INSIDE IOWA

Trash talk doesn't faze Iowa

Gabby Gators


Published: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 1:18 a.m.

TAMPA - Iowa offensive lineman Robert Gallery offered a chuckle when he put his best analysis on Thursday's Outback Bowl.

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Wide receiver Maurice Brown - celebrating after his first-quarter touchdown - and his Iowa teammates let their play do most of the talking in their 37-17 win over Florida.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun

"They've got a lot of great athletes, great recruits," the 2003 Outland Trophy winner said. "And we're just a bunch of hicks from Iowa."

Those hicks from the cornfields of the Midwest took much satisfaction from winning a game few expected them to. No. 13 Iowa came into the game as a 3-point underdog and was given less of a chance than that. But Gallery said the Hawkeyes came to Tampa with a purpose. They went to bed early. They practiced hard.

Still, he felt, no one noticed.

"The only people who thought we were going to win this game were the Iowa fans," Gallery said. "But to beat them in their state and silence those critics who didn't think we were going to win feels good."

The Hawkeyes seemed to think the Gators were included among those critics. Iowa's players said afterward they were shocked by the amount of trash talking coming from the Gators.

Even when they were behind.

It started when Florida went into its standard pre-kickoff dance on the sideline. Iowa quarterback Nathan Chandler half-jokingly said: "Yeah, I was pretty intimidated."

The Gators didn't seem to be running their mouths much more than usual during the game, but Iowa couldn't stop talking about it afterward.

"There was a lot of talking coming from their side," Gallery said. "I think they were talking a little more trash than we had seen from anyone all season. But we knew talking wasn't going to win this game for us. We had to do our talking with our pads."

Gallery said that even after Iowa went ahead 37-10, the Gators kept going at it, jawing and celebrating after plays.

"That's part of sports," Gallery said. "Some people like to run their mouths. But if I was down by that much, I'd be quiet. But that's football."

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he was proud of his team for not talking back.

"I think our guys have been good sports all year long," Ferentz said. "I'm not saying nobody else was. But I'm just saying our guys try to play football. We don't have much to talk about, quite frankly, so we just try to go out and play a good game."

Iowa suddenly does have a lot to talk about. The Hawkeyes have posted back-to-back 10-win seasons and seem to be gaining more national attention. Maybe now, the Hawkeyes say, people will notice them.

"It feels great knowing how bad we were when I came in," Gallery, a senior, said. "It feels good to put us back on the map."

You can reach Brandon Zimmerman at 374-5051 or zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

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