February 2013

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Iowa Football Put All-Pro Yanda on Track By Darren Miller Editor's Note: Marshal Yanda lettered as an offensive lineman for the University of Iowa in 2005 and '06. In 2011 he was selected to his first AFC Pro Bowl as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. He was named a starter for the 2012 Pro Bowl, but he will miss the game because the Ravens are participating in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3. The following is a feature first printed in September on hawkeyesports.com. Yanda completed his sixth season in the NFL after being drafted in the third round by the Ravens (86th overall) in 2007. This season Baltimore claimed the AFC North Division title with a 10-6 record. The Ravens rolled through the playoffs, defeating Indianapolis (24-9), Denver (38-35) and New England (28-13) to reach Super Bowl XLVII and a matchup agianst San Francisco. All-Pro offensive lineman Marshal Yanda's goal of playing football for the University of Iowa didn't follow a straight 40-mile path from Anamosa to Iowa City. When Yanda needed stars to align, they did. UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz doesn't make it a habit to sign junior college players, but the Hawkeyes were thin at offensive line after the 2004 season and Yanda was a logical fit. But the work ethic he gained growing up on a farm in Jones County kept him focused on competing inside Kinnick Stadium, despite taking a detour through North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City. "My dream when I was young was to play for the Hawkeyes," said Yanda, now a 6-foot-3, 315-pound behemoth. "I wanted to do that, but I strayed in high school. I worked hard, but I didn't take the classroom seriously. So when I wanted to go to Iowa, my grades weren't in order and I was behind, and I had to go the junior college route." "There is some luck involved, for sure," Yanda said. "Iowa doesn't normally take chances on junior college guys, but luckily they needed linemen at the time, so I could get my two years in." It was Sept. 3, 2005, when Yanda made his first official jog onto the Kinnick Stadium turf. "The hair stood up on the back of my neck when I ran out of the tunnel for the first time," he said. Still, there have been no regrets for Yanda, who not only played for the UI in 2005 and '06, but has gone on to play 83 games for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. This past two seasons, the right guard has been named to the Pro Bowl. "That had to be the coolest experience I ever went through," Yanda said. "I obviously wanted to go to the Super Bowl, and we were really close, but I wanted to play at a Pro Bowl level last year, and I got that done." 11 When the afternoon was over, the Hawkeyes had a 56-0 win against Ball State. Six more victories followed and the Hawkeyes accepted a bid to the Outback Bowl. As much as Yanda enjoyed playing at home, he took special pride in winning on the road. "It's great winning at home, but I've found out over the years that it's better to win on the road," Yanda said. "I love taking over (an opponents') stadium."

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