Sept. 10, 2011
AMES, Iowa - Kirk Ferentz and the University of Iowa football program has been here before: A stinger of a loss during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
In 2002, it was a 36-31 loss in Kinnick Stadium to Iowa State.
In 2004, it was a 44-7 drubbing at Arizona State.
In 2005, it was Iowa State again.
In each case, the Hawkeyes learned from the experience, went back to work, and marched on.
In 2002, they marched to the FedEx Orange Bowl.
In 2004, they marched to the Capital One Bowl.
In 2005, the march ended in Tampa at the Outback Bowl.
It's to be seen what impact the goings-on at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday in Ames will have on the 2011 Hawkeyes. Iowa has 10 more games on the regular season schedule, starting with an 11 a.m. Iowa time date next Saturday with Big East Conference powerhouse Pitt at historic Kinnick Stadium.
One thing is clear: Ferentz and the UI coaching staff learned a little more about their squad Saturday.
They learned they have a punter and he's a pretty solid one. Eric Guthrie averaged 46.8 yards on four kicks Saturday. Two of those dropped inside the 20, pushing his season total to four with zero touchbacks.
And last, but certainly not least, they learned they have a placekicker. Mike Meyer is a perfect 6-for-6 in 2011 after having knocked in four field goals Saturday, including a career-best 50-yarder.
Pessimists will point to some perceived flaws. Historians will look in a different direction.
Of course, the coaching staff was reminded that they have a quarterback and he's a pretty solid one. James Vandenberg has completed 29 passes for four touchdowns and zero interceptions in 2011.
They were reminded they have a running back and he's a pretty solid one. Marcus Coker toted the rock 35 times on Saturday, collecting 140 net yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"We've got a lot of work to do this week and in coming weeks," Ferentz said after watching Iowa's three-game winning streak in its series with Iowa State get snapped in the first game in the history of the Cy-Hawk Series to require overtime.
While the Hawkeyes go to work, pessimists will point to some perceived flaws.
Historians will look in an entirely different direction.