Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 09:23:00 -0600
From: Tom Kirkendall
Subject: HERKY: BigTkirk's Sun Bowl Report

Per Czar George's request, the following is my Herky post following Iowa's
glorious ass-kicking of Washington in the 1995 Sun Bowl.

And now, for what all you Herky members have been waiting for, Bigtkirk has returned to The Woodlands from the Sun Bowl in El Paso and delivers his 20 first hand Herky observations about the game. Scott Hagen will surely supplement this list in a few days upon his return to South Bend:


2. We kicked their ass even with Sherman not having a particularly good game. If Sherman had been hitting on all cylinders, this one would have been really ugly.

3. The Hawks really set the tone for this ass-kicking in the first quarter. Playing into about a two-club wind, the Hawks caught Washington in stunt and sprung Shaw on his long TD run, and then Hurley nailed a 49 yard field goal into the wind that no one in the stadium remotely thought he could make. Hell, the kick would have been good from 55. The defense completely stuffed Washington's first quarter offense, which had the benefit of the brisk wind. Considering that Washington expected to be ahead after having the benefit of the wind in the first quarter, Iowa's 10-0 lead at the end of that quarter demoralized the Huskies.

4. Let me emphasize something here. THE HAWKS REALLY KICKED WASHINGTON'S ASS.

5. Iowa's defense was excellent. The Hawks stuffed Washington's rushing attack, and the secondary's coverage on Washington's receivers was suffocating. Iowa's pass rush was a little inconsistent (primarily from lack of depth in the defensive line), but put enough pressure on the Washington QB's that they could never get into a comfortable rhythem. After shutting down Washington in the first quarter, the defense really turned it up a notch in the second quarter when Washington was forced to play into the wind. The Hawks just laid the wood to'em all over the field.

6. A couple of plays at the end of the second quarter reflected Iowa's total dominance. Down 24 zip with 31 seconds in the second quarter, Washington set up at their own 30 yard line. At the time, I mentioned to fellow Herky member Scott Hagen that Washington would be foolish to try and get into scoring position against the brisk wind and should just let the clock run out. However, showing their lack of coaching acumen, Washington's QB dropped back on their first play from scrimmage, briefly saw excellent coverage from Iowa's secondary, and then got sacked and nearly had his head taken off by several Hawkeye defenders. Although slow learners, Washington didn't try to run another play in the half after that debacle.

7. Shaw and Banks are a devastating tandem at tailback. Considering that Iowa's four game swoon this past season occurred when these two were injured, there is little question in my mind that Iowa's record would have been better had these two been able to play at close to full strength all season.

8. Sherman wasn't particularly sharp, but a large part of this is attributable to Washington's defense, which has absolutely first rate athletes. Big, fast, and hard-hitting, Washington's defense is definitely big league. Although Washington linebacker Aleaga received more publicity this past season, their other inside linebacker (Jenson, no. 40) may have been the best defensive player on the field yesterday. He was everywhere. As the game went on, Sherman kept plugging and gradually started making some good plays. A case in point was his roll out pass to Slutzker to set up a second half touchdown. After an excellent play fake that froze everyone on Washington except Jenson, Sherman eluded the heavy pressure from this exellent linebacker and made the play. That was a big league play.

9. Let me put this another way. THE HAWKS ABSOLUTELY KICKED THE HUSKIES' ASS.

10. Iowa's offensive line is top rate. Two of Washington's defensive linemen were 6'4", 270 pounds, and quick. Iowa's line knocked them around like bowling pins. Washington's big and quick linebackers were running elaborate stunts on almost every play and occasionally gave Iowa's line some problems. But overall, the line dominated the line of scrimmage against some excellent athletes.

11. Washington was no way near as well coached as Iowa.

12. The fact that no holding penalties were called against Washington's offensive line was absurd. Several times, when Washington QB's were rolling out, Washington linemen were tackling Iowa's rushers. Also, the pass interference penalty called on the Hawks' during Washington's first touchdown "drive" was a classic "feel sorry for them" call. In a close game, that play would not have generated a flag.

13. Burger was rumblin', bumblin', stumblin', and tumblin' from the fullback position. The kid reminds me a little bit of Daryl ("Moose") Johnston, the Dallas Cowboys' fullback.

14. Damien Robinson (who amazingly was Iowa's third leading tackler this past season) could not tackle a blocking dummy hard. On Washington's last touchdown during garbage time, he literally waved at the Washington tight end as he crossed into the end zone. A couple of times, big D got banged up on plays because he was so passive that other players rolled over him. Although Robinson can't tackle, he is a decent cover guy. That's why he is playing.

15. Dwight is a gas to watch on the kickoff team. Thank God, he didn't go to Texas A&M. The Aggies would have already annoited him the permanent Twelve Man on the Aggie kickoff team.

16. Several times, Iowa ran a "Run and Shoot" wide receiver screen play, primarily to Dwight. At least one time, they ran the play out of a two tight end shotgun formation. The last time they ran it, Shaw was wide open on the other side of the field as a secondary receiver. I suspect that we will eventually see this play faked to Dwight on one side of the field and then brought back to Shaw on the other. This type of offensive innovation is encouraging.

17. After the game, Scott Hagen, my two young boys, and I went down on the field and mingled with the players, the Iowa coaching staff, the band, and a few hundred other Hawkeye fans. I took a snapshot of Scott Hagen with Chuck Long. My boys got autographs from many of the Hawkeye players, each of whom was courteous and pleasant. As I was following my boys around to the various players, I complimented each player by saying "Way to kick their ass." Without exception, each one of the players--none of whom knew me from Adam--grinned widely and said either "yeah" or "thanks." The band snaked off the field doing their "Go Hawks" kick routine. Nice scene.

18. On our way to the airport, my boys and I gave Scott a ride to his hotel after the game. We had a little time to kill before our flight so we joined Scott for a victory drink in his hotel's lounge. The lounge area was already filled with traumatized Washington fans, who were taking the game hard. I asked one fellow what he thought about Lambright, the new Washington coach. "Well, he sure as hell isn't Don James," replied the Washington fan derisively.

19. My boys and I flew back to Houston from El Paso on Friday evening after the game. Scott stayed overnight in El Paso. Accordingly, if Scott doesn't surface in a few days, we may need to dispatch a search party to Juarez, Mexico.

20, One last observation:


Happy New Year to Herky!

Best regards,

Tom Kirkendall
Houston and The Woodlands, Texas

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