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What Hayden Fry did to fool Hawkeye fans in 1981

[ 0 ] November 5, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Kirk Ferentz was in his first season as Iowa’s offensive line coach in 1981 when the Hawkeyes ended a 20-game losing streak to Purdue.

“That is hard to believe,” Ferentz said of losing 20 straight to a team. “It’s hard to believe you don’t have a winning season for 19 years, too, but it happened.”

Both those streaks ended in 1981. Iowa went 8-4, its first winning season since a 5-4 campaign under Jerry Burns in 1961. In their third season under Hayden Fry, the Hawkeyes polished off Purdue in the ninth game of the 1981 season at Kinnick Stadium, 33-7. Iowa went on to lose in the Rose Bowl to Washington, 28-0.

“If I remember it, we were up against it pretty good,” said Ferentz, who takes his team to Purdue Saturday. “I think we were coming off two losses.”

Iowa had lost at home to Minnesota, 12-10, and at Illinois, 24-7, but the Purdue victory was the first of three straight victories to end the regular season.

“Probably the biggest thing I remember is we created a new formation,” Ferentz said of the Purdue game. “We just moved our backs up a little bit, really didn’t change the offense at all, and the fans went crazy. Everybody thought it was something new. It really wasn’t, but Coach Fry was the master of disguise again. The big thing is we played well enough to get it done.”


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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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