20 for 20: The Best Plays of the Kirk Ferentz Era, Part Two

By Mike Jones on May 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm
"Blocked! Scooped up! This is gonna be a Hawkeye touchdown!"



NOTE: The final five plays of this series will be ranked, but the others are not ranked. They're all great plays.


Part 1

2008 Wisconsin: Shonn Greene Hits the B Button

Shonn Greene beat the brakes off of the Badgers, rushing for 217 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-16 win. His day was basically one giant highlight reel but his touchdown in the second quarter to give Iowa a 14-0 was probably the most impressive. Remember that Greene was considered a downhill runner. A bruiser. Someone not especially known for his finesse. Well, then there’s this:

Shonn Greene juked. He spun. He broke free of a tackle. He evaded. He scored. Four or five defenders had a look at Greene but not one of them actually had a shot at bringing him down. That’s why he’s one of the greatest Iowa rushers of all time.

2003 Michigan: "Razor" Ramon Ochoa Beats Michigan

Following the magical 2002 campaign, Iowa faced the impressive task of replacing stars like Dallas Clark, C.J. Jones, Colin Cole and Brad Banks. They still had Robert Gallery, Fred Russell, Jermelle Lewis, Bob Sanders and Mo Brown, but who could possibly fill the shoes of Brad Banks? Nathan Chandler, apparently. Iowa got off to a 4-0 start, beating #16 Arizona State and making it to 13th in the nation before dropping a game to Michigan State in East Lansing. The next week, the Hawkeyes faced Lloyd Carr’s #9 Michigan squad, who had guys like Braylon Edwards, John Navarre, Chris Perry and Jason Avant. Iowa hadn’t beaten Michigan at Kinnick Stadium since Rob Houghtlin’s kick in 1985.

Early on, it appeared that Iowa was going to suffer yet another loss at home to the Wolverines, falling being 14-0 in the first quarter. Then “Razor” Ramon Ochoa set the Hawkeyes up with good field position following an impressive kick return. Chandler capped off the drive with a quarterback keeper and the Hawkeyes and Wolverines started to exchange blows, with Michigan taking a 20-17 lead at halftime. The defenses went to work in the second half and with around 10 minutes remaining in the game, Iowa was hanging on to a 23-30 lead. Of course, that’s not much of a lead against an early aughts Michigan team, so Iowa needed to score. Chandler and Fred Russell drove down the field and had a first down on the Michigan 31 with just over five minutes left in the game. Then this, the most perfect throw of Nathan Chandler's career and the one that Pat gushed about a few weeks ago:

Michigan got the ball back and scored quickly, making it 30-27. Iowa forced the Wolverines to use their timeouts, punted and held Michigan to turn the ball over on downs. Iowa wins, all thanks to Razor Ramon.

2008 vs. Iowa State: Brodell Seals the Cy-Hawk

The 2008 game against Iowa State was not good. It was the opposite of good. It was bad. The weather was bad. It was soggy, dreary, and neither Iowa nor Iowa State were able to get much going on offense. Iowa fans might forget this, but Rick Stanzi started this game and he played pretty awful, going 5/14 for 95 yards and two interceptions. That’s a QBR of 1.7. Austen Arnaud wasn’t much better, but at least he was able to throw two interceptions and actually eclipse 100 yards.

Late in the third quarter, the score was 3-3. Seriously. It wasn’t until Ferentz decided to bring Jake Christensen into the game that the Hawkeyes were able to put together a coherent drive, culminating in a Shonn Greene touchdown early in the 4th quarter. This was good, as Iowa State had driven deep into Iowa territory the past three possessions but only walked away with three points. Even with the 10-3 lead, it felt like Iowa needed a little more insurance as they couldn’t hope to keep up that defensive performance to close out the game. Enter Andy Brodell:

The 82-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Hawkeyes the insurance they needed and the Cyclones were never able to recover. Not today, Chizik.

2017 Ohio State: Josh Jackson’s Bonkers INT

Straight to it:

You might be saying “hey c’mon this was like the most ridiculous play ever” and yeah, it was a tremendous play by Josh Jackson but you’ve also gotta look at the circumstances. I mean, look at the score. Iowa is BLASTING Ohio State at this point. The Buckeyes really had no choice but to depend on J.T. Barrett’s arm to get back in the game. Spoiler: J.T. Barrett’s arm isn’t going to get you back in the game. Jackson was already having a career day and this was just icing on the cake to solidify the pantsing of Ohio State at Kinnick.

2009 Penn State: Clayborn Blocks, Scoops, and Scores

What you’ll remember about this game is that it was all about payback for the Nittany Lions. Daniel Murray and the Hawkeyes cost Penn State a shot at the national championship with their stunning upset at Kinnick Stadium in 2008. This time, Darryl Clark wouldn’t make the same mistakes and Happy Valley would be rocking with College Gameday in town. Penn State was ranked 5th in the nation and Iowa needed to block multiple field goals to beat FCS Northern Iowa. They’d have their revenge. BREAKING NEWS ALERT: they did not.

And in fairness, Penn State won for three quarters. It was 10-5 in favor of the Nittany Lions early in the fourth. That lead seemed astronomical, though, as Iowa’s offense had been comical up to that point. But in the end, they didn’t really need an offense. They needed Adrian Clayborn:

The scoop and score gave Iowa an 11-10 lead and the Nittany Lions were never able to recover. Iowa scored 21 unanswered points following a 10-0 Penn State lead and walked away with a 21-10 lead. Things weren’t so happy in Happy Valley that night:


That's a saaaaaaaaad panda.

NEXT: Bob Sanders, Micah Hyde, Tyler Sash and turnovers galore.

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