Impressions: MSU at Iowa

Kinnick_medium

Once again, who visits another stadium and forgets to bring a non-cell phone camera?  This guy.

So, right off the bat: the game was not good.  So bad that by halftime, I was resigned to defeat; by the time I walked out of the stadium, I already had nearly two hours to get over it, and so I wasn't all that upset about the whole thing.  I was a little miffed that we didn't improve much in the second half -- Cousins' third interception right after the half was a nice touch -- but it wouldn't have made a difference.  MSU played horribly, but it hardly mattered because even if we played well, Iowa still would have romped.  It was that kind of day. 

There may or may not be Biggies and Slappies this week, because, really, what's the point?  Nobody played very well for MSU, and nearly everyone played poorly.  I can't blame the wide receivers much, and that's probably it.  Iowa's defense was obviously fantastic, though not necessarily because of their star players.  I thought Adrian Clayborn didn't do a whole lot, but Mike Daniels was Iowa's best defensive player during the first half.  Similarly, Karl Klug was fantastic in the second half.  Basically, the Hawkeyes' interior defensive linemen shredded MSU's offensive line.

Anyway, the less said about the game, the better.  About the trip itself: if you have the chance to go to a game in Iowa City, do it.  The stadium is great, the fans are friendly, and the tailgating is really fantastic.  Bullets, after the jump.

  • I can't say very much about the Iowa campus or downtown Iowa City, because we only drove through there.  The stadium is located a decent distance away from campus, and it's a long walk from the bars to the stadium.  From what I saw of the campus, it looked nice, if unremarkable.  The general feeling was quite Ann Arbor-ish, in that there's very little demarcation between city and campus.
  • Consequently, almost all of the pre-game partying is done at houses or tailgates.  The first place my friend and I stopped was the RV lot -- which, unlike at MSU, is located right next to the stadium.  RV tailgating is apparently a big, big thing at Iowa; the lot was full of giant motor homes, each more opulent than the last.  The tailgate I went to was professionally catered, and featured a giant flatscreen TV.  Iowa fans take this stuff seriously.  Later, we went a friend's house on Melrose Avenue -- the street on which Kinnick Stadium is located -- and did the usual grilling, drinking games, etc.  In sum, great tailgating.  But if you go, parking is weird unless you have a pass; plan on spending a bunch of money parking in someone's front or backyard.  (Much like Notre Dame.)
  • Iowa fans were generally great and hospitable; not a single person said anything nasty to me all day long.  (Then again, I'm 6'6" and was accompanied by a Hawkeye fan, so YMMV)  Certainly a major contrast to my last few experiences in Columbus, Ann Arbor, and Madison.  There was one fight in my section between a couple of MSU fans and a couple Iowa fans, but they seemed equally at fault.  Also, the "overrated" chant was heard all day; it's still the stupidest chant in sports, but if there ever was a time where it was justified . . . Saturday was the day.  You'll find nicer fans at Notre Dame, and nowhere else.
  • Kinnick Stadium isn't the most visually impressive in the world, but the sightlines are great and the fans are loud.  They also show up on time.  The picture above was taken right before the Iowa band started the pregame show, and 1) the Iowa student section was 80% full (top left corner of the picture), and 2) nearly everyone else was inside the stadium, too.  As I said, it gets pretty loud in there.  It wasn't nearly the loudest environment I've been in, but the game was also over midway through the second quarter.  If it was tight late in the game, I'm certain it would have been very, very noisy.  Conversely, the Iowa band is boring and impossible to hear.  The exterior of the stadium is very nice.  When Iowa renovated their facade, they (unlike MSU) didn't stop at the press box side; the entire facade is brick, and looks great.  Hopefully they'll do this to Spartan Stadium soon.
  • There's a food stand, across the street from the stadium, called "Big Ass Turkey Legs."  No, seriously:

    5465881-big_ass_turkey_leg-0_medium
  • If you have the chance to go, go.  Everything but the game (and granted, that's a pretty big "but") was great.
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