While there was so much focus in these parts on Iowa’s failure Saturday in its 32-31 loss to Central Michigan Saturday, something else got ignored.
Namely, the Chippewas were terrific. They gave a performance that was impressive, and dare I say it, inspiring.
CMU senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff has started every game for the last three seasons, but was probably never better than against the Hawkeyes. The poise and the vision he showed were that of a winner.
The fellow who kicked the game-winning 47-yard field goal — not long after his perfect on-side kick — was David Harman.
“David Harman, you guys don’t know him, but he’s an unbelievable young man,” said Chippewas Coach Dan Enos.
“When I got the job two years ago, in spring practice he was probably the third or fourth kicker. I didn’t even know who he was for a week or two and I was like ‘Who is this guy?’
“It’s a true story. He was a walk-on and he didn’t have a very strong leg. He works, he’s tough.
“Then in the second ballgame of that first year, we lost two kickers to injuries. Who’d that ever happen to? Nobody but us. Then we had to put him in the game. Against Temple in the fourth quarter, it was 10-7 and he kicked a field goal to go to overtime. And I knew right then this guy’s got the mindset and he’s got the determination. And last year he kicked very well for us.
“He physically — if you lined him up against other kickers he’s probably not going to look great, but I’ll put him out there with anybody because he’s tough and he believe in himself. He’s a competitor.”
Harman’s onside kick was off a play the CMU coaches call “Houdini.” Which is beautiful in itself.
CMU has kickers lining up on each side of the ball, giving the receiving team no idea which one will kick it, let alone where the ball will end up going.
“It’s something we’ve worked on for many, many weeks,” Enos said.
“Our football office guy, Plas Presnell, who’s a longtime coach — he’s been there 30-some years. He’s been a coach, now he’s in administration operations. It was his scheme that he taught us to implement. It was totally him.
“I kept saying ‘When are we gonna use this?’ He’d laugh and say ‘It might come up someday, Coach.’
“To beat a team like that on the road you’ve got to have something like that happen.”
Central Michigan’s win was built on the back of preparation, determination, and self-belief. Are those not the things we cherish about sports?
For the comments section on this one post, would you all be kind enough to not turn this into something darker? Let’s honor a job well done by Central Michigan. Not every underdog has its day. But this one certainly did.