As Halloween costumes go, “football player” isn’t the most creative get-up for Trick-or-Treaters, no matter what their age. We’ll cut Zach Johnson some slack, however, if this is his choice on Saturday night given how he’ll be spending his time that afternoon.
The University of Iowa announced Thursday that the British Open champion will serve as the Hawkeyes' honorary captain for their Saturday home football game against Maryland. Although Johnson didn’t go to school in Iowa City (he’s a Drake graduate), the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has a natural connection to the university.
According to the school, as part of Johnson’s duties he will accompany the team’s regular captains to mid-field for the pregame coin toss as well as be in the locker room before and after the game.
Several PGA Tour pros have gone back to their alma maters or their home-state schools to get involved with the football program. Jordan Spieth was seen at University of Texas game earlier this fall, and Rickie Fowler was on the sidelines at an Oklahoma State game in September. A year ago, Wisconsin native Steve Stricker went to a Badger football game at Camp Randall Stadium and tried to hit a golf ball from the top of the stadium on the midfield “W”, failing in three chances with the 135-yard shot.
Johnson won’t have to perform this weekend, save for waving to the crowds. But there is some pressure on him when you consider the Hawkeyes are 7-0 this fall, the best start to a season for the program since 2009 and only the third time they have been undefeated after seven games since 1922. The team is ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll and is a 17-point favorite over Maryland, which is 2-5 on the season and fired its head coach earlier this month. Should Iowa somehow get upset on Saturday, (Honorary) Captain Johnson might not want to be dressed as anything other than a ghost come nightfall.