Most Impactful Injuries in Iowa History

Sep 3, 2009
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I was wondering today what the most impactful injuries have been in Iowa history? At least recent Iowa history. From my limited brain space, I can come up with a few obvious ones:

2009 - Ricky Stanzi
Was injured during the Northwestern game, which we lost, and then went to Columbus and lost again (which we may have lost anyway). Altogether, might have only cost us one win, but also a chance at a Big Ten title.

2006 - Drew Tate
Not sure when the injury occurred, I remember some rumors of the hay bale toss at Solon Beef Days before the season. But it ended up almost costing us a win at Syracuse, and against Northern Illinois when Christensen started. We didn't lose those games, but later in the season, he did not play well and we finished at 6-7.

Thankfully, we haven't had too many QB injuries over the years.

Obviously the running back injuries in 2004 might have cost us a win or two, but it's hard to argue with 10-2 and a big ten title anyway that year.

Another one that sticks out is Drew Ott in 2015, which might be forgotten about because of the 12-0 start, but later in the season, you could see the defense starting to break a little bit, and the lid came off during the Rose Bowl.

I know there are many others that I am missing that might be obvious or not. It seems like almost every year, there is a RB that gets injured. Or a guy in the trenches whose impact might not be immediately felt but ends up mattering later in the year.
 

Macbride79

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1984 Wisconsin game. Win out (Wisconsin, Michigan State, at Minnesota) and Hawks go to the Rose Bowl.

In that game vs UW, Ronnie Harmon went out with a broken leg and Chuck Long hurt his knee. Harmon was out for the year and Chuck didn’t play in first half versus MSU.

Iowa didn’t win any of those last 3 conference games.
 

Lone Clone

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The one that comes first to mind is Larry Ferguson. As a junior in 1960 he led Iowa to a Big Ten title share and was first team all-conference and all-America. In the first game of his senior season, he wrecked a knee and was done for the year. That was the first year Jerry Burns coaches and the team finished well down in the standings.

Losing Wilburn Hollis a couple of years later was bad, but I don't recall the details.
 
May 26, 2006
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1984 Wisconsin game. Win out (Wisconsin, Michigan State, at Minnesota) and Hawks go to the Rose Bowl.

In that game vs UW, Ronnie Harmon went out with a broken leg and Chuck Long hurt his knee. Harmon was out for the year and Chuck didn’t play in first half versus MSU.

Iowa didn’t win any of those last 3 conference games.
This. I was just a youngin in Kinnick that day. Vividly remember the stretcher coming out for Harmon.
 

ghostOfHomer777

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One that was definitely significant was Ed Hinkel in 2005. Had he not gotten injured ... Iowa beats both Michigan and Northwestern that year. He had a pretty good game against Florida ... even fresh off the injury. So I don't know if his being healthy would have impacted the outcome of that game.

Anyhow, that would have equated to the Hawks finishing the regular season with a 9-2 mark ... with only 1 loss in the B1G.

I know Iowa fans tend to think about the 2005 season as a somewhat forgettable season ... but that squad ended up being really close to being very solid.
 

Frosty7130

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The biggest to me is losing Scherff and Donnal on back to back plays vs Penn State in 2012. The only thing that offense could do well was run the ball and losing both of them at the same time completely erased it. We went on to go 0-3 in one score games the rest of the way.

Drew Ott vs Illinois in 2015. I firmly believe with him and Meier at DE we win the B1GCCG.

Not a huge one, but Vandeberg with a broken foot in practice in 2016 completely erased what was left of an already suspect passing game. Same with George Kittle missing a good chunk of the season.

Alaric Jackson coming back from his injury rusty vs Michigan in 2019.
 

ghostOfHomer777

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The biggest to me is losing Scherff and Donnal on back to back plays vs Penn State in 2012. The only thing that offense could do well was run the ball and losing both of them at the same time completely erased it. We went on to go 0-3 in one score games the rest of the way.

Drew Ott vs Illinois in 2015. I firmly believe with him and Meier at DE we win the B1GCCG.

Not a huge one, but Vandeberg with a broken foot in practice in 2016 completely erased what was left of an already suspect passing game. Same with George Kittle missing a good chunk of the season.

Alaric Jackson coming back from his injury rusty vs Michigan in 2019.
Yes ... the loss of Ott in '15 was definitely signficant! Dude was also a leader. Even injured ... he did a hell of a great job making sure that Parker Hesse was well-prepped week-in, week-out!
 
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ghostOfHomer777

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The biggest to me is losing Scherff and Donnal on back to back plays vs Penn State in 2012. The only thing that offense could do well was run the ball and losing both of them at the same time completely erased it. We went on to go 0-3 in one score games the rest of the way.

Drew Ott vs Illinois in 2015. I firmly believe with him and Meier at DE we win the B1GCCG.

Not a huge one, but Vandeberg with a broken foot in practice in 2016 completely erased what was left of an already suspect passing game. Same with George Kittle missing a good chunk of the season.

Alaric Jackson coming back from his injury rusty vs Michigan in 2019.
Furthermore ... we win the B1G championship game ... we go to the play-offs. Maybe not get wiped by 'Bama quite as bad as MSU.

But ... to make the play-off would be a huge deal for the Hawks. So yeah ... Ott's injury proved to be exceedingly impactful.
 

ghostOfHomer777

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I was wondering today what the most impactful injuries have been in Iowa history? At least recent Iowa history. From my limited brain space, I can come up with a few obvious ones:

2009 - Ricky Stanzi
Was injured during the Northwestern game, which we lost, and then went to Columbus and lost again (which we may have lost anyway). Altogether, might have only cost us one win, but also a chance at a Big Ten title.
Turning this one on its ear a little bit ... what happens in 2009 if Dace Richardson doesn't get injured? On his reconstructed knee ... he was putting up an all-Big 10 quality season up until his injury. He doesn't get injured ... maybe Stanzi is never even in a position to get injured.
 

citizenHawk

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Beathard was never the same after his nagging groin injury. I don't know how impactful it was overall, but 2016 might have turned out better if he had his early career wheels on.
 

ClarindaA's

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1997 - Vernon Rollins against ISU. I'd say Matt Sherman too later although we'd lost to OSU and Michigan by then and Randy Reiners filled in and led the league in pass efficiency, so wasn't quite the drop off statistically. But a great defense anyway could've been even been better with Rollins healthy.
Sherman couldn’t throw too a wide open receiver at the end of the Michigan game
 
Sep 3, 2009
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Beathard was never the same after his nagging groin injury. I don't know how impactful it was overall, but 2016 might have turned out better if he had his early career wheels on.
IIRC, didn't he get hurt against Pitt in 2015? He ran way less after that, even though we still won 9 straight, he wasn't quite as electric as he was in the first couple games.
 

Herky T Hawk

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Ronnie Lester, 1980.
Pretty much a guaranteed national title without the injury. More impactful than any of the football ones listed which were just hopeful shots at titles without the injuries.

Otherwise three come to mind in the last 30 years.

Brad Banks's injured thumb against ISU that caused him to fumble multiple times and gave ISU a bunch of points and eventually the game. Could have been 12-0 along with OSU and Miami. OSU in 2002 wasn't the same as OSU today and the media wanted any reason to not put them in the title game. I don't know that we beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, but it would have been great to have a shot.

Ricky Stanzi's leg on the missed facemask penalty in the end zone against NW in 2009. Had that game in control to that point. If the refs call the penalty, the score is taken off and we get the ball back with a chance to punt it out of danger. If Stanzi doesn't get hurt we don't lose that game. Win that game and a perfect season with a shot at the BCS championship game is on the line at OSU the next week.

Beathard getting his legs ruined early in the season in 2015 preventing him from having much mobility or ability to tuck and run that he had shown at the start of the season. A healthy Beathard could have been the difference against MSU in Indianapolis. But we still would have gotten destroyed just like MSU did in the playoffs.


This just goes to show how important the QB position is in college football. Three injuries likely cost us three different shots at playing for national titles.
 

sabula

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Blake Larsen way back when. #1 OL recruit in the country. Kept waiting for him to get healthy and play and dominate. Never really happened. What might have been...
 

isuisshit

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One that was definitely significant was Ed Hinkel in 2005. Had he not gotten injured ... Iowa beats both Michigan and Northwestern that year. He had a pretty good game against Florida ... even fresh off the injury. So I don't know if his being healthy would have impacted the outcome of that game.

Anyhow, that would have equated to the Hawks finishing the regular season with a 9-2 mark ... with only 1 loss in the B1G.

I know Iowa fans tend to think about the 2005 season as a somewhat forgettable season ... but that squad ended up being really close to being very solid.
the refs cost iowa the michigan game
 
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1997 - Vernon Rollins against ISU. I'd say Matt Sherman too later although we'd lost to OSU and Michigan by then and Randy Reiners filled in and led the league in pass efficiency, so wasn't quite the drop off statistically. But a great defense anyway could've been even been better with Rollins healthy.
Sherman breaking his hand punching a locker/wall after the Michigan game definitely helped derail that team in 1997. We took some losses to teams we had no business losing to.
 

steelrain

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Drew Ott is my choice. He was crushing QBs and was such a force. I agree with above, if he didn't get injured i believe we win the B1GCC.
 
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Hawksofly101789

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Beathard played hurt for about half of the season and in the BIG championship game if he’d been healthy Aka more mobile I think it could’ve helped our offense out and maybe scored more to not have had to do a goal line hold in the last seconds.
 

BlackNGoldWings

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One that was definitely significant was Ed Hinkel in 2005. Had he not gotten injured ... Iowa beats both Michigan and Northwestern that year. He had a pretty good game against Florida ... even fresh off the injury. So I don't know if his being healthy would have impacted the outcome of that game.

Anyhow, that would have equated to the Hawks finishing the regular season with a 9-2 mark ... with only 1 loss in the B1G.

I know Iowa fans tend to think about the 2005 season as a somewhat forgettable season ... but that squad ended up being really close to being very solid.
I think Eddie's first game back after his injury was the senior day game against Minnesota in which he scored 4 TDs.
 

Feldbush

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Ronnie Harmon's injury before the Rose Bowl game.

Of course, the next two would be Lester and Stanzi.
 

bowlhawk

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1997 - Vernon Rollins against ISU. I'd say Matt Sherman too later although we'd lost to OSU and Michigan by then and Randy Reiners filled in and led the league in pass efficiency, so wasn't quite the drop off statistically. But a great defense anyway could've been even been better with Rollins healthy.
Was first on my mind as well. Was at the ISU game and just devastating as that team had so much talent/potential just couldn't quite put it together due to lack of depth.
 

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