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'Just win, baby'

September 2, 2013 - Mike Donahey
"Just win, baby," was the phrase coined by the late Al Davis, principal owner of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League from 1972 to 2011. And that was the Raiders' team motto for many years. At their peak, the Raiders were feared and despised, but knew more often than not, how to win the big games, and three Super Bowl championships are evidence.

And winning is what the Iowa Hawkeye football team desperately needs to do, starting this Saturday against Missouri State. And for many more Saturdays this season.

A seven game losing streak is staring them in the face, complete with a giant exclamation point applied by Northern Illinois in their 30-27 come from behind victory over the Hawkeyes.

Yes, I know Northern Illinois was coming off a 10-2 season, an Orange Bowl berth, and had lost by 1 to Iowa last year at Chicago's Soldier Field. The Huskies outplayed Iowa that day and Saturday.

Ironically, victory was well in hand for the black and gold in Iowa City, but it was not to be. Dropped passes, blown coverages and mistakes across the board helped put the "L" on the board.

"When you've got a chance to make a play, you've got to do it," Iowa running back Mark Weisman said. "Today, we obviously didn't," summed up the game.

Before any reader thinks of shooting out our car windows, enraged by this blog, please bear in mind I've paid my dues as a Hawkeye alum and fan. I met my lovely wife in Iowa City and she too, is an alum. We have a daughter who graduated from Iowa's Pharmacy School and another daughter enrolled as an undergraduate.

I sat through three miserable seasons of 4-28-1 football under Coach Frank Lauterbur , followed by several mediocre seasons by Coach Bob Cummings.

Kirk Ferentz is a class act, and he and coaching staff, over their 14-year tenure, have been responsible for many a good memory, including outstanding former Iowa players on NFL rosters.

But Division I football is a "what have you done for me lately" business, and three consecutive under performing seasons, a four-victory total last year and Saturday's loss means more natives are getting restless. Big time. The sold-out games will be no more.

How to put the angst behind us?

Just win, baby.



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