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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 17, 2018

‘Jumbo Tough’

The day that phrase entered the lexicon
By The Gazette | Jul 30, 2018
Photo by: Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette Iowa’s Tyler Sash (left) and Amari Spievey leap into the air to celebrate an Iowa fumble recovery during the first half of the Hawkeyes’ 12-0 victorry over Minnesota on Nov. 21, 2009.

Editor’s note: Marc Morehouse’s countdown of all 143 of Kirk Ferentz’s wins as Iowa head coach continues at TheGazette.com/Ferentz.

Today’s sampler: No. 73 — Iowa 12, Minnesota 0, 2009

Three cool things

1. Sometimes, it’s really hard to talk football with Iowa football players. When this happens, though, it’s usually a good thing. It’s usually for a play made and not a failure.

Also, no one in the game wants their plans (from here on out we’ll call plans “kung fu”) on a billboard. Remember when Akrum Wadley said before some game (Michigan or Purdue are the ones in my head, might be wrong) that he would be lining up in the slot? And then he lined up in the slot? You have to be careful with that sort of thing.

This leads to more uncomfortable silences than a “silent but deadly” from the front pew. What can they say? How much do you care about what things look like? Well, I care and I’m going to try to ask those questions, while also being aware of what players can and can’t say.

We had one of those in this one.

Someone let out the name of Iowa’s goal-line defense, “Jumbo Tough.” That’s pretty basic info.

“Just ‘Jumbo Tough,’ basically,” defensive end Broderick Binns said. “Just everybody play heads up and control your inside gap. Guys were just resilient and we came out on a high note.”

So, OK. You walk away from that, hey, jumbo tough, that’s something, right? Then Pat Angerer turns out the lights and unleashed a sack full of squirrels.

“You guys would be surprised how many times everybody on the team is in a different defense,” Angerer said with a laugh. “We can’t hear what we’re saying out there. I’d say 90 percent of the time, we’re all running our own defense.”

Sorry, Phil Parker.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz clings to the “secret sauce” mentality. He laid down the ground rules early. I’d love to revisit, but I don’t get a vote on this.

To paraphrase Dennis Miller, I don’t want to go on a rant here ... and so I won’t.

2. The week before, quarterback James Vandenberg thrilled with his performance at Ohio State. (OK, let’s cover that with this: Should’ve gone for it. That’s it. Easy for me to say now, Mr. 20/20 Hindsight Constructive Criticism Guy.)

In this one, Baby was put in a corner. This was maybe the one game I’ve ever covered where the team tried to hide the quarterback. I don’t think it was because of Vandenberg. I think Iowa sensed it was going to get the Orange Bowl bid if it won this game, so the coaching staff left it up to the best players.

In 2009, that was the defense.

And the goal-line stand from the Hawkeyes’ 2 in the fourth quarter, it won’t hold your attention long, but it most definitely was a quiet bullet dodged in, hey, let’s call it what it is, this historic season (winning the Orange Bowl was a big deal, not the biggest but big).

3. Five sacks for the Hawkeyes in this one. This D-line was supreme.

Since this game, Iowa has had just four five-sack games — 2013 vs. Northwestern (6); 2014 vs. Northwestern; 2014 vs. Northern Iowa; and 2015 vs. Illinois State.


It’s one thing when the guy from the Poulan Weedeater Bowl hugs you and a totally different deal when the Orange Bowl guy wraps his arms around you and invites you to the beaches of Miami.

This is the game where Ferentz got a hug from a dude in an orange sportcoat.

“Yes, we’re definitely looking at Iowa, but there’s a lot of football to go,” Orange Bowl representative Larry Gautier said.

l Note: In this one, Iowa won the Pig trophy for the eighth time in nine games. I declared the rivalry dead and then the Gophers won the next two.

I guess, jinx?

Why No. 73?

It was a classic 12-0, at least.

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