Oct. 6, 2013
The Hawkeyes (4-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) dropped their first conference game Oct. 5, 26-14, to Michigan State and its stout and touted defense. In the process, several UI players missed snaps, and a few of them missed substantial time. That is the bad news.
Here is the good:
"It doesn't look like it's anything real significant," UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday in an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. "Everybody should be pretty good by the end of the week, and if you're going to get a bunch of (injuries), this is the time to do it because at least we have an extra week to bridge the gap. That's a positive."
Ferentz said in the second half against Michigan State "no one segment of our team was good enough to hold them off." The Hawkeyes compiled 264 yards of offense against the No. 1 defense in the nation -- 40 yards more than any of the other four Spartan opponents.
"We lost to a good football team," Ferentz said. "Looking back we have to take that 30 minutes of the second half, put that aside, move on and improve."
Michigan State, coming off a bye week, improved to 4-1, 1-0.
Because of injuries, several young Hawkeyes saw extensive action. Ferentz continues to be impressed by junior running back Damon Bullock.
"Damon Bullock is not a younger guy, but with Mark (Weisman) out of the game, Damon did some good things out there," Ferentz said. "He has been practicing well, especially the last couple weeks. He was called upon and did a great job."
Bullock finished with five pass receptions for 71 yards and a 47-yard touchdown.
Another receiver -- freshman Matt VandeBerg -- also received high marks from Ferentz after catching four passes for 36 yards.
"He stepped in and did a nice job at receiver; stepped in and played well, made some tough catches," Ferentz said. "That was a positive step for sure."
It is now time for a mental and physical breather for the Hawkeyes who return to action Oct. 19 at No. 4 Ohio State.
"We'll also have a chance to work the younger guys, give them more work than we would during a normal game week," Ferentz said. "We will have the whole team back on the field Wednesday and get a couple days of practice in before giving them a couple off again. Hopefully this period will give them a chance to hone skills, but also get away from things a little bit, get caught up academically, some of those things."