by Iowan Krista Young, fans now face the hospital and wave to the children and their families at the end of the first quarter of every home game. For home night games, the first of which was against Penn State on September 23, 2017, "The Wave" features fans waving with their cell phone flashlights turned on. Two weeks after the Penn State game, with the Hawkeyes at home to Illinois, the Hawkeye Marching Band joined in this new tradition, forming a hand moving side-to-side and "waving" at the children during its halftime show. The Wave was even seen in the offseason—on February 15, 2018, inspired by a suggestion from nurses at the children's hospital, the stadium's maintenance crew created a pattern of a waving hand in snow that was covering the playing field. At least one patient was reported to have seen the crew creating the design, and upon completion, the crew went into the Press Box Cafe to see their final product.
The tradition has even spread beyond the Iowa fan base. With Iowa playing at Michigan State on September 30, ESPN's College GameDay aired a six-minute feature on The Wave, followed by the feature's reporter, Tom Rinaldi, leading the crowd at the Virginia Tech campus in a wave of their own. A few hours later at the end of the first quarter of the Iowa–Michigan State game, Spartans fans joined in The Wave with visiting Iowa fans.
Disney Sports announced it would present the Iowa football program with its Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award, which annually goes to college football's most inspirational figure on November 20, 2017. The award was presented to the University of Iowa for The Wave on ESPN on December 7, 2017.
Top 25 rankings
Through the conclusion of the 2019 season, Iowa has appeared in the Associated Press poll 335 times (ranking 24th all-time) including 123 weeks in the top 10. Iowa has finished the year ranked in the final Associated Press poll of the season 24 times.
Honors and awards
Iowa has been awarded 15 NCFAA awards.
Individual award winners
Coaching award winners
Two numbers have been retired by the Hawkeye football program, Nile Kinnick's No. 24 and Cal Jones' No. 62. Both Kinnick and Jones were consensus first team All-Americans, and both men died in separate plane crashes before their 25th birthday.
Kinnick won the University of Iowa's only Heisman Trophy in 1939 and is the man for whom Kinnick Stadium is named. Jones was the first African-American to win the Outland Trophy and is the only Hawkeye to be named first-team All-American three times.
Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Iowa has 14 inductees in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Five Hawkeyes have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
|1967||Emlen Tunnell||DB||New York Giants, Green Bay Packers|
|1998||Paul Krause||S||Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins|
|2008||Andre Tippett||LB||New England Patriots|
|2020||Duke Slater||T||Milwaukee Badgers, Rock Island Independents, Chicago Cardinals|
|2020||Alex Karras||DT||Detroit Lions|