NCF Nation: Warren Halloway

Well, that was entertaining. The Big Ten is off to a 1-0 start in the bowl season after Iowa rallied to win a wild one in Tempe, Ariz.

Here's a quick look at Iowa's 27-24 win against Missouri in the Insight Bowl.

How the game was won: Headed toward another disappointing loss, Iowa turned the momentum midway through the fourth quarter when Micah Hyde picked off a Blaine Gabbert pass and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown. Gabbert (434 yards) had been brilliant before the pick-six, and Iowa's defense once again seemed to be wearing down. The shorthanded Hawkeyes' offense received a huge lift from freshman running back Marcus Coker and an offensive line that consistently opened holes. The game seemed to be following a typical and tragic script for Iowa, but Hyde created a Hollywood ending.

Player of the game: Marcus Coker. Iowa's depth chart at running back had been decimated by injury, transfer and suspension, leaving Coker as the team's only reliable option for the bowl. The freshman answered the call in a big way, displaying tremendous power and speed. He rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries, including a 62-yard scoring burst early in the second quarter to give Iowa a 14-3 lead. Hyde certainly merits a mention for his heroics.

Turning point: Hmmmm ... how about Hyde's 72-yard pick-six with 5:32 left in the game and Iowa looking dead in the water? Bingo. Although Gabbert made his only awful decision in an otherwise brilliant night, Hyde deserves credit for jumping the route and making a brilliant return up the sideline for the touchdown. It marked Hyde's second return touchdown of the season after he took a lateral from Tyler Sash and raced to the end zone against Michigan State. His score has to go right up there with the Warren Halloway touchdown in the Capital One Bowl as one of the most clutch plays in Iowa history.

Best call: It was the best or the worst, depending on whom you ask, but the replay overturn of a Missouri first-down catch late in the fourth quarter put Iowa in position to win. Missouri would have been in field-goal range had the catch held up, but an excellent camera angle showed the ball hitting the ground and moving. I'm still surprised the officials ended up overturning the call on the field because of indisputable video evidence, but it looked like they made the right decision.

Second guessing: Iowa's defensive scheme. The Hawkeyes played too many linebackers and too few defensive backs against Gabbert and Missouri's pass-happy spread offense. Without much of a rotation along the defensive line, Iowa looked gassed and didn't put much pressure on Gabbert. The plan nearly cost Iowa, but Hyde saved the day.

What it means: Iowa's decorated senior class ends an otherwise disappointing season on a great note, as the Hawkeyes won their third consecutive bowl game for the first time in team history. After blowing four fourth-quarter leads and allowing late touchdowns in all five regular-season losses, Iowa had seen this movie before,but made a play to change the ending. Although Iowa loses a lot for 2011, the encouraging performances from underclassmen like Coker, Hyde and linebacker James Morris raises hope for the future.


Big Ten moments of the decade

January, 19, 2010
The last decade brought us many memorable moments in the Big Ten. From coaching milestones to individual awards to a national championship to the possibility of expansion, the Big Ten had it all in the aughts.

Here's a look back at 10 moments that stand out:

1. The Game pits No 1. vs. No. 2 -- Nov. 18, 2006: The Big Ten had the national stage all to itself as its premier rivalry pitted college football's top two teams, No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan, at Ohio Stadium. A day after the death of coaching legend Bo Schembechler, the Buckeyes and Wolverines met in the most anticipated regular-season game ever. Ohio State won, 42-39 and earned the right to play in the BCS National Championship Game.

2. The Flag -- Jan. 3, 2003: It was the most famous -- or infamous -- call of the decade, a pass interference penalty on Miami's Glenn Sharpe that gave Ohio State new life in overtime at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes went on to tie the game and win in the second overtime for the Big Ten's only national championship in the aughts.

3. JoePa passes The Bear -- Oct. 27, 2001: Joe Paterno became college football's all-time winningest coach as Penn State rallied from a 27-9 deficit to beat Ohio State 29-27 at Beaver Stadium. Paterno's 324th career win pushed him past Paul "Bear" Bryant for the record.

4. Iowa wins bowl on final play -- Jan. 1, 2005: In one of the most exciting bowl game finishes ever, Iowa's Drew Tate found Warren Halloway for a 56-yard touchdown with no time remaining as the Hawkeyes stunned LSU 30-25 in the Capital One Bowl. LSU had taken a 25-24 lead with 46 seconds left before Tate's heroics.

5. Big Ten announces expansion plans -- Dec. 16, 2009: For the first time, the Big Ten publicly announced it would explore the possibility of expansion. More football coaches and athletic directors were behind the movement than ever before, and the league felt that the "time is right" to seriously look into a hot-button issue.

6. Starks' fumble return against Purdue -- Oct. 16, 2004: Purdue entered the game ranked No. 5 nationally and boasted the Heisman Trophy frontrunner in quarterback Kyle Orton. The Boilers led 17-14 late in the fourth quarter when Orton, running for a key first down, lost the ball. Wisconsin's Scott Starks recovered and raced 40 yards for a touchdown. Purdue never recovered that season.

7. Spartans win in Clockgate -- Nov. 3, 2001: Michigan State beat archrival Michigan 26-24 as Jeff Smoker found T.J. Duckett in the end zone with no time remaining. Many believe the Spartans shouldn't have had a chance to run the final play, as the clock could have expired before Smoker spiked the ball on third down.

8. Deaths of Walker and Hoeppner -- June 29, 2006 and June 19, 2007: The Big Ten tragically lost head coaches Randy Walker (Northwestern) and Terry Hoeppner (Indiana). Walker died suddenly of a heart attack weeks before training camp, while Hoeppner lost a battle with brain cancer almost exactly one year later.

9. Michigan beats Penn State on final play -- Oct. 15, 2005: Penn State's quest for a perfect season and a national championship ended on the final play at Michigan Stadium. Chad Henne found Mario Manningham for a 10-yard score as Michigan handed Penn State its only loss.

10. Krenzel to Jenkins on fourth down, Nov. 9, 2002: Ohio State's national title hopes teetered as the offense faced fourth-and-1 with less than two minutes left against Purdue. On a call that surprised everyone, Craig Krenzel threw to Michael Jenkins for a 37-yard touchdown as the Buckeyes rallied for a 10-6 win and went on to the championship.