Wine Online: Sweet Smell of Success - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
Football hawkeyesports.com
Wine Online: Sweet Smell of Success
Old friends honored with big -- really big -- win by Hawkeyes
Iowa's defense came up big at crunch time Saturday.
Iowa's defense came up big at crunch time Saturday.
Football Home

HEADLINES
Media Days Indicate Camp is Near

Scherff Twitter Q-and-A Recap

Spielman Says Rudock Is Key

RELATED LINKS
Follow all of the college football action at CollegeSports.com

Email this to a friend


Sept. 18, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa's football game with Pittsburgh was nearly 44 minutes old before the Hawkeyes managed to cross the goal line, but once they got a whiff of the end zone, they couldn't get enough of the aroma. They appeared to be addicted and wanted more. And they got it - again, again and again.


Thus an offense that had only one field goal to show for its first 10 possessions scored touchdowns on its next three and helped pull off the biggest comeback in the 123-year history of Iowa football.

A game in which Iowa trailed by 21 points late in the third period and 17 points with 10 minutes to play goes in the books as a 31-27 victory over Pittsburgh. It was an inspiring win over a good intersectional opponent, and what it will mean in the long term we won't know for a couple of months. For now, all we can say is "Wow!" and enjoy the afterglow.

The transformation of Iowa's offense in the fourth quarter was something to behold. Maybe it was the no-huddle attack or maybe it was the crowd coming alive (some said the noise level was the highest they had ever heard at Kinnick). What we witnessed was offensive precision and efficiency mixed with spectacular plays.

James Vandenberg put up some unworldly numbers in Iowa's history-making rally. In the game's final 18 minutes the junior quarterback completed 17 of 20 passes for 217 yards and three TDs, and scored himself on a sneak.

Most of his pass completions went to a trio of athletic and acrobatic wide receivers - Marvin McNutt, Kennan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley. The latter made a diving catch, then a leaping catch, to score Iowa's last two touchdowns. The trio finished the day with 22 catches for 317 yards and three TDs.





Kirk Ferentz twice mentioned two players in his post-game press conference, and most Iowa fans might not recognize their names. The Iowa coach liked the way Joe Audlehelm and Tom Donatell covered kickoffs, which has been a glaring weakness. Each made a jarring tackle during Iowa's rally. Both are senior walk-ons, and for Audlehelm it was his first game as a Hawkeye.



It wasn't just the offense that found inspiration. The defense held Pitt at the goal line early in the fourth quarter -- forcing a field goal -- then it made stops on the visitor's last three possessions, the last one on an interception by Micah Hyde, his second of the day. Hyde also had nine solo tackles, James Morris had 13 total stops.

Kirk Ferentz twice mentioned two players in his post-game press conference, and most Iowa fans might not recognize their names. The Iowa coach liked the way Joe Audlehelm and Tom Donatell covered kickoffs, which has been a glaring weakness. Each made a jarring tackle during Iowa's rally. Both are senior walk-ons, and for Audlehelm it was his first game as a Hawkeye.

Sometimes there is a game that turns a season one way or another. If this is such a season, we know which way it has been turned.

OLD FRIENDS GET HIGH HONOR

Four of my long-time friends were inducted into the Kinnick Stadium Media Wall of Fame and recognized on the field before Iowa's game with Pittsburgh. They were honored for their reporting on Hawkeye football with "integrity, accuracy and fairness" over a long period of time.

They are John Campbell, sports director of KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids; Kevin Evans, retired sports editor of the Waterloo Courier; Phil Haddy, who replaced me as Iowa's sports information director; and Chuck Schoffner, sports writer for the Associated Press.

Congratulations to all four - it was my pleasure to have worked with them, and to have developed a good friendship with each. They represent a somewhat staggering total of 147 years in covering Hawkeye football. Evans and Haddy lead the way with 41 years each.

The four will join 20 members of the first class to be inducted in 2006. The Wall of Fame displays a plaque for each inductee and is located on the fourth level of the Paul W. Brecheler Press Box at Kinnick. It's a high honor to be included, both literally and figuratively.


Twitter
  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago