On the evening of Nov. 14, the Iowa football team hopes to score touchdowns against Minnesota in the south end zone of Kinnick Stadium.
Earlier that day — specifically at 11 a.m., and in the same location of the 86-year-old stadium — the Iowa wrestling team hopes to score an even bigger moment when the Hawkeyes and another legendary wrestling team — Oklahoma State — will meet on a 54-foot-by-54-foot mat in an dual meet event called “Grapple on the Gridiron” to open the 2015-16 season.
“It’s a concept we’ve been talking about for a while,” said Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. “Two historic wrestling programs in a historic site, Kinnick Stadium. We are excited about that and clearly Iowa has always been on the forefront and a leader in terms of wrestling.”
This would mark the first time two college wrestling teams have competed in a football stadium … and with at least a reserved seating of 25,400 located around the south end zone, Iowa also hopes to break the all-time attendance record of 15,996 set by Penn State vs. Pitt on Dec. 8, 2013, five years after Iowa and Iowa State drew 15,955 in a home dual in Iowa City.
“When we broke the (national college attendance) record in 2008, I said to my staff that if that record every gets broken — and at that time we thought it would be Minnesota — we’re going to Kinnick,” recalled Iowa coach Tom Brands. “Penn State broke it and so it’s time to go to Kinnick.”
Because of scheduling nine Big Ten meets, Brands said it became difficult to schedule a home dual with Oklahoma State in early January, the normal time the Hawkeyes and Cowboys have met in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Brands said he considered asking Penn State to take on this task, but first called Oklahoma State John Smith.