Meeting in Iowa City, faculty representatives to the Big Ten Conference adopted “drastic regulations regarding athletics.” A resolution was passed to provide that a commissioner of athletics be appointed “to investigate and report on all charges of ineligibility, violations of the rules and other misdemeanors within the conference.”

The faculty also looked at the academic work athletes would be allowed to take credit for and decided that “no student in an athletic, coaching of [or?] physical education school, be permitted to present for eligibility qualification any credit earned in the pursuit of athletic studies.” In addition, to be eligible for intercollegiate competition, students were required to first complete 14 hours of academic work “as distinguished from athletic training.”

Chicago Sunday Tribune runs banner headline, "Iowa Eleven Smashes Yale."October 14
So ran the banner headline in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, the day after Iowa played Yale University in the famed Yale Bowl. Reporter Hugh Fullerton started his story this way: “Howard is champion of the Jones family.

“In one of the most desperately contested battles ever fought in Yale’s historic bowl the west today triumphed over the east and smashed all the history of football.”

Not only was this the first time the Bulldogs lost to a western team in New Haven, it was only the second time in history that two brothers, Howard of Iowa and Tad of Yale, faced off as coaches of opposing teams. Only 26 men played during the game, 14 for Yale and 12 for Iowa, so no man got much of a breather.

Writing about the battle a decade later, George Trevor, football editor of the New York Sun, credited quarterback Gordon Locke’s “bovine rushes” and Leland Parkin’s “shin-tackle darts” as the winning combination that led to Iowa’s sole touchdown. Final score: 6-0.

Iowa's quarterback Gordon Locke.

Gordon Locke

Trevor reminisced poetically about the Hawkeye teams of 1921 and 1922: “Boys sprout high, wide and handy out where the tall corn grows. Iowa’s black earth belt is prolific of ideal football material. True, it reaches the university raw and unpolished, but when there’s a Howard Jones to do the buffing, Iowa’s Old Gold and Black is very much in evidence.”

The east was beaten. It was “corn over culture.” And Iowa showed Yale an innovation in the game that has since become standard. “One of the features of the season which has provoked probably more discussion than almost any other, is that of the use of the ‘huddle system’ in giving signals,” Walter Camp noted later. “Those Easterners who saw Iowa defeat Yale…were first given an illustration of this system which is becoming quite popular in the Middle West.”

November 18
For the first time in two years, an Iowa opponent was the first to score during a football contest. But the Ohio State Buckeyes took the lead for only a short time, the Hawkeyes fighting back to claim a 12-9 victory.

Iowa ended the season with a 7-0 record, sharing the conference championship with Michigan. Team captain Gordon Locke, who usually played the fullback position, was the most decorated Hawkeye at the end of the season, becoming the second consecutive Iowan named to Walter Camp’s all-America team as quarterback. John Heisman said that “powerful is an inadequate adjective to use in describing his strength and ramming talents. He had the legs that gave the drive the momentum of a battle tank….”

Locke went on to law school at Iowa, graduating among the top three in his class. Some 40 years after he began his career at Iowa, he was elected to the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

November 11
Iowa: stuck in the mud  on dirt roads after rainy game.IOWA: STUCK IN THE MUD
Some 26,000 spectators watched Iowa defeat Minnesota 28-14 during the Homecoming celebration in Iowa City. Though the wet field couldn’t stop the Iowa attack, muddy roads did stop the fans on their way out of town. Local historian Irving Webber, 22BA, recalled the mess that resulted:

“Ten thousand people reportedly had driven to Iowa City for that game, under threatening clouds, praying it would not rain. Their prayers were not answered, and heavy rains came during the game.

“The dirt roads in all directions from Iowa City became quagmires, and the one to Cedar Rapids was the worst, with all its hills and the Iowa River. Five hundred cars were stuck between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and 1,500 fans were forced to sleep in their cars or seek shelter on the floors of the homes of friendly farmers.

“Some who were stuck close to the Interurban tracks left their stranded cars in the center of the road, sloshed through mud and water and caught the next Interurban, whether to Iowa City or Cedar Rapids. It didn’t matter which by then.

“On Sunday and Monday, farmers with teams pulled cars out of the mud. Many were taken to North Liberty where they were loaded on flat cars and shipped to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City. About 1,800 pounds of tire chains were shipped to North Liberty, which enabled some people to get out on their own. No wonder Iowa fans are so rugged today.”

Copyright 2009

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Gridiron Glory - 100 + Years of Iowa Hawkeye Football