Posted by: marcmwm | November 22, 2008

No place like Dome . . .

Good, bad, ugly at Kinnick North

No place like Dome

By Marc Morehouse

Jim Slosiarek/The GazetteIowa fans hang from the goal post after the Hawkeyes’ 45-21 win over Minnesota on Nov. 16, 2002. Iowa fans stormed the Metrodome field, tearing down a goal post and nearly carting one of the uprights out of the stadium.

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s probably safe to say the Metrodome has been more bad than good for the Iowa Hawkeyes. For every Rob Houghtlin field goal in 1986, Minnesota seems to have two season-makers.

Davenport native Gary Couch scored on a 14-yard run to lift the Gophers in 1984. In 1990, the Hawkeyes needed a victory at the Dome for an outright Big Ten championship. Legendary Keswic Joiner spoiled the day with two touchdowns, including a blocked punt.

Some 30,000 Iowa fans made the trip to what Iowa fans have claimed as “Kinnick North.” Iowa fans were even warned about too much noise when the Gophers had the ball. The Hawkeyes ended up with the Rose Bowl, but Minnesota got to keep Floyd of Rosedale.

Iowa got Pasadena, but the Gophers got to say this: “If the Rose Bowl people were smart, they’d give us a call,” UM defensive end Ben Williams said. “The point is: Iowa is supposed to be the best, but if I’m not mistaken, we just beat ’em.”

The Gophers said that. But you guys, Iowa fans, tore down their goal posts in 2002.

And Iowa got to say this: “This place today was Kinnick with a roof on it,” from tight end Dallas Clark.

The Good

The 1986 game was headed to a tie. The Hawkeyes closed a huge first-half deficit and had a chance to win the game on Houghtlin’s 51-yard field goal with one second left, but it sailed right.

The Gophers were called for 12 defenders on the field, a 15-yard penalty. Houghtlin made the most of the second chance, a 37-yarder that lifted Iowa to the Holiday Bowl.

“I got lucky, didn’t I?” Houghtlin said. “I went from goat to hero in a matter of a few minutes.”

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz certainly counted the 2004 game, a 29-27 Iowa victory, in the good.

Minnesota outrushed the Hawkeyes, 337 yards to 6. Iowa squeezed just six points out of two golden first-and-goals inside the Golden Gophers’ 10. The Hawkeyes even poked themselves with a few untimely and brain-dead penalties.

“A big part of winning football games is not losing them,” Ferentz said.

Rhys Lloyd’s 51-yard field goal missed 15 feet left as time ran out. Quarterback Drew Tate threw for 333 yards, two TDs and no interceptions, but linebacker Chad Greenway may have made the game’s biggest play. On second-and-8 from Iowa’s 31, he stopped Gophers running back Marion Barber III for a 4-yard loss, stretching the degree of difficulty for Lloyd’s field goal.

“Somehow, someway, we’re sitting here with a win and they can’t take it back,” Ferentz said. “We’re taking Floyd with us.”

In 1982, the Hawkeyes won, 21-16.

In response to reports that then-UM coach Joe Salem dressed in bib overalls and red flannel at practice during Iowa week, Hayden Fry changed from his white pants and black jacket to denim overalls, a red flannel shirt and a white cowboy hat trimmed with a red bandanna for his postgame news conference.

“All you great Minnesota writers and TV people … we’re taking Floyd home where he belongs — Soooo-ey!!!” Fry yelled. “We gave as much effort in this game as any since I’ve been at Iowa. This was a great ballgame and one of the hardest hitting games I’ve ever seen. We really needed a win for our program.”

The Bad

The 1984 game was the start of a resurgence for the Minnesota program, under first-year head coach Lou Holtz.

Minnesota punter Adam Kelly had a record 83-yard punt returned 95 yards for a touchdown by Bill Happel. But Happel had a fumble that set up the Gophers’ game-winner in the fourth quarter.

As freshmen, that UM senior class closed Memorial Stadium, which had no elevators and a wooden press box.

The Gophers were the spoilers in ’90. Instead of an outright league title, the Hawkeyes fell into a four-way tie but held on to the Rose Bowl bid.

In ’92, the 1-9 Gophers knocked the Hawkeyes out of the Copper Bowl with a losing season, 28-13.

Before the game, a member of the Copper Bowl’s selection committee was all set to invite the Hawkeyes to Tucson, Ariz. The gentleman didn’t want to think about Iowa losing. “They’ll have to carry me out of here,” he said before the game.

Fry had many laughs at the Gophers’ expense, but Minnesota got the last, spanking Iowa 49-7 in Fry’s last game as Iowa’s coach in 1998. It was the Gophers’ biggest victory over Iowa since 1949. It left Fry with his worst record in 20 seasons at Iowa.

“My wife’s been telling me for three years to hang it up,” Fry said after the game. “You can’t believe all the positive mail I’ve gotten, e-mail, telegrams. But it may be time to go.”

The Hawkeyes’ 34-24 loss at the Dome in 2006 still rankles Ferentz.

“Talk about feeling bad after a season,” Ferentz said.

The Ugly

The Iowa Hawkeyes and nearly 32,000 Iowa fans cleaned out the Dome in 2002.

Iowa finished its first undefeated 8-0 run in the Big Ten in 80 years and clinched a share of the Big Ten title with a dominant 45-21 victory. It clinched Iowa’s first 11-win season and marked a stunning turnaround from Ferentz’s first season, a 1-10 record in ’99.

Iowa players celebrated with the Big Ten championship trophy in their locker room. Meanwhile, out in the Dome, Iowa fans ran wild. A Metrodome maintenance crew worked long after the game trying to piece together the south end zone goal post. They tried three times before finally figuring it out for a Saturday night game between Concordia-St. Paul and Southwest State.

Yes, Iowa fans, after years of never touching the collapsible goal posts at Kinnick, made quick work of a Metrodome goal post. They even tried to take an upright through the Metrodome’s revolving doors before dropping it on the concourse.

Minnesota also Gopher-izes the Metrodome with banners hanging on the upper deck facade for every Big Ten team. The Iowa banners were conspicuous by their absence after the game, long gone, in Cedar Rapids, Epworth or Des Moines, probably.

Metrodome security tried about everything. The public address announcer issued two “final warnings.” They also tried blasting a high-pitched squeal from the loudspeakers. The Minneapolis police arrested a handful of fans on the field.

“Someone said they got the goal posts,” guard Eric Steinbach said. “I knew they (security) had their hands full when our fans started lifting the O-line and carrying us around.”

Next season, Minnesota will have brand-new TCF Bank Stadium, a state-of-the-art beauty. That place will never have Hayden Fry in overalls.

n Contact the writer: (319) 398-8256 or


APIowa Coach Kirk Ferentz is carried off the field on Nov. 16, 2002, after Iowa beat Minnesota, 45-21, clinching a share of the Big Ten title at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.


  1. WOW. Tonight’s game falls under all three categories, two for us and fugly for UM!!!!

    And Shonn will be in NYC on 12/13. Probably won’t win be he’s a finalist without question.

    Also will win the Doak Walker, silver football and first team AA(that should be unanimous)

    This is usually how we play in the bowl game but what a performance in a game that meant so much to this season.

    Well done by the good captain and his staff.

  2. PS-look at KF in that 2002 picture compared to now, Dealing with kids can do that to you….

  3. Wow, that was amazing. I knew Minnesota was pretty bad, and that Iowa was on a roll, but I didn’t expect a complete thrashing like that. Hell of way to close out good ol’ Kinnick North. It’s a dump, but I’ll miss it.

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