View From The Corner

What were Iowa fans thinking after the devastating 2nd half collapse against Iowa State on Saturday night? Since I live in Des Moines, I went to the big Hawkeye spot in Des Moines, Pal Joey's, to ask a few Black & Gold diehards some questions. In addition, Paul Boettcher, former HRN editor, called from Cedar Rapids to offer his take.

I have watched more than a few of the Hawk games on one of the 15 TV's in the friendly neighborhood atmosphere at Pal Joey's. Joe Yacavona and his son, Frank, have an excellent establishment for viewing all the games. There is even a TV in the men's bathroom so that you never miss a big play.

Therefore, I thought PJ's would be a good place to go to get the viewpoints of several Iowa fans about the 3rd quarter debacle. Football fans flocked in long before the Monday Night Football debut of Steve Spurrier and his Washington Redskins.

Thor Iverson, owner of Swimming Pool Supply, said "Iowa had some inopportune turnovers in the third quarter and lost momentum. Look at the NFL yesterday. Daunte Culpepper fumbled twice and Brien misses two PAT's, causing the Vikings loss. The Hawks will be back next week!"

Marc Whiton, owner of Whiton Feed in Perry, "I'm obviously very frustrated. The Iowa State coaching staff made halftime adjustments while we played not to lose. Once again our QB play was not up to par."

Mike Nixon, Des Moines businessman, said "The Hawks made a lot of progress. They were in position for a big victory until mistakes gave the game away. However, the game should never again be played so late in the day. I never saw so many drunks. Every Iowa State fan I saw was inebriated. A lot of the Iowa fans I saw weren't any better. They must have started in the morning. I started at 1:30 and had 5 or 6 beers, which was far from the alcohol level I saw in the parking lot."

Nixon was pleased with the Hawks' performance. "The first half was awesome. I may have been able to run through some of the holes that the Iowa offensive line was blowing in the Clone front wall. Fred Russell had the quickness to exploit the defense then to gain big yardage. He was the MVP of the first half, but couldn't play in the second. More than anything else that may have been the ball game. Seneca may not have been able to play catch up if Freddie had continued his first half performance."

Frank Yacavona had a long day on Saturday running the establishment. "It was crazy in here with fans from both sides cheering their teams on. The Hawk fans were feeling smug at the end of the first half. Their enthusiasm for the Hawks didn't dwindle until the end when the outcome was obvious. Many of them are here each Saturday to support the Hawks when Iowa is on the road or when constraints prevent them from attending a home game. We have a great Iowa fan base in here that show support win or lose" said Yacavona.

Kevin Pratt had a slightly different take than most of the viewers. "My wife is an Iowa State grad and fan, so I temper my enthusiasm for the Hawks a little bit in this game when she is around. After all, she is my roommate", said Pratt

Kevin added, "This was just a blip on the Hawkeye's radar screen. The mistakes they made in the second half won't be repeated. The Iowa coaches are too good to let that happen. They are better than Iowa State, just like I'm a better golfer than Frank. However, once in a great while, he beats me. Isn't that the blind squirrel theory?"

An Iowa law school grad that requested anonymity thought, "The Iowa sideline lacked intensity in the second half. The coaches' were way too cool in their demeanor while Rome was burning. There should have been more yelling and screaming rather than note taking", he added.

My cell phone rang and caller ID revealed that it was Paul Boettcher, calling from Cedar Rapids. His response to my question was "The Iowa football program is in much better shape in 2002 (5 straight dings by the 'clones) than it was following the 1997 season (15 straight Hawkeye wins in the series). While ISU has earned the in-state bragging rights, there was more total talent on the field Saturday than anytime in the recent past. It's a very good choice for a national game and entertaining for the college football fan from coast-to-coast."

Paul added "There has been a shortage of competitive games since the resumption of the series in 1977. But when the Iowa-ISU game has been competitive, it has been the loser in the game that has gone on to have the better season."

After the NFL game started, my interviews were over as the game time atmosphere took over the bar.

That's all of this issue of View From The Corner. Different Hawk fans will express their opinions in future editions.

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