A second chance in '86 equals Iowa's 18th-best football win

Rick Brown
Rob Houghtlin wasn't about to miss a clinching field goal twice against Minnesota in 1986.

The Iowa-Minnesota series covers 107 games.

But never has the battle for Floyd of Rosedale ended the way the border duel of Nov. 22, 1986, did at the Metrodome. It led to a whole new batch of mathematically challenged Minnesota jokes.

Iowa trailed 17-0 at halftime. But Iowa coach Hayden Fry's halftime speech worked magic.

"The way he spoke to us, it was almost like we were winning the game," receiver Robert Smith said.

A 49-yard field goal by Rob Houghtlin and Peter Marciano's 89-yard punt return for a touchdown gave Iowa a third-quarter spark. The Hawkeyes would eventually take a 27-24 lead, but Minnesota's Chip Lohmiller tied it up with a 49-yarder of his own with 63 seconds remaining in the game. Lohmiller also made a school-record 62-yarder in the second quarter.

This game was played before overtime was part of college football. It was destined to end in a 27-27 stalemate when Houghtlin missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt with five ticks remaining. But that's where math became the deciding factor.

The Gophers had 12 men on the field for the kick. A television shot of the Minnesota sideline showed coaches frantically trying to sneak a player off the field. A 15-yard penalty later, Houghtlin drilled a second-chance kick listed at 37 yards for the victory.

"I sure was lucky, going from goat to hero in a matter of minutes," Houghtlin said.

Take a look at the sequence below.