No Hawk Fans, Last Night Was Not a Dream [PHOTOS] [VIDEO]
It was a night that opened with an emotion-filled entrance from a former player and ended with total jubilation, led by a kicker with a lightning bolt for a leg. Both the beginning and end featured young men from the state of Iowa. It was one incredible night in Iowa City.
I predicted in this same spot earlier in the week that Saturday night's entrance at Kinnick Stadium would be an emotional one with the return of Bettendorf, Iowa's Brett Greenwood. However, it would have been impossible to prepare for just how emotional it was. The team's trademark swarm followed Brett onto the field, undoubtedly signifying we're all behind you. I've yet to talk to anyone who didn't shed a tear or ten.
The game itself was incredible. An absolute battle of wills against a Pittsburgh defense tougher than I think any of us thought possible under a first-year man (former Michigan State Defensive Coordinatoor Pat Narduzzi) coaching his third game. They hit HARD. Unfortunately, Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard found that out several times and was clearly limited for a large part of the game with a left hip injury. He seemed to be feeling better as the second half progressed, and was crucial throughout the game with pinpoint passing, save one first-half interception, and running for yards in must-have spots. 4-0 in his first four collegiate starts, there's nobody I'd rather have at the helm than C.J. He was 27 of 40 for 258 yards and carried eight times for 39 yards.
The Iowa defense was solid too, especially Desmond King. Two more interceptions, following the one late in the fourth quarter in Ames. The defense held on third down on nine of Pittsburgh's 13 attempts.
We can't forget the Iowa punters either. Dillon Kidd and Marshall Koehn punted four times for a 57-yard average. Sure there were a couple touchbacks in there, but when you're kicking the ball nearly 60 yards, you can't really expect coffin-corner kicks on those boomers.
Marshall Koehn. OH, MARSHALL KOEHN. He played high school football in Solon, a short 20-minute drive from Kinnick. Saturday night, his name became legendary inside the stadium and in the minds of Hawkeye fans forever. A 57-yard field goal as time expired, tying a Kinnick Stadium record set by a kicker from Arizona in 1977. It was Iowa's first walk-off win since 2009. You remember... Marvin McNutt and Michigan State. Marshall Koehn's first career punt came last night. It was 64 yards. Hawkeye kickers haven't had a point-after-touchdown (PAT) missed or blocked in 59 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. Iowa has made 179 straight.
What a night to be Marshall Koehn and what a night to be a Hawkeye fan.