Former Iowa quarterback Drew Tate remembers ‘The Catch’ in 2005 Capital One Bowl

Tate lobbed a 56-yard throw to win the 2005 Capital One Bowl. Now, 17 years later, Iowa is returning to Orlando.


Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

A last-second field goal would have won Iowa the 2005 Capital One Bowl.

Instead, a 56-yard, last-second heave for a game-winning, walk-off touchdown provided Hawkeye football fans with one of the most memorable plays in program history. Now, Iowa is preparing to play in its first Orlando bowl game since “The Catch.”

The Daily Iowan interviewed former Iowa quarterback Drew Tate ahead of the 2022 Citrus Bowl to look back at the last time the Hawkeye played in Orlando.

Iowa trailed LSU, 25-24, with 70 yards to go and 39 seconds left on the clock at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 1, 2005. The Hawkeyes only needed to gain around 40 yards for former Hawkeye kicker Kyle Schlicher. Iowa trusted Schlicher to make a long kick, as he converted on 21 field goals during the 2004 season — a Hawkeye program record.

“Really, before that drive, we were just like, ‘Hey, if we can get it in [field goal range], you know, Schlicher’s been having a good year, we got to get into field goal range.’’ Tate, the 2005 Capital One Bowl MVP, said. “So, we had a good return. So, I mean, we were just wanting to get into field goal range, I remember, and it’s crazy how it played out that way.”

The Hawkeyes didn’t get a field goal. As Tate went under center for the final Hawkeye drive of the 2004-05 season, he fumbled with his clock management. First, Tate notched a first down on an 11-yard throw, stopping the clock at 33 seconds. Tate’s second throw came just short of the first down marker, keeping the clock ticking down.

“They’ve gotta call a timeout here, they’ve gotta call a timeout here,” Iowa play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin and color commentator Ed Pololak repeated on the radio broadcast.

But Tate didn’t call a timeout. Instead, with 15 seconds remaining, the Hawkeyes rushed into formation and Tate called for a snap before the line was set — drawing a penalty.

The Hawkeyes lost six seconds and five yards before the final play of the game.

“I don’t know,” Tate said of his decision to spike the ball instead of calling for a timeout. “It was just kind of a funny business with timeouts and how we were going to use them, I guess. It was always kind of like that all year, like, [head coach Kirk Ferentz] is very, you know, conscientious of his timeouts. So, just, I don’t know, it played out that way. It’s crazy. In order for the game to happen the way it did, I was supposed to do that. We’re supposed to do that, right?”

After the penalty, the clock didn’t stop. Tate said, after he broke his huddle, the referees signaled to him that the clock was, in fact, still running. And Tate rushed his offense together for what he knew was going to be the final play of the game.

“Now, they’ve gotta call timeout, they wind the clock,” Dolphin said over the radio broadcast as the Hawkeye line got set with 11 seconds remaining. “Nine seconds to play and Drew Tate doesn’t know that. The game’s going to end on this play.”

The game-ending play? A 56-yard touchdown throw to fifth-year senior Warren Holloway.

The Iowa crowd in Orlando threw their hands in the air and screamed as Tate and the rest of the Hawkeyes ran to celebrate in the end zone. Dolphin yelled from the radio booth, “Touchdown Iowa, no time on the clock.  I don’t believe what I just saw.”

Holloway had 29 catches for 283 yards over the course of the 2004-05 season and recorded his first collegiate touchdown catch at the Capital One Bowl.

“Shoot, just a crazy ending, right?”  Tate said. “Just the way it all played out, that was really cool. And then the guy that caught the damn ball, the story is crazy. Because on him, he was a fifth-year senior, never had a touchdown until the last game of his career… It was really cool, really special.”

Now, 17 years after “The Catch,” head coach Kirk Ferentz and his 2021 Hawkeye football team will return to Camping World Stadium for the Citrus Bowl.

RELATED: Iowa football team going for 11th win of the season against Kentucky in Citrus Bowl

The game was referred to as the Capital One Bowl from 2003-13 and changed to the Citrus Bowl beginning in the 2014 season.

“We’re just really excited to have this opportunity,” Ferentz said. “I’m one of the few people around here, I guess, that remembers the trip. It was such a great experience for everybody involved with most of our team, obviously. Everybody there had a great time in Orlando. [The Citrus Bowl] did a great job hosting an event. We’re thrilled to be back there. It’s been quite a while.”

Tate hasn’t been keeping up with the 10-3 Hawkeyes throughout most of this season. But he has a game plan for the Hawkeyes to beat the 9-3 Wildcats — keep the Citrus Bowl a low-scoring game.

“They keep it in the 20s or the teens,” Tate said. “You know, that’s definitely where Iowa is more comfortable playing games. It’s definitely a tough game though. No doubt about it. Kentucky is a really good team. Mark Stoops has done a really good job with Kentucky, keeping them competitive as they are in the SEC.”

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