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Friday, October 20, 2006

21 Years Ago Today

On October 19, 1985 two important events in my life took place simultaneously: my senior homecoming dance and the Nile Kinnick Stadium clash between number-one ranked Iowa and number-two ranked Michigan.

The game started in the late afternoon, meaning I was able to watch only about two-plus quarters before joining my buddy Joe to pick up our dates (for you youngins out there, in those dark days before DVRs, a person had few options if he wanted or needed to do something during an important game.) So with a clenched jaw, I went to pick up my date--a lovely young lady named Becky--and more importantly catch a few minutes of the game, which her dad graciously invited me to see after I pinned a corsage on his daughter.

"The HAHK-EYEZ" (as then-CBS announcer Brent Musberger referred to them) were just beginning a final drive in the late-fall drizzle, trailing Michigan 10-9. With 1985 Heisman Trophy runner-up and future Detroit Lions bust Chuck Long at the helm, Iowa moved efficiently down the field. However, not wanting to make too bad of an impression on my date, I did not protest when it was suggested we get going in order to be on time for our dinner reservation. I also wisely decided to not listen to the final minutes in the car, as I knew that win or lose, I would have made a complete ass of myself.

Eventually Iowa moved to the Michigan 12-yard line before calling their final timeout with only two seconds remaining. Two timeouts were called by Bo in an effort to ice the Hawkeyes kicker, Rob Houghtlin. Then, as described by young and not-yet-annoying Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly:

“Rob Houghtlin hunched over his kicking tee, hands on his knees, as though losing a bout with indigestion. His moment awaited…. Two seconds loomed on the clock. Rain dripped off his helmet. And here he was, a junior walk-on place-kicker whose sore leg had kept him out of practice for three weeks, standing 29 yards from never having to buy another beer in the state of Iowa.

“Watching him…, the largest crowd to ever see a sporting event in Iowa, took one last glug and forgot to swallow. Outside, tuned in on TV and radio, an entire state sucked in its stomachs….”

Houghtlin struck the ball solidly and his accuracy was perfect. Iowa defeated Michigan 12-10--the second Hawkeyes win over Michigan without the aid of a touchdown in the past five years--and maintained their number one ranking. Watch Brent's and listen to the Iowa radio team's call of the winning kick (note the Uferish screw-up of the score by the play-by-play guy.)

I learned the outcome of the game from a radio report in the parking lot of the Olive Garden-like restaurant, as my date and others waited to be seated. As for me and Becky? Like the Wolverines my evening could be described as, "close, but ultimately disappointing." Alright, not so close. But definitely disappointing.


Man 'o War Buckeye said...

Didn't Iowa lose to tOSU that year?

victorsvaliant said...

You are correct, m'owb. tOSU dashed Iowa's dreams for a perfect season with a win in Columbus on November 2, 1985.

According to iowalum.com: "Noise in Ohio Stadium made it impossible for Long to audibilize and Iowa lost the only game of the year, 22-13."

matsut said...

I was going to rub salt in that wound, but I see others have beaten me to the punch. I was at that Iowa-Ohio State game, in a for-real downpour. My word, what a day that was. I was 16.

Paul said...

For what it's worth, I remember watching Michigan beat Iowa the following year in Ann Arbor with a last seconds field goal.

beast in 'bama said...

That was a memorable game - like a lot of Iowa/Michigan games over the years. I have always enjoyed this series and have a lot of respect for both programs.

And I believe Iowa will put up a good fight again this year. Iowa got caught in a classic trap game situation last week vs. Indiana. They were physically on the field with the Hoosiers, but their minds were in Ann Arbor.

The Michigan offense has one hand tied behind its back with Manningham out. The defense - along with Jake Long & Mike Hart - will have to win this one for the Wolverines.

surrounded in columbus said...

in a way, this is the penultimate michigan fan post- we're 7-0 & rolling, so let's dig up a painful memory! and i, of course, can't help but jump on the band wagon and pick at this old wound (you'd think it would have healed or scarred over by now).

my most painful memory is the dropped pick on Iowa's last scoring driving. Long thru into coverage and hit (i think) ivan hicks right in the chest w/ his pass. the ball was so on target that hicks was too startled to catch it- and a few plays later iowa kicked the game winning field goal.

and yes, tosu beat iowa that season, but lost their last game to michigan setting up a three way tie amongst us. iowa went to the rose bowl and michigan played nebraska in the fiesta. probably one of the better years for big ten football during the decade.

Benny Friedman said...

SiC, I believe it was All-American cornerback Brad Cochran who dropped that easy interception from Long. I always felt Cochran was hugely overrated, and his dropping of that INT made him one of my most disliked Wolverines ever.

harry hasselhoff said...

Ah, classic Schembechler football - get a small lead and sit on it the rest of the game only to lose at the end. It still pains me to think about all the close losses.

Whatever the case, I really find it hard to believe Rick Reilly was ever not annoying.

I'd like to see Reilly in a fight-to-the-death cage match with Drew Sharp. Winner fights one of those annoying, inferiority complex-possessing Sparty slappies - Valenti, Foster, or that other guy. You know who I mean, the man who's always standing and walking.

Andy said...

Remember it like it was yesterday. I was a sophomore. We watched at Title IX's apartment with a bunch of friends. Many many beers at Rick's afterward did not dull the searing hatred of Chuck Long.

The win (on a Mike Gillette FG) the following year in A2 was a lot more fun.

Anonymous said...

I know this is totally off the subject, but I just heard from one of my OSU friends (a VERY nice buckeye might I add) that he read on a OSU blog that Mario told one of his Ohio friends that Mike Hart has a broken foot. And, supposedly this Ohio guys that wrote this about Mike Hart is the fist guy to break the news about Mario's knee. Any Mike Hart sightings on campus? If this is true then I am going to shoot myself right now! Please.... I need info!!!!!

Anonymous said...

list of popular but unlikely fairy tale characters:

a VERY nice buckeye

Yost said...


I hope you got laid by Becky. Otherwise, your choice that evening 20+ years ago saddens me.

Anonymous said...


I believe his last paragraph answers your question.

IC said...

Anon is right, Yost. The last paragraph of the original post sums up my date with Becky. On that dark and sad night 21 years ago, she played better defense than Larry Station.

TitleIX said...

yeah, and then adding insult to injury, the Lions drafted Chuck Long #12 in 1986.

Two kickers I still hate....
Loehmiller and Houghtlin

and, if my memory serves me well Andy, you had your own 'Becky' that you brought with you to watch the game...

WinstonWolfe said...

The Iowa play-by-play guy in the radio clip was Jim Zabel. I guess I'd forgive him on the score of the game in the midst of all of the excitement since he'd been on WHO Radio since May 18, 1944. In an interview, he said "“I know all the Big Ten songs,” he said. “I love the Big Ten songs. I know the words and can sing all of them. In fact, I’ve got a CD of the Michigan band playing symphonic arrangements of the Big Ten songs, and I just love it.” Gotta have a soft spot for a guy like that.

Andy said...

and, if my memory serves me well Andy, you had your own 'Becky' that you brought with you to watch the game...

Now that part of the night was very forgettable...