The photo I took of the scoreboard as TCF Bank Stadium stood empty tells the complete story. It was a landslide victory for the Hawkeyes as Iowa keeps the bronze pig trophy for another year.
I am really starting to like this team. Last year, I found it difficult to relate to the team as they really suffered from an identity crisis. Those days are over. Identity? How about a dominating running game powered by the still-developing offensive line. How about a stingy defense led by that solid core of senior linebackers. This is fun again. This feels like the mid 2000s again. This feels like building again, but in a good way – there are actually pieces and strengths to build upon.
Yesterday, I found myself in Section 101, Row 1 and surrounded by a group of Gopher fans. Right next to me were a group of 20-something guys. When they arrived next to me, I thought “uh-oh”. They arrived loud, cocky, chest bumping, but not yet trash talking. They knew better. They have seen these Gophers start out 4-0 before. Once I heard, “hey, nice camera” I realized this was going to be OK. Then, more Hawkeye fans showed up around me and, it wasn’t long before a Gopher lady next to me was doing face palms and chair slouching. Those Gopher boys next to me? As soon as Damond Powell streaked for his 74-yard TD reception, the talk was “wow, that guys is fast”.
The Hawkeyes dominated this game. It could’ve been even worse if we could’ve converted a few of those field goals into touchdowns. But, Jake Rudock was in complete control throughout making only one bad mistake – the interception thrown in the end zone which killed another impressive drive.
Next year, thanks to the scheduling woes that came on due to conference expansion, the Hawkeyes will again have to tote a hundred pounds worth of Floyd of Rosesale north up I-35 and play back-to-back games in Minneapolis. I won’t mind looking for that same seat. It was as good as it could get, don’t you think?