Iowa had lost 12 games in a row. UCLA was ranked 12th. And first-year Iowa coach Bob Commings was going against Dick Vermeil, who would later lead the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title. Not a matchup made in Hawkeye heaven … on paper.
Iowa had opened the 1974 season with a 24-7 loss at Michigan, so this was Commings’ home debut in a stadium where he once played as a scrappy, undersized lineman for Forest Evashevski. And those who were at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 21 saw one of the biggest upsets in school history. Iowa 21, UCLA 10. “Gentlemen,” Vermeil told his team in the locker room afterward, “you have just lost to the worst team in America.” Harsh, but hard to put up much of an argument there. Commings’ words to his team were much more spirited. “Now you have a chance to show people all over America what desire and determination can prove,” Commings said. “It may be that you are the chosen children.” Rob Fick’s touchdown passes of 30 yards to Dave Jackson and 25 yards to Mark Fetter gave Iowa a 14-3 halftime lead. The Bruins fumbled six times and lost three of them. Hawkeye fans tore down the goalposts when the game ended. “There were 22 heroes out there today,” Fick said. “And the biggest hero of them all was on the sidelines: Bob Commings.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football