Dennis Mosley: Best Hawkeye performance ever against ISU?

Pat Harty
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Dennis Mosely

Editor's note: This is the third story in our Top 7 series, which will run the day of each of the Hawkeyes' seven home games.

Hayden Fry arrived in Iowa City just in time to save Dennis Mosley from being just another Iowa running back.

Mosley was entering his senior season when Fry was hired in December 1978 to rebuild what was considered one of the worst major college football programs in the country. Iowa hadn't had a winning season since 1961 and Mosley, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, had only combined to rush for 866 yards in his first three seasons as a Hawkeye.

Iowa fell one victory short of ending the streak of non-winning seasons in 1979, finishing 5-6 in Fry's first season, but Mosley became a star that fall, partly at the expense of Iowa State.

A former track star in high school, Mosley shredded the Cyclones for a career-high 229 rushing yards and three touchdowns during a 30-14 victory on Sept. 29, 1979, at Kinnick Stadium.

In addition to giving Fry his first victory as the Iowa coach, Mosley's performance also ranks as arguably the greatest individual performance by an Iowa player against Iowa State.

"He's a track man who has turned into a complete football player," Fry told the Daily Iowan after the game.

Mosley wasn't considered a power back by any means, nor was he a big running back — he was listed at 6-foot, 185-pounds — but he had 39 rushing attempts against the Cyclones in 1979, which was a school record at the time.

"Lord have mercy," Mosley said after the game. "I've had teams not even snap the ball that many times."

Mosley's performance ranks sixth all-time on Iowa's single-game rushing list. He went on to rush for 1,267 yards and scored 12 touchdowns that season, his rushing total ranking seventh all-time at Iowa.

Mosley's biggest moment before his breakthrough senior season in 1979 came two years earlier, also came at the expense of Iowa State. Iowa won the much-anticipated game in 1977, which marked the renewal of the series, 12-10 thanks in large part to Mosley's 77-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

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Other standout Iowa performances against Iowa State

No. 2: Tony Stewart

When: Sept. 24, 1988.

Where: Kinnick Stadium.

Score: Iowa 10, Iowa State 3.

Star performance: The Cyclones kept the score close for the first time since 1982, but they had no answer for Iowa sophomore running back Tony Stewart, who grinded his way to a career-high 194 rushing yards on 32 carries.

No. 3: Tavian Banks

When: Sept. 24, 1996.

Where: Kinnick Stadium.

Score: Iowa 38, Iowa State 13.

Star performance: Junior running back Tavian Banks seized the spotlight from senior starter Sedrick Shaw by rushing for 182 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Banks showed his big-play capability by racing 89 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first quarter.

No. 4: Kevin Harman

When: Sept. 19, 1987.

Where: Ames.

Score: Iowa 49, Iowa State 9.

Star performance: Kevin Harmon had a performance that was reminiscent of his older brother, Ronnie Harmon, shredding the Cyclones for a career-high 182 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries.

No. 5: Tim Dwight

When: Sept. 20, 1997.

Where: Ames.

Score: Iowa 63, Iowa State 20.

Star performance: Senior Tim Dwight caught eight passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns, giving Iowa its 15th consecutive victory over Cyclones. It was Dwight's second highest total for receiving yards in a game as a Hawkeye, surpassed only by his 188-yard performance against Northwestern in 1996. However, when asked what he remembers most about that game, the former City High standout thought of somebody else. "I remember Tavian going 80 (yards) on the first play of the game," Dwight said of former Iowa running back Tavian Banks. Dwight's recollection was close to being accurate as Banks scored from 82 yards on the second play from scrimmage. Banks also made the list, but not for his performance in this game. He made it for his performance against the Cyclones in 1996.

No. 6: Scott Helverson

When: Sept. 28, 1985

Where: Ames

Score: Iowa 57, Iowa State 3

Star performance: There were plenty to choose from, but senior receiver Scott Helverson stood out for catching eight passes for a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns.

No. 7: Jim Mauro

When: Sept. 13, 1986

Where: Where: Kinnick Stadium

Score: Iowa 43, Iowa State 7

Star performance: Little known walk-on receiver Jim Mauro enjoyed a rare moment in the spotlight by catching three touchdown passes. The former West Des Moines Dowling standout finished with five catches for a career-high 149 yards. Mauro entered the game with four catches for 114 yards in his Hawkeye career.