Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The guy who said statistics are for losers was right. Iowa’s football team proved it in today’s 27-22 victory over Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl.
The Hawkeyes had a hard-to-believe minus-15 yards rushing and totaled just 199 yards to 342 for their Southeastern Conference opponent on offense.
Seventy-five of Iowa’s total came on Nate Stanley’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Nick Easley.
Three Iowa running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.
Who cared? Nobody.
“We had s hard time blocking their front,” Hawkeye coach Kirk told reporters after the game. “Defense really bailed us out.”

Friday, November 23, 2018

I Should've Turned Down the Sound

The second-worst thing that happened in tonight’s Iowa State-Arizona basketball game in the Maui Invitational was the fact that Bill Walton was the analyst on the ESPNU telecast.
The worst thing was that Arizona rallied to somehow defeat the Cyclones 71-66 after just about everyone, including me, thought Iowa State would win.
Having to put up with the Cyclones blowing a 10-point lead and listening to Walton’s obnoxious commentary throughout the game did me in.
At least the large number of Iowa State fans in the arena on Maui had one advantage over TV viewers on the mainland.
Folks in the arena didn’t have to listen to Walton, who played basketball at UCLA and in the NBA so long ago that I wrote lots of newspaper stories about him.
Walton talked virtually non-stop during the telecast, turning the poor play-by-play guy into an afterthought.
Walton even took the time to talk about perhaps riding RAGBRAI sometime in the future.
“Can you ride a bicycle?” the play-by-play guy asked.
Walton said he could indeed ride a two-wheeler, but added that he’d need to decide “whether I want to leave San Diego and go to Iowa in July.”
Getting back to the basketball game, things went sour in a hurry for Iowa State.
The Cyclones appeared to be fully in control throughout most of the game, but then collapsed in the final minutes.
I thought Iowa State had enough to overcome its injury and suspension problems.
Shows you what I knew.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Gene Raffensperger's Journal

In one of the many conversations I had with Gene Raffensperger over the years, he told me about a personal writing project he began during his working years.
He said he wrote something every day in a journal.
It could have been about something he did, something that had been done to him, something he wished he’d have done, something he wished he hadn’t done. Maybe something else.
He told me people had asked if he planned to publish what he wrote.
“I told them no, I don’t have any plans to publish what I write,” Raff told me. “I just want my family to read it sometime.”
Raff, who was a wonderful writer and had an outstanding newspaper career, died last Tuesday in Cedar Falls at the age of 89.
Hopefully, Raff’s family now has the journal and is enjoying what he wrote.

Not a Pretty Picture

It didn’t look any prettier to me tonight on the Longhorn TV Network than it did to Matt Campbell inside 100,119-seat Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at Austin, TX.
I’m not Iowa State’s football coach. Campbell is.
I didn’t have an explanation. Campbell did.
“They were the more physical football team,” Campbell told reporters after Texas’ 24-10 victory.
“We struggled to tackle, struggled to win at the line of scrimmage.”
The Longhorns took a big step toward the Big 12 Conference championship game with the victory .
Iowa State has hoped to remain in the league championship conversation, but didn’t.
Texas [8-3 for the season, 6-2 in the Big 12] can reach the league’s title game by winning at Kansas next week.
“People thought we forgot how to play defense,” Texas coach Tom Herman, a former Iowa State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, told reporters.
“We’re overachieving right now. We’re winning on toughness. We’re winning on grit.”
Iowa State’s records fell to 6-4 and 5-3 in a game that saw the Cyclones play the first half without suspended running back David Montgomery.
Texas sacked Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy 5 times and limited him to 10 pass completions in 23 attempts for 130 yards.
Purdy went into the game with a 5-0 record since becoming Iowa State’s starter.
It was a difficult time and place for the streak to end.


Balance. It’s spelled b-a-l-a-n-c-e. And that’s precisely what Drake’s basketball team had today while beating Texas State 75-69 in front of 2,968 fans at the Knapp Center.
All 5 starters scored in double figures. Nick McGlynn [pictured] had quite a day, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Nick Norton scored 15 points, Brady Ellingson 13, Tremell Murphy 10 and D. J. Wilkins 10.
“To close the game out, I thought we made some incredibly tough plays and, from a program standpoint, you build off those toughness-type plays,” said Drake coach Darian DeVries, whose team has a 2-1 record.
By the way, the crowd of 2;968 [the 7,152-seat Knapp Center was less than half-full] wasn’t bad considering Drake was playing at the same time the nation’s TVs were full of collegiate football games.
Another “by the way.” Drake’s football team ended its season with a 43-6 victory today over Morehead State at Morehead, Ky.
The Bulldogs closed with a 7-3
record for the season, 6-2 in the Pioneer Football League.

The Worst I've Ever Seen

I’ve been around a while and I’ve seen plenty of bad Big Ten football teams.
Don’t forget, I got a lot of experience watching losers when Iowa went 19 consecutive seasons—spread over 3 decades in the previous century—without having a winning record.
But the Illinois team the Hawkeyes crushed 63-0 today is the worst I have ever seen, and Lovie Smith of the Fighting Illini is the worst coach.
Lovie [whose salary is $4 million a year] makes Frank Lauterbur, who won 4 games in 3 seasons at Iowa in the 1970s, look like the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Dynasty

The dynasty continues.
Dowling Catholic of West Des Moines is the class 4A State High School football champion again.
That’s a stunning 6 straight championships for the Maroons.
This time they stormed back from a 13-point deficit and defeated previously-unbeaten Cedar Falls, 22-16, at the UNI-Dome.
Tonight’s victory climaxed a season that included a couple of losses during the regular season.
Dowling finished with an 11-2 record. Cedar Falls wound up 12-1.