University of Iowa Athletics
2011 Iowa Football Squad
James Vandenberg got his feet wet as the Hawkeyes' new starting quarterback in the rainy season opener against Tennessee Tech. Iowa played through heavy showers at kickoff, but hail and the threat of lightning prompted a rare weather-related game delay during the third quarter. The Kinnick grandstands were evacuated for nearly an hour-and-a-half before the Hawkeyes returned to the field to trounce the Golden Eagles, 34-7.
Wide receiver Marvin McNutt surpassed Danan Hughes (1989-92) and Tim Dwight (1994-97) with 24 passes to become the Hawkeyes' all-time receiving touchdown leader. During Iowa's game against Indiana, McNutt caught an 80-yarder in the first quarter and two more touchdown passes before halftime for a 45-24 Hawkeye victory. McNutt later earned first-team all-Big Ten honors and received the conference's Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year Award.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Iowa faced Big Ten newcomer Nebraska in the inaugural Heroes Game. The series established a trophy rivalry that honors real-life heroes from each state and helps raise money for area non-profit organizations.
For the 11th-straight season, the Hawkeyes were bowl-eligible. And for the second season in a row, they headed to Tempe, Arizona, for the Insight Bowl. This time, they played Oklahoma, coached by former Iowa football defensive back Bob Stoops (1979-82).
The bowl marked only the second meeting between the two teams—the first being in 1979 when Sooners coaches Stoops and Bruce Kittle (1979-82) were on the Hawkeyes' side. "My wife yells 'Go, Hawks' at my children all Saturday morning throughout the fall," Stoops said at a pre-bowl press conference. "She just can't say it tomorrow."
Luck was certainly not on Iowa's side in the 14-31 bowl loss. In a bizarre turn of events, an ESPN overhead camera crashed onto the field during the fourth quarter, nearly knocking out McNutt and briefly suspending the game.
Following the Insight Bowl, UI defensive coordinator Norm Parker was named the American Football Coaches Association's Assistant Coach of the Year. The beloved coordinator also announced his retirement after 13 years at Iowa.