In what has turned out to be a truly great day for the University of Iowa and Iowa Hawkeye Football Program, this will have to be a day that many Hawk fans will look back to in Coach Ferentz's coaching era. Heading into this game, many did not expect the Hawks to be able to keep up with the potent offense of Texas Tech. However, it was not the offense that had to win the game for Iowa, but rather, the defensive unit of Norm Parker and local hero, Nate Kaeding.
Kaeding, an Iowa City West alumni, made a statement with his performance today that will likely earn him the nation's recongition as being one of the top kickers in the country next year. Kaeding was able to land four out of five field goals, including a 31, 36, 46, and a 47 yard field goal that ended up being the game winner.
The first half was an offensive showcase for both QB Kyle McCann and RB Aaron Greving. McCann was able to start out the game 12 for 12, but only led the Hawks to one touchdown as the Hawks entered halftime with only a 10-3 lead.
Greving was playing in front of Senior Tailback Ladell Betts, who after two plays in the beginning of the game, sat out the rest of the game. Greving helped put his name as the early leader to be the starting TB next season, finishing with 115 yards on 26 carries. Greving was able to head into halftime with 83 yards.
Besides Kaeding, the next most impressive performance of the game had to be the team effort by the Hawkeye defense. Norm Parker and staff prepared this defense in one of the best performances in college football this season. Many had expected Kliff Kingsbury to have a sensational game today in route to be an early Heisman candidate next fall. However, while Kingsbury completed 29 passes for over 300 yards, the Hawk defense was able to intercept two of his passes, including a huge interception by DT Derrick Pickens that led to a Nate Kaeding FG.
The Hawks kapped off the 2001 season like many Hawk fans hoped they would. Now the Hawks will celebrate this victory with a little winter break, but it will not be too long before its back to the weight room with Coach Doyle. There will be a big graduation loss to this team, but Coach Ferentz and staff appear to have a lot of players who will be ready to step up. It is not hard for many to notice that it is an exciting time to be a Hawkeye fan!