An “IOWA” chant filled the green space behind Petersen and Hillcrest Halls Saturday morning as fans of the Hawkeye and Michigan Wolverine football teams hosted Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff” show.
The show started three hours before kickoff at Kinnick Stadium, giving those gathered the opportunity to win t-shirts, gift cards and to be featured on national television.
Fox Sports also visited Iowa City last year for the Penn State-Iowa game, when Linda Bonelli first appeared on the program.
Bonelli attended the event with his son, Joe, a sophomore in Iowa, saying they came to show their support for the Hawkeyes.
“Just to be in that atmosphere and feel the energy before the game and get ready for the game,” Linda Bonelli said.
Joe, who had been at the event for an hour, said he thought the game would be competitive.
“I think we’re going to stay close. I could see it going either way, but I’m going to go with the Hawks,” he said.
Fourth-seeded Michigan pulled away early from Iowa and won 27-14 on a bright fall afternoon.
Previously, much of the lawn between the residences was occupied by cameras and fans fighting to be filmed. Joe Bonelli, who was lucky enough to be in the middle of the lawn before moving to the outskirts, said the energy inside the mosh pit was fun despite being crowded.
“Everybody’s going crazy. Everybody’s having a good time,” he said.
Bonelli was thrilled to catch a glimpse of special guest star, “Big E,” otherwise known as former Iowa football player and WWE Superstar Ettore Ewen.
“You always want to try your luck on TV and I thought it would be a fun time to see famous people like Reggie Bush and Big E,” Bonelli said, also referring to the former running star. back which is part of the Fox Show.
Big E, who walked through the crowd wearing Hawkeye gear, said the reason Kinnick Stadium is often off-limits to visiting teams is because of the atmosphere in Iowa City on game days.
“We’re up to the occasion. … With this kind of crowd, sold out against a top five team, it’s over,” Big E said on the show.
Big E said Iowa City was a second home to him, which caused an uproar in the Hawkeye-filled crowd.
Adam Arp, honorary “Kid Captain” of the Iowa Hawkeyes, joined the Fox show midway through to swell the crowd, who warmly welcomed him, chanting, “Adam, Adam, Adam!”
It was obvious the crowd was pleased with Arp’s presence on the lawn as soon as the chants drowned out the voices of the Fox broadcasters.
“It’s great. A great community all together,” Arp said of the traditional “wave” to the kids in the hospital overlooking Kinnick Stadium that comes at the end of the first quarter of every game.
Michigan’s 42-3 victory over Iowa last year in the Big Ten Conference championship game was still on the minds of many fans on Saturday.
Alex Read and Bri Neifert, despite their Hawkeye gear, had little confidence in a win at Iowa on Saturday.
“I want the Hawks to win, and I’ll be there till the end. But, I don’t know, it’s a very slim chance, it’s kind of sad to say,” Neifert said.