IOWA CITY — As Iowa kicked off the 2019 football season Saturday night, there was a new twist to an entrance tradition celebrating its 40th anniversary.
It was 40 years ago new coach Hayden Fry introduced the “swarm’’ to fans attending games at Kinnick Stadium, an entrance that began on Sept. 8, 1979 when the Hawkeyes took the field for a season-opening game against Indiana.
Taking the field as a group, jogging while holding hands in a sign of solidarity, Iowa football teams have entered the field of competition that way ever since.
Fry said at the time it was a way to build a team.
In addition to an entrance now accompanied at home by the playing of AC/DC’s Back in Black, the Hawkeyes this year for the first time entered through a newly-decorated entrance tunnel.
Walls that were simply cement since the south end zone of Kinnick Stadium was rebuilt in 2005 are now a glossy black with the words Iowa edge, Together, Physical, Smart and Swarm in bold gold lettering and a back-lit Back in Black at the end of the tunnel used to reach the field.
The remake was paid for by the Hawkeye Legacy program formed by former Iowa players.
“It’s first class,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “The players were excited to see that. It’s something that kind of lifted their spirits at the end of camp. They’re eager to swarm out of that tunnel. We’re appreciative of everybody that made that a reality.’’
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SHORT START: Alaric Jackson’s night ended almost before it began.
The junior offensive tackle suffered a right knee injury on the Hawkeyes’ second offensive possession of the game, leaving the field with 4 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the opening quarter and eventually walking to the locker room with the help of crutches.
Kyler Schott, a sophomore, entered the game at a guard position and Levi Paulsen shifted to Jackson’s spot at tackle initially. By the second quarter, redshirt freshman Cody Ince entered the game at guard as Jackson watched from the sideline.
FIRST GAME, FIRST ACTION: Justin Britt became the first true freshman to see action for Iowa this year.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from Indianapolis saw action on Iowa’s field goal squad in the first quarter to help the Hawkeyes to an early 3-0 lead.
REMEMBERING BULLOCK: Iowa players wore a decal with “DB5” on their helmets Saturday.
The decal is in memory of former Hawkeye running back Damon Bullock, who rushed for 1,074 yards on 290 carries before completing his Iowa career in 2014 and died in March.
FOOTBALL AND BREWS: Iowa’s newly-completed north end zone grandstand was open for its first game Saturday, an $89 million project which included the stadium’s first loge boxes and a club seating area. Beer and wine, which have been available for purchase in suites on Kinnick Stadium’s west side, are now also available for the first time to fans seated in the loge and club areas in the north grandstand. Those are not available to fans seated in remainder of the facility.