A trip down memory lane
Expectations were low, even for Iowa football fans, going into the 1968 season. The 1967 Ray Nagel led Hawks had won their opener over TCU and then lost eight of the last nine to finish at 1-8-1.
After an opening win against the Oregon State Beavers on September 21 in Iowa City, the Hawks traveled to Fort Worth where TCU avenged their loss to the '67 Hawkeyes.
The last Big Ten tune up game was played in Iowa Stadium on October 5 and the opponent would be the highly ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. (Note: This is the last game the Irish would play against the Hawks. Also note how late the seasons started in the "old days." Iowa will have played its sixth game when they play at Purdue this October 8th.)
Notre Dame was a perennial power in the 1960s. From 1964 through 1969 UND never finished out of the top five.
The Irish featured the all-American pass and catch trio of Terry Hanratty and Jim Seymour and Jack Snow. Also on the roster was a sophomore QB named Joe Theismann. This was back before some member of the UND P.R. department urged him to change the pronunciation of his name to rhyme with Heisman.
Iowa came into the season led by QB Ed Podolak. In 1966 Eddie was second in total offense to Bob Griese but he went down to a mid-season injury in 1967.
The 1968 Hawkeyes were happy to have their leader back, but that feeling would be short lived as Podolak suffered a concussion in the opener and then again in the second game at TCU.
So here came the mighty Irish and quarterbacking the Hawks would be sophomore Larry Lawrence. At that time, freshmen were not eligible for varsity play, so in his third game of varsity action Lawrence would get the start against Notre Dame.
Lawrence got the Hawkeyes rolling early on with a 38 yard T pass to Dennis Green (yes, that Dennis Green). Marcos Melendez added the extra point and Iowa led early.
The Irish would answer with a pair of touchdowns with Hanratty running for one and throwing one to running back, Bob Gladieux. It looked like the Irish were beginning to roll, but the Hawkeyes weren't ready to be rolled and they tied the game when Green scored on a nine yard run.
From that point on the vaunted Irish did indeed roll and they outscored Iowa 17-0 before Lawrence scored from a yard out. Three more UND touchdowns finished off the Hawks, but reserve QB, Mike Cilek gave the die-hards a reason to stay and cheer with a 36 yard pass to Kerry Reardon which ended the scoring at 51-28.
Iowa would finish the season at 5-5-1 and tied for 5th in the Big Ten with a 4-3 record. Ed Podolak would return, but as a halfback in place of an injured Dennis Green. He'd go on to have one the best seasons in Iowa history, setting new records for yards rushing in a season and most yards rushing in a game. The latter record was broken almost 30 years later by Tavian Banks. Guard Jon Meskimen joined Podolak on the all-Big Ten first team
Other players of note:
Sophomore WR Kerry Reardon would get a cup of coffee with Kansas City. He also shared punting duties with Podolak.
Charles Podolak was a soph DT from Atlantic.
The following two players were on the freshman roster.
Craig Clemons-future Chicago Bear and renowned big hitter.
Rich Solomon-Long time Dennis Green assistant coach.
Larry Lawrence's father, Ted was the freshman coach.
Iowa Two deeps-Note that Podolak was listed as starting QB in the program.
QB-Ed Podolak 6-1, 193, Larry Lawrence 6-2, 193
TB-Denny Green 5-11, 188, William Powell 5-10, 175
WB-Barry Crees 5-11, 170, Kerry Reardon 6-0, 176
FB-Tim Sullivan 6-2, 221, Tom Wallace 6-0, 203
QE-Allan Bream 6-3, 196, John Hayes 6-2, 194
QT-Paul Laaveg 6-3, 225, James Miller 6-2, 222
QG-Larry Ely 6-1, 225 Louis Age 6-3, 211
C-Don Sibery 6-0, 215, Greg McManus 6-3, 228
PG-Jon Meskimen 5-11, 226, Charles Legler 6-2, 220
PT-Melvin Morris 6-2, 235, Tom Haugo 6-4, 222
PE-Ray Manning 6-4, 193, Herschel Epps 6-4, 200
RE-Kenneth Price 6-2, 197, Scott Miller 6-2, 204
RT-Layne McDowell 6-4, 237, Duane Grant 6-4, 230
MG-Greg Allison 6-1, 225, Charles Carpenter 6-2, 211
LT-Mike Edwards 6-4, 228, Richard Stepanek 6-5, 238
LE-Dan McDonald 6-3, 220, Bill Bevill 6-3, 215
LLB-Rod Barnhart 6-2, 203, David Brooks 6-3, 199
RLB-Mike Phillips 6-1, 232, Dave Clement 6-0, 203
R-Charles Bolden 6-3, 190, Coleman Lane 6-0, 183
LHB-Ray Churchill 5-10, 188, Chris Hamilton 6-2, 188
RHB-Racior Cavole 5-11, 175, Pat Dunnigan 6-2, 189
S-Steve Wilson 6-1, 178, Roy Bash 6-2, 195.