Bowled Over--Hawkeyes lose the game, but fans have fun

Wherever the Iowa football team makes a postseason appearance, Hawkeye fans are sure to flock — and with the black and gold flowing recently in Tempe, Ariz., the 2011 season proved to be no exception.

About 7,000 fans purchased tickets to the 2011 Insight Bowl via the UI ticket office, while many thousands more made their way to the Dec. 30 game at Sun Devil Stadium through other vendors. The Hawkeyes had been the defending Insight Bowl champions after upsetting No. 12 Missouri, 27-24, in 2010, but were unable to keep the title in 2011. Iowa lost to the No. 19 University of Oklahoma Sooners, 31-14, snapping a school-record string of three consecutive bowl game victories.

University Communication and Marketing photographer Bill Adams tagged along on the UI Alumni Association’s bowl game tour, Dec. 29-31, and captured what it’s like to be a Hawkeye on the road. Some 160 Iowa fans joined the tour.

In addition to bowl game packages, the UI Alumni Association organizes other athletic tours, which this year includes the Masters Golf Tournament in April and the Kentucky Derby in May. To learn more, visit

Click on the images below to see a slide show of some of Adams' favorite shots.

photos by Bill Adams

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A group from the UI Alumni Association bowl trip poses by a Tigerhawk light on the way to the Hawkeye Huddle on the eve of the Insight Bowl. Those in attendance enjoyed cash refreshments and concessions, special guest speakers, video highlights, the Hawkeye Marching Band, cheerleaders, dance team, and Herky.The crowd welcomes parents of the UI football team to the stage at the Hawkeye Huddle, an event hosted by the National I-Club and the UI Alumni at the Phoenix Convention Center South Ballroom in downtown Phoenix.Longtime fixture of the Hawkeye sports scene Jim Zabel (B.A. ’44) attended the 2011 Insight Bowl festivities, and signed copies of his book, 65 Years of Fun and Games: I Love It! I Love It! I Love It! For nearly half a century, the UI graduate provided play-by-play commentary on Hawkeye football and men’s basketball games on WHO-AM radio in Des Moines. He now is employed by the station as a talk-show host, and splits his time between Arizona and Iowa.A couple poses in the oversized football helmet at the Hawkeye Huddle. The helmet was later auctioned for charity.The headgear of a true Hawkeye fan?A UI cheerleader dances at the pep rally portion of the Hawkeye Huddle.

Vince Nelson, president and CEO of the UI Alumni Association, shares the stage with a blow-up Herky while making announcements at the pregame tailgate.A lone Hawkeye flag flies outside Sun Devil Stadium before the Insight Bowl. Kickoff was at 8 p.m. local time, forcing many Iowa fans watching on TV to stay up late.Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz walks the field as the team stretches and warms up before the Insight Bowl.A Hawkeye fan shows his support at the Insight Bowl.A parachuter flying a Hawkeye flag does a precision landing in the middle of Sun Devil Stadium before kickoff.

The Hawkeye swarm takes the field before the start of the Insight Bowl.A UI cheerleader dances during halftime at the Insight Bowl. The Iowa flags fly after the Hawkeyes score their first touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter.The Insight Bowl trophies arrive, ready for the presentation after the game.The game was delayed for a few minutes late in the fourth quarter after ESPN’s sky camera came crashing down to the field, narrowly missing senior Hawkeye wide receiver Marvin McNutt. No one was hurt.

Hawkeye fan Breanna Zink watches Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg walk to the sidelines after an injury in the final minutes of the game. The Hawks scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull within seven points, but the Sooners prevailed.Junior quarterback James Vandenberg sits on the bench in the final minutes of the game. Although the Iowa offense outgained Oklahoma, 292-275 — with Vandenberg completing 23 of 44 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns — the yardage advantage was not enough to help Iowa win the game.


© The University of Iowa 2009