Notebook: Meyer rewarded for clutch performance


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Mike Meyer didn’t even get to see the ball sail through the uprights.

He lined up on the slippery Soldier Field turf for a crucial 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter on Sept. 1. As he kicked the ball, his left foot didn’t plant in the grass. It slid out from underneath him, and Meyer fell to the ground.

“I slipped a little, yeah,” he said after the game. “I could only see the top of the post, but I saw the ball coming back around and then I saw Casey Kreiter jumping up and down.”

It was the second kick the Dubuque native has made from 50 yards, and it tied for his longest. It made him the co-Big Ten special-team Player of the Week. And it pulled the Hawkeyes within striking distance of a Damon Bullock touchdown run of a victory.

Holder John Wienke was amazed that Meyer could drill such a long kick while taking a tumble.

“I was kind of shocked, because Mike fell down,” he said on Tuesday. “I remember him kicking it, and then I saw him wipe out and land on his back. I looked, and I saw it went over the upright, and I just put my hands in the air. It was a good field goal.”

Meyer made 4-of-5 kicks against Northern Illinois. He barely missed a 40-yarder in the second quarter, but otherwise performed well in the face of swirling winds. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said Meyer wished he had a perfect day — and that it “made it a little interesting” that he missed once.

But Ferentz was impressed by the way his placekicker responded to the miss.

“The highlight of the whole thing was the way he bounced back from that,” Ferentz said. “Because it’s easy to go in the tank when you miss some [that] you feel like you can make.”

Meyer didn’t just bounce back from one missed kick. He had a down season last year, missing 6-of-20 attempts. But Ferentz said he’s made significant strides since then.

“He’s a much more mature player than he was a year ago or two years ago … So we are not only confident he’s going to be a good player this year, we are counting on that.”

Empty trophy cases irk Hawkeyes

Every time Iowa players enter the Hayden Fry Football Complex this week, they’ll see a poster on the glass door. It shows Iowa State students rushing the field last September after the Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes in triple overtime.

It’s an unusual move for the program. But Iowa is searching for any edge it can get after losing all its “trophy games” last season. The Hawkeyes lost to Minnesota for the second year in a row and dropped games against Iowa State and Nebraska last season.

“The one on the glass door outside has maybe never been there,” quarterback James Vandenberg said. “Obviously, we have four empty trophy cases right now, and we talk about that a lot. That’s just another way to raise awareness.”

The Hawkeyes will have the chance to fill up one of those empty cases on Saturday. But Ferentz said the Iowa-Iowa State game is about more than a trophy.

“Obviously it’s big. I think it’s great for the entire state,” he said. “Especially [because] we don’t have any pro football teams in our state… It’s a big game for everybody, I think, border to border.”

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