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How Will Hawks Rebound From Emotional Loss to Cyclones?

How Will Hawks Rebound From Emotional Loss to Cyclones?

9/16/2002 by Jon Miller of Voice of the Hawkeyes


One of my most favorite clichés says that ‘The true test of a mans character can be learned in how he gets back on his feet after adversity has knocked him down’, or something to that effect.

I imagine we have all heard that phrase before in some form.

If there is any truth to it, we are going to learn a lot about the Iowa Hawkeyes over the next several weeks.

It’s not so much that Iowa lost to Iowa State 36-31, extending the Cyclone winning streak to five games in the bitter in-state series, but how Iowa lost the game.

The Hawkeyes bullied their way to a 24-7 half time lead, executing their game plan to perfection.

The Hawkeyes ran on Iowa State like they were playing against Akron or Miami, racking up 193 yards on the ground by intermission. Iowa contained Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace and intercepted one of his passes.

Iowa played about as good a half of football as any fan could have hoped for against a quality opponent.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the post-game celebration: Iowa spit the bit.

The elation of the first half turned into a nightmare in the second half.

The Cyclones scored 23 points in less than 11 minutes and Iowa never recovered. The Hawkeyes shot themselves in the foot, turning the ball over twice deep in their own territory, continuing their disturbing trend of return game miscues.

And Wallace demoralized the Hawkeye even further, converting nearly every third down play that came about when it mattered in the fourth quarter.

Now that the dust has settled, there is still one final and very important question that needs to be answered: How long will this loss affect the Hawkeyes?

“I am not going to think about it. I know that we tried hard and they came out and beat us,” said senior defensive tackle Colin Cole.

“We had some mistakes that we shouldn’t have had. We didn’t play the way we were supposed to play, and if you don’t do that, we didn’t deserve the victory.”

Cole is right of course, but it will be easier said that done. This loss hurts, you could see it in the players eyes in the post-game interview sessions.

Cole is one of the team’s leaders and most players will look to him for strength through this difficult travail. Just what advice and example does he plan to set for his teammates?

“I have to keep bringing it up and let them know that this was the day that we had a team on the ropes and we could have knocked them out. We could have taken all the wind out of their sails and we let them back in,” said Cole, who had nine tackles against Iowa State, including three for a loss and one quarterback sack.

“I felt the momentum shift, I really did. I felt like after we stopped them on first and second down, we couldn’t stop them on third and that is heart-breaking. When they do that a couple of times on the same drive, it starts to wear down on you mentally.”

The mental strain of a loss like this can extract a more significant toll that the physical pounding that big games can deliver.

Iowa defensive end Howard Hodges suffered both, as he missed significant time in the second half after coming out of the game with an injury.

But he echoed Cole’s sentiments regarding putting this game in their collective rear-view mirror.

“Well, all I can say is that we have to just put this behind us and look towards the next game. It was a tough loss, everybody is taking it to heart, but what we have to do is learn from this and move on. We can’t go back.” Hodges said.

Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry used to say that there was a danger for each team in the series with placing too great an emphasis on just this one game. The game is very important to the fans, players and coaches alike, but it is just one game on the schedule.

During Iowa’s magical Rose Bowl run of 1981, the Hawkeyes stubbed their toe against Iowa State early in the season 23-12.

That fact added little solace to the Hawkeye players on Saturday night.

“It’s not easy, especially tonight. But come Sunday, you have to think of it this way: If you dwell on the past you are not going to be able to move forward.” Hodges said.

“It’s very important that we put this game behind us and move forward. Because if we continue to worry and cry about Iowa State, when it comes time for Utah State, we are going to lose to them and we will be crying about that game. You have to move forward each game.”

“I have played football for a long time, and that is how you cope. You just have to brush it off as soon as you can.”

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz acknowledged that the post-game locker room was full of hanging heads and heartbroken Hawkeyes.

“It was a tough locker room upstairs. We are going to have to regroup and that won’t be easy. We will have to move forward. Tomorrow (Sunday, the day after the loss) is probably not going to be a real productive day for us, but we will get back at it on Tuesday and put things back together,” said Ferentz, who is now 0-4 against Iowa State.

“The positive spin from this is that I thought the team had a great effort, they were ready to go and they competed. There is lot of football left to play this season.”

He is right about there being a lot of football left to play. Iowa stands at 2-1 after the loss and they have nine more games in succession without a bye week.

Freshman receiver Ed Hinkel was echoing the Ferentz mantra after the game, while admitting that the loss was a bitter pill to swallow.

“Our top goal coming into this season was to win every game. We still have our goal to win the Big Ten.” Hinkel said.

“That makes it a little easier to take, but this is a tough loss and we will be thinking about it, but we have to move on and worry about the rest of the teams on our schedule now.”

Iowa will get their chance to put this one behind them on Saturday when Utah State comes to Kinnick Stadium.

The Aggies feature, what else, an outstanding passer in Jose Fuentes. The Hawkeyes have given up 1,000 yards passing in their first three games, or more than a half-mile of real estate through the air.

College football provides no quarter for those who dwell and wallow in remorse and regret.

Maybe the best medicine for the heartbreak that the Hawkeyes are feeling right now is to lace the shoes back up and get on with the next task.

They have no other choice.

Voice of the HawkeyesVoice of the Hawkeyes (VOTH) was the long-time publication released 2-4 times per month, starting in 1987. It is now owned and operated by Landmark Media Enterprises, and is affiliated with the network. You can visit them at

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How Will Hawks Rebound From Emotional Loss to Cyclones? - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games