History of Iowa Hawkeyes football

History Of Iowa Hawkeyes Football

History of Iowa Hawkeyes football

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19th century – Origins of Iowa football



Football was first played as a club sport at Iowa in 1872, with intramural games against other colleges played as early as 1882. But it was in 1889 that the University of Iowa first officially recognized a varsity football team, when Iowa challenged Grinnell College to the first intercollegiate football game in the state of Iowa and the first west of the Mississippi River. Grinnell defeated the Hawkeyes, 24-0, and a stone marker still stands in Grinnell Field marking the event.

In 1890, Iowa played its first home game on Iowa Field, losing again to Grinnell, 14-6, but Martin Sampson, the 1889 team captain, blocked a kick and ran 70 yards for the first touchdown in Iowa history. In Iowa’s next game, the Hawks scored 19 touchdowns (worth four points each) and registered the first win in school history, defeating Iowa Wesleyan College, 91-0. In 1891, Iowa won three of its five games to finish with the first winning season in school history.

Two significant events marked Iowa’s 1892 football team. First, school officials hired E.A. Dalton of Princeton for ten days prior to the season to assemble and organize the team, making him Iowa’s first head football coach. Second, Iowa joined its first conference, the Western Interstate University Football Association. Iowa and three other schools, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, agreed to play annually to determine a conference champion.

Iowa decided to forgo hiring a head coach in...
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