Good Hawkeye reception


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For the Iowa Hawkeyes, any win over a storied program such as Michigan is special. Fans storming the field demonstrated how special after the 12th-ranked Hawkeyes defeated the Wolverines on Oct. 10, 30-28.

The victory over Michigan was the first Homecoming win in three seasons, and it put Iowa at 6-0 for the first time since the 1985 campaign, which saw the Hawkeyes win the Big Ten and play in the Rose Bowl.

But inside the Iowa locker room, there was a little extra significance after the win. The team presented its game ball to wide receiver/tight end coach Erik Campbell.

The game marked Campbell’s first against his alma mater since joining Kirk Ferentz’s coaching staff in 2008 after a 13-year stint with former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr’s staff.

In addition to being an assistant for Carr, Campbell also played for legendary head coach Bo Schembechler at Michigan during the 1980s.

“I know the whole team,” he said. “I know all the players I recruited over there, and I’ve coached a lot of those guys. I knew the staff and knew all the support people, so it was an emotional game starting off.”

Campbell treated this weekend’s game as he would any other. But receivers such as Colin Sandeman and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos said they noticed a difference in his demeanor throughout the week.

“He kind of played down this whole game, but I think deep down, he really wanted this game more than he told us,” Sandeman said. “It just feels awesome for us to be able to do that for him.”

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Johnson-Koulianos said Campbell’s excitement during the past week was noticeable during practices and team meetings, but the coach was “genuine” in wanting to win this game for the entire team.

“He emphasized to us the importance of going out and making plays, finishing everything 100 percent, and you could really see it in his eyes,” Johnson-Koulianos said. “There was a little something extra this week.”

That emphasis Campbell discussed with his players was evident in third-and-long situations.

Whether it was third and 12, when quarterback Ricky Stanzi found tight end Tony Moeaki for the first of his two scores, a third-and-6 completion to receiver Trey Stross for 33 yards, or a third and 24 when Johnson-Koulianos hauled in a 47-yard reception, the players under Campbell’s guidance put on a display in front of a sold-out Kinnick Stadium.

“We need to do that,” Campbell said. “I told them all week that we need to make plays to keep the drive alive and to keep the momentum going and be able to score points when we needed to score points in this game.”

Campbell’s past will always include the colors maize and blue. But the Black and Gold are glad to have had him on their side and have considered him a “Hawkeye” since the day he set foot in Iowa City and was introduced as one of Ferentz’s assistants.

The team loved being able to give him that game ball.

“With Erik, we’ve got a guy who is an excellent coach, tremendous character, and he’s got a great attitude,” Ferentz said. “It’s infectious with everybody on the team and with the staff, so we lucked out.”

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