We’ve got a special broadcast of the 2010 Orange Bowl this Saturday on the Quad Cities CW (Channel 26.1). All week long, we’re taking a trip down memory lane with that team. Hawkeye Headquarters reporter Adam Rossow kicks things off with a look at how the 2009 squad implored a never-say-die attitude throughout that special season.
Championship-caliber teams have a certain swagger.
“I don’t think we cared what the adversity was. It was really just put up whatever adversity you have, and we’re going to find a way to win,” said former Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
The 2010 Orange Bowl group started finding theirs late in the previous season.
“I often look back to 2008, because I felt that we sort of built that camaraderie there,” Stanzi said. “Once we got that Penn State game underneath our belt, we kind of switched the momentum and the energy to a little more, hey we can do this.”
The come-from-behind win over third-ranked Penn State gave a glimpse of their potential. Back-to-back blocked field goals against Northern Iowa showed resolve in the 2009 season opener.
“The spirit of that team, and what we did, the type of effort and determination to block not just one, but two field goals,” said former Iowa offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde. “That whole season, I don’t think happens without that effort.”
The escape against the Panthers was the first of five wins where Iowa was tied or trailing in the fourth quarter.
“I can remember my mom told me she has to stop watching, because she gets a heart attack, every single game and it started with the first one,” said former Iowa defensive lineman Broderick Binns.
The Hawkeyes resiliency kept showing up in some of the biggest wins that year.
“We had a group of guys that were gonna fight. We were always down, we were always down to battle, just had a group of scrappers,” said former Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer. “Played Penn State, they came out right away scored a 150,000-yard touchdown. Their quarterback flexed and he was bigger than anybody I’ve ever seen. And we beat ’em.”
Then it was 7 for 6 as time expired at Michigan State.
“Walking into the field and walk through the huddle, I’m like this is going to be pitch and catch, because we know what they’re going to bring,” Stanzi said of his game-winning touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt. “And they did bring it. It was just kind of like those just play it cool, don’t stare at them too much, you know you’re going there.”
And a 28-point, fourth quarter rally just a week later.
“Sash’s interception against Indiana that sparks the comeback,” Vandervelde said.
The Hawkeyes trailed the Hoosiers 21-7, with Indiana threatening to score again midway in the third quarter. Sash’s 86-yard interception return for a touchdown set the stage for a remarkable final quarter.
“And then we’re backed up, and we somehow put a 90-yard score on the board. Then we followed up with a another like 60-yards score,” Stanzi said.
Being battle-tested throughout the regular season gave the Hawkeyes all the confidence they’d need against Georgia Tech.
“We were ready, we were prepared. There was no doubt in my mind that we weren’t gonna win the game,” Binns said.
The 24-14 win capped one of the best years in program history.
“Nobody said we were worth anything and we knew what we had. It was just… it was, it was awesome,” Angerer said. “It was perfect. It was a good way to end.”
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