Challenging game against the Cyclones awaits
Sept. 7, 2010
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As complicated as college football can seem with its BCS, watch lists and conference realignment, the rivalry between the University of Iowa and Iowa State is simple for Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz.
"Any game we have won," Ferentz said, when asked to name a series highlight. "My worst moment is any game we lost -- pretty simple. Isn't that awful? That's kind of what a coach's life gets relegated down to. It's about as simple as that."
Ferentz met with the media Tuesday in the Hayden Fry Football Complex as the Hawkeyes prepare for Iowa State's trip to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 11. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.; the game will be televised by ABC.
Saturday's contest will be just the second time that Iowa and the Cyclones are meeting after both teams recorded a bowl victory the season before. Iowa is coming off a 24-14 win against Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl, while last season Iowa State defeated Minnesota 14-13 in the Insight.com Bowl. In 2005, a season after Iowa won the Capital One Bowl and the Cyclones were victorious in the Independence Bowl, Iowa State took the regular-season decision, 23-3, in Ames.
Both teams enter the 2010 game with records of 1-0; Iowa is rated No. 9 by the Associated Press and USA Today.
"This is obviously a big game for both teams," Ferentz said. "You look back at the series, they have been tough games, competitive games and I expect this weekend to be the same. Iowa State has a lot of returning players back, a lot of experienced, confident players, and I think most importantly, they have made great strides in the program."
There will be new numbers on the field for both teams: Iowa State returns strong safety David Sims, the 2009 Big 12 Conference Defensive newcomer of the year; Iowa returns running back Jewel Hampton, defensive end Broderick Binns, center Josh Koeppel and possibly linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, cornerback Shaun Prater and offensive lineman Adam Gettis.
"I think all those guys are close," Ferentz said. "We'll know more by Thursday or Friday, but hoping to get them back."
While the arm of Cyclone quarterback Austen Arnaud will demand the attention of Norm Parker's Hawkeye defenders this week in practice and the film room, Ferentz knows that Iowa needs to stiffen up the run defense. Last season Iowa State rushed for 190 yards on 34 carries and for his career, Cyclone running back Alexander Robinson has gained 172 yards on 42 attempts. During a 27-10 win against Northern Illinois on Sept. 2, Robinson gained 97 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns.
"Probably as much as anything, the one thing I do know, they had a lot of success running the football. We couldn't stop the run last year, and it's going to be tough to win if we give up 190 yards on the ground," Ferentz said. "Any time you get the turnovers involved, that kind of skews things a little bit in any game. Then no matter who we are playing, if we are giving up 190 on the ground, then we had better be scoring about 50 points a game. I don't think we can count on that right now. So it's just not a good way to be living."
The Cyclones turned the ball over seven times (five interceptions, two fumbles) last season during Iowa's 35-3 win in Ames.
Because of the Big Ten Conference expanding to 12 teams, there has been talk that the Iowa-Iowa State battles could become a thing of the past. Ferentz, like most football fans in the state, hopes the intrastate games continue.
"It's been a great series," Ferentz said. "It's been one of those series where both teams have been very competitive. They have had some excellent football teams; I think they have an excellent football team this year, so we are going to have to be at our best."
The Hawkeyes will be represented by the same captains as the Eastern Illinois game: quarterback Ricky Stanzi, offensive guard Julian Vandervelde, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and defensive tackle Karl Klug.