Iowa Hawkeyes Take Page from Carl Spackler Playbook, Notch Ugly Win vs Gophers

Michael MaxwellCorrespondent INovember 21, 2009

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 13:  Comedian Bill Murray tips his cap to the crowd on the 10th hole during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Poppy Hills Golf Course on February 13, 2009 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Can’t you just picture defensive coordinator Norm Parker making like Sandy, the head green’s keeper from Caddyshack in the pregame speech to his defense?  Assistant green’s keeper, Carl Spackler of course would be the Iowa defense…lets say played by senior linebacker Pat Angerer.  Perhaps the exchange was similar to this one from the all-time great movie:


Sandy : I want you to kill every gopher on the golf course!

Carl Spackler : Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key.

Sandy : Not golfers, you great fool!  Gophers!  The little brown, furry rodents!

Carl Spackler : We can do that; we don't even have to have a reason.  All right, let’s do the same thing, but with gophers!

Well, whatever Parker said or did to rev up his defense, it certainly worked on Saturday against the little brown, furry rodents.  A stout defense was able to bail out an anemic offense time after time, as the Hawkeyes notched back-to-back shutouts of the Gophers for the first time since 1955-56. 

Iowa has racked up a total of 10 wins this regular season for only the fourth time in school history.  Not a single one of those wins came easy.  It was no different against the Gophers.

The win ugly formula has worked all year for Iowa.  What may seem ugly to us, I’m sure is a thing of beauty to Coach Ferentz.  This car that isn’t the most shinny on the lot has continued to be a very reliable form of transportation this season.

On a day filled with tremendous defensive play from start to finish, perhaps their finest hour came when Minnesota was set up for 1st -and-goal on the Iowa two-yard line following a pass interference penalty in the end zone.

Two rushing plays up the middle are both stuffed by Pat Angerer and the d-line.  An incomplete pass on 3rd down brought up 4th and goal.  Down 12-0, it was a no-brainer to go for it. 

Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber set up in the shotgun, but had no time to find an open receiver as Broderick Binns drew pressure and the sack was finished by Binns’ line mates Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard.  If the Gophers couldn’t punch it across in that situation, they had little hope of crossing the goal line, period. 

The Iowa offense, on the other hand has its share of struggles.  Quarterback James Vandenberg took his lumps.  Frequent well-timed blitzes by the Minnesota secondary stalled drive after drive and didn’t allow Iowa to get into much of an offensive rhythm. 

Minnesota’s best scoring chance was set up on a fumbled center-quarterback exchange on the Iowa 29-yard line.  Vandenberg finished the day 11 of 24 for 117 yards, one interception, zero touchdowns.  He was sacked four times.

The running game was practically nonexistent after starting running back Adam Robinson left the game in the 2nd quarter after aggravating an ankle injury suffered a few weeks ago at Michigan St.

Throw in a blocked extra point on the only touchdown of the game, and it was very obvious to all that the Iowa defense is what brought home the bacon…err…bronze on this day.  Floyd will reside yet another year in the atrium of the Jacobson Football Complex. 

The Hawkeyes have held up their end of the bargain and done all they can to secure the best bowl possible.  Iowa’s final bowl destination will now be determined based upon factors that are completely out of their hands. 

There will be plenty of time to speculate on where they will end up.  For now, lets just sit back, have a little turkey this week, and enjoy the tremendous season that was.