Hawkeye fans take over San Diego ahead of Holiday Bowl

Iowa fans have shown up to San Diego in droves ahead of Friday's Holiday Bowl.


Shivansh Ahuja

The Hawkeye Marching Band performs during the Hawkeye Huddle at the Hilton San Diego Bay Front on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

San Diego isn’t usually a hotbed for Iowa football fans.

When all the action takes place in Iowa City and surrounding Big Ten campuses, it doesn’t need to be.

But its role changed this week.

The Hawkeyes will take on USC in the Holiday Bowl on Friday, and San Diego could not represent that more.

If one walks the streets in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, it’s likely they will find plenty of Iowa fans.

“When you can go halfway across the country and still be with the same type of people when you’re in Iowa City, it’s pretty cool,” said Ken Beyer, the father of Iowa tight end Shaun Beyer. “They travel well.”

The National I-Club, the University of Iowa’s fundraising program for intercollegiate athletics, held a Hawkeye Huddle in San Diego on Thursday, 24 hours before the Hawkeyes take the field.

The event, which was free to all, served as a gathering place for Hawkeye fans who made the trip to the Holiday Bowl.

The Huddle served beer and wine and featured a performance from the Hawkeye Marching Band and a live radio broadcast by Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak.

It also had black and gold. Plenty of it.

“Being in this ballroom right now is like being in Iowa City because of the sheer number of Iowa fans,” Craig Paulsen said. “The greatest thing about Iowa fans is they’re true football fans. Whether good or bad, they will travel with the team. They will show up in mass at the bowl games, and they will be enthusiastic when they’re doing it.”

Along with the location, the opponent also helps.

USC is widely considered to be a name-brand opponent that receives plenty of national recognition.

The Trojans own 11 national titles with their most recent coming in 2004 led by the likes of quarterback Matt Leinert and running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

That matchup helps fuel the Hawkeyes on the trip.

“For Iowa fans, to see them watch them play an opponent like USC, that’s a good bowl game for us because USC is such a great program,” Paulsen said. “Whether we’re up or down, it’s just a good game, and San Diego is a great place to host a game like that.”

With a city on the West Coast filled with Iowa fans, the bowl experience has turned out to be a memorable experience.

“I am not a people person,” Iowa City resident Joey Steggall said. “I don’t need big crowds, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me, so I’m going to live it up. If anybody’s questioning, do it, because it’s a fun experience.”

View more photos from the Hawkeye Huddle


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