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Game still most important aspect, but homecoming means more

BY DANNY PAYNE | OCTOBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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Let’s get this straight — the most important thing about Iowa’s Homecoming Week is the football game scheduled to take place on the turf at Kinnick Stadium at 11 a.m. Saturday.

With that out of the way, that doesn’t mean the fanfare surrounding the game isn’t worth noting. Homecoming means some former Iowa players will be in town to take in the Hawkeye’s game against Indiana. Among those are Drew Tate, Keenan Davis, and James Vandenberg.

Tate will be honored on the field as an honorary captain before kickoff, while Davis and Vandenberg said they would be in the bleachers.

“There isn’t one time I’ve been up in the stands that I haven’t wished I could tie up the cleats and go down there and play with them,” Davis said.

While one half of the former Vandenberg-to-Davis battery has been to a few games since their senior seasons in 2012, Saturday will mark the quarterback’s first time in Kinnick for a game since his Senior Day.

At this time last year, Vandenberg said, he was working out for NFL teams. He’s now married and working. He said he’s headed to the game with his family and will meet up with some of his former teammates.

“Really, I’m not totally familiar with how it works. I’m going to be introduced to that [Saturday],” Vandenberg said. “It’ll be fun; I’ve caught almost all of the games on TV, so being back in Kinnick will be cool.”

While Vandenberg, Tate, and Davis will watch the game in person, other former players, such as Brad Banks and Matt Roth, will watch from the comfort of their living rooms.

The latter was at the Iowa State game earlier this season, when the 2004 team was honored, but he won’t be able to make it back for this contest.

Both former Hawkeyes said they’re excited to see how Iowa’s two-quarterback system will pan out. Roth said it’s atypical for teams to use two pocket passers and is interested as to how it will work, but he did admit he likes C.J. Beathard over Jake Rudock.

Above all, however, the former Iowa players said now that they’re no longer wearing the black and gold uniform, they can sit back and enjoy the action on the field.

“It’s pretty fun to watch. You put yourself in the players’ shoes, and you know exactly what everybody is going through. You can guess what the coaches are saying; it’s pretty fun,” Davis said. “… It’s something that every alumni wanted back right away when they’re gone.”

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa football team.


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