IOWA CITY, Iowa – One of the biggest roars from Saturday’s crowd at Kinnick Stadium came on a fake field goal. And Iowa kicker Marshall Koehn came up a few yards short of the first down on the play.
The senior from Solon understood and appreciated the Hawkeye fans’ reaction. The team was in control of the game and it was a call from outside of the box, not something that’s been a regular sight in Kirk Ferentz’s 16 years as head coach.
"I thought it was pretty neat. We’re being more aggressive and that the fans are being supportive of that is kind of cool," Koehn said.
Leading 14-0 with a defense that was dominating the opposition, Iowa faced a fourth-and-10 from the Redbirds’ 30-yard line. The field goal unit lined up and long snapper Tyler Kluver delivered the ball to holder Dillon Kidd, who flipped it back to Koehn. The multi-sport high school athlete tucked it away and headed down the left sideline before being driven out of bounds at the 22.
"It was something that got called (by the coaches). It was something that we had been practicing all through camp. So, We thought we had a good look on them. It didn’t work out as well as we planned, but it was kind of fun," Koehn said.
While Illinois State wasn’t surprised, a home crowd used to safe play-calling, erupted as Koehn ran for the marker.
"I’ve heard that," Ferentz said. "Probably won’t be as popular next time it doesn’t work. I’m just going to go out on a ledge and take a shot at that one.
"But just as part of our thinking, back in January and then — January was more personnel related, but after recruiting finished, we tried to go through everything as thoroughly as we possibly could, and I think that’s probably the creation out of that think tank a little bit."
Iowa pulled out the trickery on Koehn’s first field-goal try of the season. After missing his initial three attempts a year ago, he made 12 of his final 13 tries. Still, he wasn’t surprised by Saturday’s fake call.
"It was something we kind of had planned. It was a look that they gave us that we had prepared for," he said.
Koehn ended up with more rushing yards (eight) than dynamic Illinois State Quarterback Tre Roberson (-12).
"I was trying to get every inch that I could with that. I had a couple of guys in my face. I was glad I could make one of them miss but it was fun getting out there and running a little bit," he said.
Koehn said the coaches practiced the play a few times in camp and then brought it back a few times during the week in preparation for Illinois State.