Great Moments in Iowa-Iowa State History: When Iowa Fans Tore Down Their Own Goalposts Before the Game Was Over

By RossWB on September 8, 2018 at 10:57 am
Daily Iowan (archives)

As Iowa fans, we have a certain fondness for tearing down goalposts. One of our most cherished memories from the last 20 years is the time in 2002 Iowa fans tore down the goalposts after beating Minnesota to clinch a Big Ten title... in the Metrodome. Tearing down your hated rival's goalposts on their home turf is a level of rivalry ownage that is almost impossible to surpass, which is why Minnesota will never, ever live that down. 

As it turns out, though, there's another goalpost-related story that we don't give nearly enough love to: the time Iowa fans tore down the goalposts at Kinnick before the game was even over.

It's a story that's particularly relevant this week, too, because it came in an Iowa-Iowa State game in 1979. That was the third game between the programs after the resumption of the series; it was also Hayden Fry's first CyHawk game -- and it wound up being his first win as Iowa head coach. Iowa had lost leads against Indiana, Oklahoma, and (most painfully) Nebraska the week before (Iowa led the Huskers 21-7 in the third quarter) and entered the ISU game with an 0-3 record. Dennis Mosley made sure that record didn't get to 0-4 -- he ran for 229 yards on 39 carries (!) and scored three touchdowns to lead Iowa to a 30-14 win. 

But the part that delights us is that Iowa fans were so excited to finally get a win (keep in mind that this was the very dark days of the 70s, when Iowa football was mostly terrible and, at best, merely bad) that they TORE DOWN THE GOALPOSTS WITH TWO MINUTES TO GO. The Daily Iowan ran a picture the day after the game with a policeman protecting the stump of a goalposts with time remaining in the game, which you can see here. The Des Moines Register article about the game (and has a great photo of the fans tearing down the goalposts) offers a little more information about the situation -- "in anticipation of zealous Hawkeye fans, the school replaced the steel uprights with wooden posts" and that "both sets of temporary wooden goal posts put up for this game were down before the end of Hayden Fry's first victory at Iowa."

That helps explain how the fans were able to get the goalposts down so easily (and presumably they were replaced before the game because Iowa didn't want to risk the fans damaging the more expensive steel goalposts), but still leaves me with some questions. And what's most striking to me is that neither article treats the fact that goalposts were torn down before the game was even over as being particularly odd or noteworthy. The 70s were weird, man. 

There's a famous story Hayden Fry is fond of telling about why he chose to come to Iowa in the first place: the enthusiasm of the Iowa fans. As Randy Peterson recounted Fry's words in The Des Moines Register

"[Bill Brashier] said look at this film -every time Iowa made a first down, the whole crowd erupted. I got to thinkin', my gosh, what would happen if we ever scored a touchdown."

Even Hayden probably never imagined that Iowa fans would tear down the goalposts before the game was over when he finally got his first win at Iowa -- but that's exactly what happened. Go Iowa Awesome. 

H/T to commenter Muck1979 for bringing this story to our attention

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