Q&A: Lion-killer Daniel Murray


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Daily Iowan: What memories do you have of your kick that beat Penn State in 2008?

Daniel Murray: It brings back some good moments in terms of the overall game and my career at Iowa. It was something that I think kind of defined me, in a sense. It's what 90 percent of people probably remember me for. It's good to hear that people still remember it. It was an exciting time — not only for me, but also the program in terms of what we were able to do the rest of that year and then going into the next year with the Orange Bowl.

DI: You were in a back-and-forth competition with teammate Trent Mossbrucker all season for the kicking job. When did you find out you would be kicking that one?

Murray: I was told before the game I was kicking any field goals longer than 25 yards. It wasn't actually until there was 1:30 left on the clock that they finally came to me and told me I was going to kick it regardless. I had maybe a minute to prepare for it, which might have been better because it didn't allow me to really think about it too much.

DI: What were your thoughts as you stepped onto the field before the kick?

Murray: I was actually pretty calm once I was out on the field. It puts you out there by yourself; you don't have to deal with the noise of everyone wishing you good luck and patting you on the back and stuff. The whole kick kind of just happened. I don't even really remember a lot of it. I don't know if it's because of adrenaline or not.

DI: How soon did you know the kick was good?

Murray: I pretty much knew right as I kicked it. I caught a peek of it and saw it was heading down the middle, and I took off and celebrated.

DI: Your celebration ended with a slide. Was that the plan?

Murray: It was more of a spur-of-the-moment thing. I actually joked around with people saying I was running, and I couldn't run around forever, so I had to do something. I guess that was the first thing to come to mind. [Laughs]

DI: Does it bother you to be remembered largely because of one moment?

Murray: I think it's kind of something to be proud of. From the kicking position standpoint, that's what you live and die by. I don't mind it at all. I'd rather be remembered for a make than a miss.

DI: What did that win do for the team moving forward? (Iowa finished 9-4, winning the Outback Bowl. The next season, Iowa went 11-2 with an Orange Bowl victory.) Was it any sweeter after you guys suffered a few close defeats that season?

Murray: I think it just gave the team confidence in terms of finishing games, and going onto the next year when we were able to win a lot of those close games at the end. It was almost kind of a monkey off the back. Getting just one to kind of clear our nerves about everything at the end of the game was very beneficial for us.

DI: Why has Iowa been so successful against Penn State during Kirk Ferentz's coaching tenure?

Murray: I think it's just the preparation we put in. I don't know if there's any special formula against them. Overall, the preparation and the time everyone puts in and just the recent success kind of puts an extra little emphasis on the game.

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