I always get excited when I am able to put Kinnick Stadium on my schedule. I know I’m going to have an incredible day. Midwestern hospitality saturates the scene, and that was especially evidenced by the “Hawks To Go” tailgate whose members invited me in and showed me why they were named winner of the Best Hawkeye Tailgate Contest. My experience involved learning the history of the tailgate, which started in 2005. I also was taken on a tour of all the Hawkeye autographs on their trailer from all the Iowa greats that visited over the years. We took a shot to christen our visit to the tune of the I-O-W-A chant and received a pin commemorating the moment. As they inject all this passion into Hawkeye gameday, they have also taken in thousands of dollars in donations for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. I felt blessed to start my gameday off in this way.
Don’t the Hawkeyes always open their seasons with great anticipation?
No different here.
Once again, Iowa has a team that can compete for the Big West title. However, that wasn’t very evident in the first half. Miami (OH) was prepared to fight against the Hawks. In the postgame press conference, Coach Ferentz admitted, “They were doing some things that made it tough. You know, a lot of guys we hadn’t seen on film and then they do some things we hadn’t seen them do on film.”
First games are always a roll of the dice.
Come third quarter, Iowa hunkered down and put up three scores in true Iowa fashion.
Grind it down the field and punish the opponent.
There was no way that Miami was going to combat the post halftime push that the Hawks put forth. Iowa closed the game 38-14. Coach Ferentz appreciated the adjustments that the coaching staff made, and it was clear that the players had responded well to their missteps in the first half. While walking back and forth aside the RedHawk bench, I noticed a lot of frustration and perhaps a realization that they were simply outmatched.
The Iowa crowd was beyond incredible. Kinnick Stadium had just completed its renovation with its crown jewel being the triple-decker north endzone that towered over the field. As usual, “The Swarm” entrance elicited a rousing cheer from the crowd, while the Iowa Wave toward the children’s hospital had fans wiping tears from their eyes.
While I work to maintain neutrality in my reporting, I was happy to see Iowa come away with a victory, so that I could witness up close the Victory Polka. So much joy poured out of the stands as the lyrics, “In Heaven There Is No Beer, That’s Why We Drink It Here” echoed throughout Kinnick.
I really felt welcomed into the Iowa family today, and that’s saying a lot coming from a Badger. You don’t have to go to all 130 stadiums like me, but if you want to experience a magical part of college football, then pay a visit to Iowa City.