Ferentz: 'They're All Important'
Sept. 10, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Is there extra significance to Saturday's Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup between the University of Iowa and Iowa State football teams? Maybe, but UI head coach Kirk Ferentz remained business-as-usual during his weekly news conference.
"We want to win every week," Ferentz said Tuesday inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. "I am sure they feel the same way. They've got 11 opportunities left; we've got 10. Every game is important."
The 61st installment of the intrastate series begins at 5:05 p.m. (CT) inside Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones are 0-1 this season following a 28-20 loss to Northern Iowa on Aug. 31. Iowa is 1-1 following a 28-14 victory over Missouri State on Sept. 7.
Ferentz calls this week's matchup a new, difficult experience with Iowa hitting the road for the first time in 2013 with first-year starting quarterback Jake Rudock.
"This is not an easy environment to walk into," said Ferentz. "It will be another degree of difficulty from the challenge standpoint. They do a good job pressing and pushing the envelope with noise right up to the snap, so it makes it tougher on the offense.
"I can't remember many trips (to Iowa State) in the last 15 years where it hasn't been lively."
Iowa State has won the last two meetings, claiming a 44-41, three-overtime victory during the 2011 game in Ames, and 9-6 last season in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 39-21 and they are 16-8 all-time in Ames.
Ferentz says the rivalry is great for the state and unique to college football, pitting two schools from different BCS conferences.
"I am not saying everybody is paying attention, but there are a lot of people in our state paying attention," he said. "Whether we're playing here or there, it's guaranteed to be a great environment. If you like college football, it's a great thing."
Iowa's no-huddle attack has the Hawkeyes averaging 82.5 plays over the first two contests. Ferentz says whether the team runs 50 or 100 plays, it is still all about lighting up the scoreboard.
"No matter how many plays you run or how many yards you get, it's still about getting points," he said. "That is the No. 1 criteria for an offensive football team."
Ferentz is pleased with the development of the Hawkeye defensive line through the first two games. The rotation features six players with redshirt freshman Nate Meier serving as an auxiliary seventh as a pass rusher.
"We're making progress," said Ferentz. "We're further along the road than last year at this time, and that's encouraging. It is a matter of keeping getting better, and we have to do that at every position."
With the Cy-Hawk Trophy up for grabs Saturday -- the first of four trophy games on the Iowa schedule in 2013 -- the Hawkeyes are focused on bringing hardware back to Iowa City.
"If there is a trophy at stake, we want to get it," said Ferentz. "It stands for winning the game, so that is important. If you get a chance to possess a trophy, that's a good thing."
Saturday's game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 with Justin Kutcher, James Bates, and Brady Poppinga calling the action.