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Sports Then and Now



Toe to Toe: Iowa Vs. Penn State in College Football’s Top 25 3

Posted on October 01, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa vs. Penn State in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Hawkeye fans sense there is something not quite copacetic about the upcoming game with the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night in Kinnick Stadium before a sellout crowd.

The truth is that being favored over the Lions just does not seem to sit well with the Iowa faithful. It makes fans a bit uneasy. Being the underdog for all these years seemed to suit the team better—giving them something to strive for.

That is not to say that Iowa fans do not appreciate how hard the Hawkeyes have worked to make into the upper echelons of college football—but as fans, we grew used to being the perennial underdogs to the Big Boys in the Big Ten.

Maybe, like the media, we always hesitate to give the Iowa football team the nod, that ultimate vote of confidence—expecting them to suffer that giant step back instead of marching forward into the winner’s circle.

Saturday’s game should prove something once and for all because Iowa has practically owned Penn State since the year 2000, losing only once to the Nittany Lions. What has made the difference on many occasions as the game came down to the wire, has been the play of the Iowa special teams.

As they are in any football game, special teams will be important in this contest,—because when the clock ticks down in the fourth quarter, it is special teams and their turnovers pro and con that can make the difference.

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Best Players Not In the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Special Teams 6

Posted on August 06, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Brian Mitchell is the NFL's all-time leader in kickoff, punt and total return yards.

Brian Mitchell is the NFL's all-time leader in kickoff, punt and total return yards.

We conclude the position-by-position look at the best eligible players not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by looking at the top special teams players who have not yet earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

While special teams has long been considered an important element of winning football, special teams players have never really received much recognition or respect.

It doesn’t take long to call roll for the special teams players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There is only one player in the Hall of Fame, kicker Jan Stenerud, who never played on either offense or defense.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

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