Sunday, September 29, 2013

Final comments by Kirk Ferentz reflecting on Minnesota win, as focus turns to Michigan State for Hawkeyes

Kirk Ferentz is
104-75 overall,
 60-53 B1G, as
Iowa head coach
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kirk Ferentz has coached at the University of Iowa in some capacity for 24 seasons. He arrived first in 1981, as new offensive line coach for then coach J. Hayden Fry, serving Fry for nine seasons. The past 15 seasons, he has served as head coach, replacing Fry after the 1998 season. This week he experienced a first. 

FB Adam Cox on his third down
carry in the fourth quarter
Following the Hawkeyes' 23-7 victory at Minnesota, the team honored sophomore fullbacks Adam Cox and Macon Plewa as offensive players of the week.

"Both of them played outstanding and that's probably as much work as they have gotten in any one game," Ferentz said Sunday night.

"They have worked extremely hard since last spring. Both have taken the opportunity and run with it and done a wonderful job."

Blocks by Cox and Plewa helped Iowa running backs gain 207 yards on 38 carries; sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock picked up 35 yards on five carries and Cox added a 5-yard third-down conversion run in the fourth quarter.

Cox's 35-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest of his career. The play set up Iowa's first touchdown of the day by Rudock.

Rudock's 4-yard touchdown rush in the second quarter was his
fifth rushing touchdown this season. The last Iowa quarterback to rush for more than five touchdowns in a single season was Nathan Chandler (6 in 2003). The Hawkeyes finished 10-3 in 2003.
QB Jake Rudock's TD run
in the second quarter

There is another reason the Hawkeyes (4-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) have won four straight games: their effectiveness on both sides of the ball on third down. Last season Iowa's offense converted 36.4-percent of the time, while opponents moved the chains 43.4-percent of the time. In five games this season, the Hawkeyes have increased their conversion rate to 52.5-percent and the defense is limiting opponents to a 25.4-percent mark.

WR Kevonte Martin-Manley
leads Iowa's receivers
with 26 catches, including
1 TD at Iowa State
"I'm not a big stat guy but I know last year the stat wasn't good," Ferentz said. "I'm happy right now with the way our offense has done on third downs. Part of that is first- and second-down production. We had plays (Sept. 28) that were tough, long conversions and we came up with them. You think about some of the Kevonte (Martin-Manley) catches we had and Jake (Rudock) did a great job getting the ball to him; Jake Hillyer with a third-down conversion (on third-and-9). Compared to last year, it's a big step forward and we're hoping we can continue to build on that, it helps your team offensively."

Iowa's defense has been stout, allowing 265.6 yards in five games. The only conference team performing better is Michigan State (3-1), which comes to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. The Spartans allow 188.8 yards a game. The Spartans are coming off a bye week, and the first loss of the season, as they head to Kinnick on Saturday.

"They were extremely tough last year and we will have our work cut out for us," Ferentz said. "They have a tough scheme; more importantly their players understand their scheme and they play it well. It's like when we are playing good defense, it doesn't look that complicated, but everybody understands what they're doing. That's what we see when we watch Michigan State play defense. It's going to be a tough, hard-nosed battle for sure, and execution is going to be a big part of it."

The Hawkeyes prevailed last season in East Lansing, Michigan, 19-16 in double overtime.  The Hawkeyes will will enjoy hosting Michigan State this season at home.  Kickoff will be at 11 a.m on ESPN2.

Recap of Iowa's B1G opener at Minnesota: Mission Accomplished!

The Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0 in Legends) retain Floyd of Rosedale again with back to back wins over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-1, 0-1 Legends).  The Hawkeyes also picked up the first win ever at TCF Bank Stadium, after two losses in 2010 and 2011.  The Hawkeyes pulled out the 23-7 win in Minneapolis with strong line 
play on both sides of the football.

Iowa LT Brandon Scherff and
 the rest of the offensive line
 helped the Hawkeyes to
 246 rushing yards during a
23-7 win at Minnesota on Sept. 28.
“We knew coming in and studying film what their game plan was. We did our best to prepare for that. I haven’t seen the film, so I have yet to evaluate how we were able to stop it," said Minnesota junior nose tackle Cameron Botticelli.

The Golden Gophers entered Saturday's rivalry game averaging 282.2 yards per game on the ground. Iowa held them 252.2 yards below that total.

Minnesota also allowed an average of 102.8 rushing yards per game. Iowa gained 143.2 yards above that total.

"It felt great, there is nothing like breaking somebody's will," Iowa junior defensive tackle Carl Davis said. "We try to be a physical team and that's what we did."

On the lack of running success today…
"From what I noticed during the game, we couldn't move Iowa. They'd slide off a block and make a play. They handled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball better than we did. When you can run the ball you can have some success, but we didn't run the ball well today," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said.

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Four different Gophers carried the ball and the top two ground-gainers were Roderick Williams with 22 yards and David Cobb with 20 -- Iowa junior running back Damon Bullock and sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock both gained 22 yards on one attempt. As a team, Minnesota averaged 1.1 yards per 27 tries.

Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is now
2-1 vs. Jerry Kill at Minnesota
Kill had this to say about Iowa's new quarterback, "[Jake Rudock] played a good football game. I've said all along that Iowa is a better football team than they were a year ago. He's a more mobile quarterback than who played last year. They had a good quarterback last year, but Rudock plays the game differently and makes a lot of calls on the line of scrimmage. I credit him and their coach who put the team in the right position to win."

Iowa dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the Big Ten opener.  "From what I noticed
"Make a play" and Iowa did
all afternoon vs. Minnesota.
during the game, we couldn't move Iowa. They'd slide off a block and make a play. They handled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball better than we did. When you can run the ball you can have some success, but we didn't run the ball well today," Kill said.
Iowa DT Louie Trinca-Pasat with
other teammates on gang tackle.

"We knew they were going to run so it always starts up front for us, that's always our focus," said Iowa junior defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat. "As long as we're able to do our job, it helps the linebackers and the defense overall."
Line of Scrimmage
in Battle for
Floyd of Rosedale

Minnesota's interior linemen weigh 326, 321, 306, 302 and 302 pounds. It takes quite a performance to seize an advantage over a group that size.

"(Minnesota) had done a great job running the football and our coaches did a good job with the game plan," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "The guys did a good job during the week getting the plan down and (Saturday) they competed hard. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and there was nothing easy about it. It took full concentration and full effort every play."

But 30 yards? It marks the fourth consecutive game that a team rushed for less than 75 yards against the Hawkeyes: Western Michigan (74 on Sept. 21), Missouri State (70 on Sept. 7) and Iowa State (59 on Sept. 14).
Iowa DT Carl Davis and
DT Darian Cooper post game
with Floyd of Rosedale

"This all started in practice last week," Davis said. "We knew we could win up front if we played physical and that's what we did. We knocked guys back, shed the blockers, and got to the ball and made tackles. We hold ourselves to a high standard as a defensive unit and we want to be as close to perfect as we can because defense wins championships."

Iowa entered the game at Minnesota with two quarterback sacks in four games; it now has six after dropping Phillip Nelson four times. The Hawkeyes recorded a season-high four sacks today. Sophomore DE Nate Meier's 6-yard sack in the second quarter was the first sack of his career. Trinca-Pasat's 6-yard sack in the second quarter was the first sack of his career. Senior MLB James Morris and senior DE Dominic Alvis also recorded sacks for Iowa.

Iowa RB Mark Weisman
On the other side of the ball, the Hawkeyes ran for 246 yards, the fifth time this season they have picked up more than 200 yards on the ground. Leading the way was junior running back Mark Weisman with 147 yards and an average of 6.1 yards a carry.

"Our offensive line did an unbelievable job out there making it easy for us running backs," Weisman said. 

"They have been doing that the whole season and it's fun to run behind them. They don't need any motivation. They want to go in there and beat guys up," Weisman continued in praise of his offensive line.

Ferentz credited the Iowa offensive linemen for working hard and playing relatively penalty-free.

"The most physical team was going to come out with a win and we did that at times," Iowa junior left tackle Brandon Scherff said. "At other times we kind of lacked a little bit, but we got the win and that's what we came here for."

Iowa RB Damon Bullock
"You want to be the best line," Iowa senior right tackle Brett Van Sloten said. "We knew up front (Minnesota) was going to be good. We knew they were going to come out hungry and they did. They played a good game; we were able to get some runs in there and that is a credit to the running backs. They ran their tails off."

When the Hawkeyes needed a clock-chewing, game-clinching drive, they got it. Leading 20-7 early in the fourth quarter, Iowa put together an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive that consumed 5 ½ minutes. The series included eight runs, two completed passes and a 46-yard field goal by Mike Meyer.

"(Offensive line coach) Brian Ferentz mentioned that we had an opportunity to finish there at the end," Van Sloten said. "It was in our hands, the running backs ran great, and we were able to seal the deal."

The Hawkeyes own a 4-1 record with four straight victories, after losing on a last minute field goal in the season opener vs. Northern Illinois. After one week, they are alone on top of the Legends Division. Ohio State (5-0) leads the Leaders Division at 1-0, after a 31-24 win over Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1 in Leaders) in Columbus on Saturday night.  Iowa will travel to Columbus later in October.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz
after the 23-7 win over Minnesota.

"Whether it's ugly or pretty, wins are wins and they're hard to come by," Kirk Ferentz said. "In conference play they are really hard to come by. I'm pleased and I'm pleased for our players. They worked hard for this."

Iowa defeated Minnesota 31-13 in Iowa City last year to reclaim Floyd of Rosedale, after back to back losses.  Iowa has won ten of the last 13 games in the series with Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers head to Ann Arbor for Michigan's Homecoming game in the Battle of the Old Brown Jug and another rivalry game in the Legends Division.

"Our guys really did a great job. They came up with some big plays today on offense and defense. I'm really pleased with this victory," Kirk Ferentz said.
Iowa teammates congratulating
WR Damond Powell after his TD
reception  the 2nd quarter to give
the Hawkeyes a 17-0 lead.

On how he scored his 74-yard touchdown…
“Coach called my number, and I went out there and made a play. I feel like the credit should go to my offensive line, because I didn’t have to do anything except run—they blocked everybody they needed to block, so it was really easy, but it felt real good. It was just a wide receiver screen,” said junior wide receiver Damond Powell.

Powell's 74-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter is Iowa's longest play from scrimmage this season, and the 23rd longest touchdown reception in school history. Powell is averaging 51.5 yards per catch this season (4 catches, 206 yards).

On celebrating the Floyd of Rosedale win…
“It felt really good. We worked really hard this week. We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game with what we were playing for and when you win, it just feels good knowing how hard you worked all week to get the good results,” the junior college transfer, Powell said.

On kicking long field goals…
“Today we got to back it up, but I guess that’s part of the game. It doesn't really change my mindset at all unless, like in the first half, I’m kicking it into the wind. The only thing that would really change is where I put my target for the kick,” Iowa senior placekicker Mike Meyer said.

Iowa PK Mike Meyer
Meyer hit three of four field goals in Iowa's victory over Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium. Meyer has made a school-record 100 consecutive PAT attempts, the sixth longest streak in Big Ten Conference history. That active streak ranks fourth in the nation (Baylor's Aaron Jones, 125; Northwestern's Jeff Budzien 116; Michigan's Brendan Gibbons, 114). Meyer's last PAT miss was in a 37-6 win over Michigan State on Oct. 30, 2010, in Iowa City. As a team, Iowa has gone 35 consecutive games without a missed or blocked PAT. 

On improving each week…
“We’re continuing to make strides. We’re not where we want to be—we all have our flaws that we want to improve on. With that being said, that’s what our daily task is—to improve every day—and right now we’re just going to enjoy this win,” Iowa captain Van Sloten said.

On getting the win…

“It was a great win. Everybody played good. Our defense played awesome, the offense did great, and we held them throughout the game. It’s good to win those trophy games,” Meyer said.

Iowa may become a team to watch in the competitive Legends Division in 2013.

The University of Iowa football team returns to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for its annual Homecoming game.  The Hawkeyes will host Michigan State (3-1), who enjoyed a bye week, after a 17-13 heartbreaking loss at Notre Dame in Week 4.  

The Hawkeyes beat Michigan State in a 19-16 2 OT game in East Lansing last year. It was another physical battle between the Black and Gold and the Spartans, who are considered the best defense in the Big Ten.

Iowa DL coach Reese Morgan
with HC Ferentz communicating
with Iowa defense at Minnesota
On Iowa...
"Every year, you're going to see a team that plays extremely hard. They're going to be fundamentally sound, both offensively and defensively. They're going to do what they do. They're a little bit like us - they do what they do, and they do it well. They sort of pulled themselves together and they're playing very, very well. That's who they are, and they're going to be a well-coached football team," Michigan State head coach Mark 

Dantonio said.

Michigan State head
coach Mark Dantonio
On the plan for the bye week...
"I think today (last Wednesday) is about us, tomorrow is a little bit about Iowa because we have a very solid foundation in terms of who they are. We've been playing them for the last six years. And then you game plan basically next week after we see their game (vs. Minnesota). We'll start to game plan more intensely on Sunday. I think you have to watch who they are as of late. There will be a pretty good idea in terms of what they do as we move into tomorrow," Dantonio said.

Dantonio went onto say, "we'll practice on Sunday. But we'll be off (Friday and Saturday). I think it's good for them to be away a little bit and watch college games. Hopefully, they'll have a chance to go home. You don't have many chances to go home as a college football player. Hopefully they take advantage of that opportunity to go home, and maybe see their high school team play, or just go home and see their family for a day."

First Head Coach on Hot Seat falls, aftet 0-2 conference start

The first major ax falls of the 2013 College Football season. Texas fired their defensive coordinator, after a disappointing road trip to BYU in Week 2.

The USA Today reported that USC officially announced it through Twitter.

The official USC release:

Lane Kiffin has been relieved of his duties as USC's head football coach, Trojan athletic director Pat Haden announced early today (Sept. 29).

Haden informed Kiffin of his termination upon the team charter's arrival back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning following USC's 62-41 loss at Arizona State.Kiffin's Trojans have lost 7 of their past 11 games. USC is 3-2 this year and has lost both of its Pac-12 games. His overall record in 4 years at USC is 28-15.

Haden will hold a press conference at USC on Sunday afternoon at a time and place to be announced. 

Who's next on the College Football landscape?

Thursday, Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns travel to Ames, Iowa to face Paul Rhoads' Iowa State Cyclones.

In the Big Ten, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has Iowa 4-1 overall, 1-0 in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. Iowa will host Michigan State for Homecoming on Saturday.

Last year, the first ax was an offensive line coach at Wisconsin.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Iowa beats Minnesota 23-7 at TFC Bank Stadium to keep Floyd of Rosedale for another season

MINNEAPOLIS -- Floyd of Rosedale is staying in Iowa City following the Iowa Hawkeye's 23-7 victory over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium. The Hawkeyes pulled off the victory on the Gophers' Homecoming game.

The Hawkeyes pushed their winning streak to four games in improving to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten Conference play; Minnesota is 4-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Iowa's win was the first in three chances at TCF Bank Stadium.  It was Iowa's first win in Minneapolis, since the 55-0 win over Minnesota in 2008 during the final game played in the Metrodome.

"You get what you deserve, and the last two times up here, we ended up with what we deserved," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. "You have to play the full 60 minutes, and today, we certainly did.

"There were some peaks and valleys, but our guys did a good job of weathering the tough times and came through in the end," Ferentz said after the Hawkeyes victory.

Iowa dominated the Gophers, holding a 464-165 advantage in total offense. The Hawkeyes rushed for 246 yards -- their fifth-straight 200-yard rushing games -- and had 218 yards through the air. Iowa converted 8-of-14 third downs and had a 12-minute advantage in time of possession (36:01-23:59).

Iowa's defense limited Minnesota's rushing attack, which ranked 13th nationally with a 282.3 per game average entering the game, to 30 yards on 27 carries. The Hawkeyes forced two turnovers and had a season-best four sacks.

The Hawkeyes only had two sacks in the first four games. The game was highlighted by Hawkeye gang tackling against the Gophers rushing attack.

"It was a big challenge for us coming in," said Ferentz. "These guys have done an excellent job rushing the football. It was a big challenge and our guys really rose to the occasion."

Ferentz went on to say "it was strength on strength up front and our linebackers did what they were supposed to do."

Iowa is one of four schools with all three starting linebackers on the Butkis Watch List.

Senior Anthony Hitchens paced the team with 10 tackles, while seniors James Morris (8 tackles) and Christian Kirksey (5 tackles) both had an interception.

"Things were clicking on defense, especially in the first half, I thought we played pretty well," said Morris.

Junior Mark Weisman rushed 24 times for 147 yards -- his fourth 100-yard game this season. Redshirt sophomore Jake Rudock was 15-of-25 for 218 yards with a touchdown, and junior Kevonte Martin-Manley had six catches for 56 yards. Junior Damond Powell had one catch -- a 74-yard touchdown reception.

After leading 17-0 at the half, the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 20-0 on their second possession of the second half, courtesy of a 15-play, 75-yard drive. Iowa converted three third-and longs on the drive -- a 14-yard completion to Jacob Hillyer on third-and-9 from the Iowa 21, an 8-yard toss to Martin-Manley on third-and-8 from the 37, and a 22-yard scramble by Rudock on third-and-9 from midfield.

On first-and-10 from the Minnesota 32, Weisman rushed for 7 and 18 yards on consecutive carries down to the 7. After a holding penalty pushed Iowa back to the 17, Rudock connected with Martin-Manley on a swing pass for 14 yards to the 5. Iowa couldn't punch it into the end zone, but place kicker Mike Meyer made a 23-yard chip shot to make the score 20-0.

Minnesota got a kick of energy when Marcus Jones returned the ensuing kickoff from two yards deep in his own end zone 66 yards to the Iowa 34. On the fourth play of the drive, Philip Nelson found Derrick Engel for a 23-yard touchdown strike, cutting the Hawkeye advantage to 20-7.

Despite giving up an eight-play, 54-yard drive to the Hawkeyes on their next possession, Minnesota kept the momentum when it forced a Rudock interception in the end zone. Iowa's drive moved to the Gopher 13 yard line before Brock Vereen picked off an attempt in Tevaun Smith's direction to give Minnesota the ball back with 13:58 to play.

Iowa's defense surrendered two first downs, and just 23 yards before the Iowa offense used an 11-play, 62-yard drive to extend its lead. Eight of the plays were rushing attempts -- five to Weisman -- and an 18-yard pitch-and-catch to Martin-Manley on third-and-9 moved the chains. After the drive stalled at the Minnesota 28, Meyer connected on a 46-yard field goal to extend Iowa's lead to 23-7.

Minnesota used a second strong kick return of 53 yards by Antonio Johnson to start the ensuing drive in Iowa territory. On fourth-and-5, Morris sealed the Hawkeye win when he picked off Nelson at midfield.

Iowa scored the game's first points, moving 27 yards over six plays on its second drive. After taking over at its own 42, the Hawkeyes got a 19-yard run from Weisman on a draw up the middle to move to the Minnesota 39. Following two runs and a swing pass to Bullock, Meyer drilled a 49-yard field goal to give Iowa a 3-0 advantage.

Iowa made the score 10-0 with an eight-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter. Weisman opened the drive with three rushes for 18 yards to the 38 before Rudock connected with fullback Adam Cox for a 35 yard gain on third-and-3 off play action to the Minnesota 27.

Two plays later, the Gophers' Eric Murray was whistled for pass interference on an attempt to Martin-Manley in the end zone, setting up first and goal from the 8. Following two Weisman rushes, Rudock found the end zone for the fifth time this season when he scrambled in a five-wide formation for the score.

On the first play of Minnesota's next offensive possession, Iowa's defense forced its first turnover of the game. Nelson threw the ball behind tight end Drew Goodger on a screen attempt, where it deflected in the air. Senior Christian Kirksey snatched the ball for an interception to give Iowa the ball at the Minnesota 23. Iowa's offense couldn't capitalize, and the Hawkeyes came away empty when Meyer's 39-yard field goal attempt hit the up right.

Iowa pushed the margin to 17-0 on its next possession, courtesy of the big play. Following an 11-yard completion to Smith on first down, the Hawkeyes executed perfectly on a bubble screen to junior Damond Powell on the next play. Powell took the pass from Rudock, before cutting to the inside behind a wall of blockers and dashing 74 yards untouched for the touchdown. The play was the longest from the line of scrimmage for the team this season and the 23rd-longest touchdown in Iowa history.

The Hawkeyes return to action Oct. 5, hosting Michigan State (3-1) on Homecoming at 11 a.m. (CT). The Spartans are one of six Big Ten teams enjoying a bye week to close out the final weekend of September in College Football.

Game Day: Iowa at Minnesota in Big Ten opener for Hawkeyes, Gophers

Something has to give on Saturday in Minneapolis?

Look for a game won in the trenches, as Iowa (3-1) and Minnesota (4-0) take battle in TCF Bank Stadium, in the 2013 Big Ten opener for each team.

Both teams emphasize the running attack, so how will explosive plays on play action help each team? Iowa's run defense has not given up a rush touchdown in 2013.

Who will win the battle in the red zone on Saturday?

Other areas that have played a big role in this series lately:

- Turnovers
- Special Teams
- Explosive Plays - play action is only one area to watch!
- Third down efficiency for each offense and defense

A Look at Minnesota in the Battle for Floyd of Rosedale!

OFFENSE for Minnesota begins and ends for the most part with the run. The balance is a running quarterback and the backs. The starting quarterback hasn't thrown either a touchdown or interception on 20 passes. Back up Nelson has two interceptions, one touchdown on 41 passes. Play action has been an issue at times for Iowa secondary.

Left Tackle 78 - Ben Lauer  6-6 302 R-Fr.  Plymouth, Minn. (Wayzata HS), 74 - Marek Lenkiewicz 6-5 289 R-Jr. Tinley Park, Ill. (Victor J. Andrew HS)
Left Guard 52 - Zac Epping 6-2 321 R-Jr.  Kenosha, Wis. (Tremper HS), 73 - Joe Bjorklund 6-5 288 R-So.  Rosemount, Minn. (Rosemount HS)
Center 63 - Jon Christenson 6-4 306 R-So.  Minnetonka, Minn. (Minnetonka HS), 53 - Tommy Olson 6-4 301 Jr.  Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi HS)
Right Guard 64 - Caleb Bak 6-3 302 R-Jr.  Columbia Heights, Minn. (Concordia Academy), 77 - Foster Bush 6-5 303 R-So.  Menasha, Wis. (Menasha HS)
Right Tackle 65 - Josh Campion 6-5 326 R-So.  Fergus Falls, Minn. (Fork Union Military Academy), 79 - Jonah Pirsig  6-9 308 R-Fr. Blue Earth, Minn. (Blue Earth Area HS)
Quarterback 7 - Mitch Leidner   6-4 233 R-Fr.  Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville South HS), 9 - Philip Nelson 6-2 215 So. Mankato, Minn. (Mankato West HS), 5 - Chris Streveler  6-2 209 Fr.  Crystal Lake, Ill. (Marian Central Catholic HS)
Tailback 35 - Rodrick Williams Jr.  5-11 235 So. Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville HS) OR 27 - David Cobb 5-11 225 Jr. Killeen, Texas (Ellison HS), 20 - Donnell Kirkwood 5-10 233 R-Jr. Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlantic)
H-Back/Fullback 30 - Mike Henry 6-1 231 R-Sr.  Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi HS) OR 88 - Maxx Williams 6-4 254 R-Fr. Waconia, Minn. (Waconia HS)
Y Receiver 83 - Drew Goodger  6-5 265 So.  Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Northwest HS), 85 - Lincoln Plsek  6-4 265 So.  Waco, Texas (Reicher HS)
Z Receiver 14 - Isaac Fruechte  6-3 204 R-Jr. Caledonia, Minn. (Rochester CTC), 1 - KJ Maye 5-10 197 So. Mobile, Ala. (Murphy HS) OR 84 - Victor Keise 6-1 188 R-Sr. Coral Springs, Fla. (North Broward Prep)
H Receiver 18 - Derrick Engel   6-2 187 R-Sr.  Chaska, Minn. (Winona State), 17 - Logan Hutton  6-1 181 R-Jr.  La Marque, Texas (La Marque HS)
X Receiver 4 - Donovahn Jones 6-3 190 Fr. Stockbridge, Ga. (Dutchtown HS), 82 - Drew Wolitarsky 6-3 208 Fr. Santa Clarita, Calif. (Canyon County HS)

DEFENSE for Minnesota risk/reward unit much like Northern Illinois. They are capable of getting the sack and tackle for loss. Iowa may get the hurry, often the Golden Gophers pull off the negative play. RE Theiren Cockren leads unit with 3 sacks.

End 98 - Michael Amaefula 6-2 244 Jr. Arlington, Texas (Bowie HS), 95 - Hank Ekpe 6-5 251 Fr. Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville HS)
Tackle 46 - Cameron Botticelli 6-5 290 R-Jr. Milwaukee, Wis. (Marquette University HS), 92 - Roland Johnson  6-1 286 Sr.  Camden, S.C. (Butler CC)
Nose 99 - Ra’Shede Hageman 6-6 311 R-Sr. Minneapolis, Minn. (Washburn HS), 97 - Scott Ekpe 6-4 281 So. Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville HS)
End 55 - Theiren Cockran 6-6 238 R-So. Homestead, Fla. (Homestead HS), 91 - Alex Keith  6-3 237 So. Columbia, Mo. (Hickman HS)
Strongside Linebacker 57 - Aaron Hill 6-2 231 R-Sr. St. Charles, Mo. (Lutheran HS), 56 - Nick Rallis 5-11 227 R-Fr. Edina, Minn. (Edina HS)
Middle Linebacker 5 - Damien Wilson 6-2 254 Jr. Gloster, Miss. (Jones County CC), 50 - Jack Lynn  6-3 234 R-Fr. Lake Zurich, Ill. (Lake Zurich HS)
Weakside Linebacker 26 - De’Vondre Campbell  6-5 225 R-So. Fort Myers, Fla. (Hutchinson CC), 9 - James Manuel  6-2 225 Sr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central HS)
Cornerback 31 - Eric Murray 6-0 194 So. Milwaukee, Wis. (Riverside University HS), 3 - Martez Shabazz 5-11 172 Sr. DeSoto, Texas (Trinity Valley CC)
Strong Safety 21 - Brock Vereen 6-0 202 Sr. Valencia, Calif. (Valencia HS),11 - Antonio Johnson  6-0 207 So.  Cleveland, Ohio (Shaker Heights HS)
Free Safety 2 - Cedric Thompson 5-10 211 Jr. Calipatria, Calif. (Calipatria HS), 7 - Damarius Travis 6-2 208 So.  Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola HS)
Cornerback 13 - Derrick Wells 6-0 206 Jr. Lehigh Acres, Fla. (Lehigh HS), 22 - Jeremy Baltazar 6-0 197 Sr. Corona, Calif. (Blinn College)

SPECIAL TEAMS for Minnesota is best in the return game, as Marcus Jones has tacken a 98 yarder to the house already this season on a kickoff, as well he has scored on a punt return. Kicking is good, as well, though place kicking isn't always consist.

Placekicker 36 - Chris Hawthorne   6-6 200 Sr. Raleigh, N.C. (NC State), 33 - Andrew Harte 6-0 180 Fr. Downers Grove, Ill. (Montini Catholic HS) OR 28 - Ryan Santoso 6-5 260 Fr. Pace, Fla. (Pace HS)
Punter 37 - Peter Mortell 6-2 195 R-So. Green Bay, Wis. (Notre Dame Academy), 94 - Christian Eldred 6-3 185 Jr. Melbourne, Australia (Monash University) OR 41 - Dan Orseske 6-3 205 R.-Sr Chicago, Ill. (Brother Rice HS) OR 28 - Ryan Santoso 6-5 260 Fr. Pace, Fla. (Pace HS)
Placeholder 37 - Peter Mortell 6-2 195 R-So. Green Bay, Wis. (Notre Dame Academy)
Long Snapper 48 - Jake Filkins   6-2 240 Sr.  Prescott, Wis. (Prescott),;96 - Dave Ramlet 6-2 238 R-Jr. Appleton, Wis. (Xavier HS) OR 40 - Jared Hartman 6-3 229 R-So. Falcon Heights, Minn. (Cretin-Derham Hall HS)
Kick Returner 15 - Marcus Jones  5-8 166 Jr.  Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest-Rolesville),11 - Antonio Johnson        6-0      207     So.    Cleveland, Ohio (Shaker Heights, Ohio)
Punt Returner 15 - Marcus Jones  5-8 166 Jr.  Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest-Rolesville), 1 - KJ Maye 5-10 197 So. Mobile, Ala. (Murphy)

Student-Athlete Status for Sept. 28 game vs. Iowa
30 - Mike Henry, Questionable 
47 - Alex Bisch, Out
29 - Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Out for the season

The Hawkeyes have overcome back to back two game losing streaks with wins over both Iowa State and Western Michigan this season. The Hawkeyes have lost two in a row at TCF Bank Stadium, so can Iowa pull off the Trifecta?

Quarterback 15 Jack Rudock, the sophomore makes his first Big Ten start on the road. He is a pre-med game manager for the Iowa offense. He did well at Iowa State and has shown poise in the pocket as he as played, grown over the four non-conference games. He faced a windy game at Iowa State and he may in Minneapolis, as well. Rain is expected pre-game. Rudock has four touchdowns via run and he has thrown five touchdowns, three interceptions. Redshirt freshman 16 C.J. Beathard took first snaps in 59-3 win over Western Michigan last weekend.

Running Backs 45 Mark Weisman, the junior leads the country in carries, second among B1G backs in rushing, but offensive coordinator Greg Davis has been rotating Iowa's RBs, often every two carries. Junior 5 Damon Bullock may see a little more work in the passing game at RB, than Weisman? He also is running better, after 4 games. Sophomore 33 Jordan Canzeri is good change of pace back. True frosh 29 LeShun Daniels, Jr. hasn't played on the road so far. Another power back, like former Iowa back Shonn Greene. Iowa is deeper at RB than last year.

Tight Ends Iowa can and likely will play all five TEs in some phase of the game. This is the deepest TE corp in Iowa history and junior 82 Ray Hamilton is a player to watch. Senior 86 C.J. Fiedorowicz is the #1 TE and scored a TD in the red zone in Iowa's season opener. Redshirt freshman 46 George Kittle may be another weapon, who executed an outstanding 46 yarder on a wheel route in the OOC. Sophomore 87 Jake Duzey has experience, while sophomore 80 Henry Krieger-Cottle is the fifth TE. Henry scored a 16 yard TD at Michigan as a freshman. This is the corp in Iowa's passing game that will determine how competitive the Hawkeyes are in the Legends race.

Receivers The question at WR, who emerges as a consistent option, after leading receiver, junior 11 Kevonte Martin-Manley (20 catches, 1 TD)? Sophomore 17 Jacob Hillyer has caught TDs in back to back games. JUCO transfer, junior 22 Damond Powell has a TD on 3 explosive receptions. But, will he be asked to do much on the road in the Big Ten opener as a newbie? Sophomore 4 Tevaun Smith is experienced and was targeted in the passing game at ISU with success. Seniors 8 Don Shumpert and 23 Jordan Cotton may be players to locate. Rudock, as mentioned, is a game manager and has the Iowa offense ahead of senior James Vandenberg, who lead Iowa in every snap in 2012.

Offensive line for Iowa has experience with six players in the mix. Player to watch is sophomore center 63 Austin Blythe, who appears to be leading this offense well, though Iowa beat writer Marc Morehouse suggests the OLine is behind the one lead by departed center James Ferentz. Junior LT 68 Brandon Scherff is the next best Iowa lineman, while senior RT 70 Brett Van Sloten is the captain.

Iowa will like be 55-45 run-pass this season, but Iowa wants to be a balanced attack and they showed in the season opener that they will air it out in third and short.  How will OC Davis call this Big Ten opener. He is 1-0 on the road in Big Ten road openers. He has a better roster in 2013.

The Iowa defense is the heart of the team lead by a trio of senior linebackers. The defensive line is improved from 2012. They are getting some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but few sacks. Iowa likes to stay in base 4-3 defense, but they will rotate some players in situations under second year DC Phil Parker, who has handled secondary 14 of 15 years he had been a coach under head coach Kirk Ferentz.

Linebackers MLB 44 James Morris and OLB 20 Christian Kirksey are the captains of the defense and special teams. WLB 31 Anthony Hitchens (1 sack) leads Iowa in tackles. These three seniors are playing well. Morris had an interception at ISU and Kirksey has a nose for the football, with a fumble return for a TD in season opener. Junior MLB 52 Quinton Alston has played as a situational rusher. Iowa has a true frosh 6 Reggie Spearman, who is an amazing 17 year old. Junior WLB 55 Marcus Collins is active on special teams.

Defensive Line has been strong against the run vs. running quarterbacks and running backs in 2013. Zero touchdowns on the ground thus far this season. Senior RE 79 Dominic Alvis is the senior leader and tackler in DLine. Iowa rotates three defensive tackles in juniors 71 Carl Davis, 90 Louie Trinca-Pasat and sophomore 97 Darian Cooper (1 sack). Sophomore LE 95 Drew Ott is a kid out of Nebraska, who was going to be redshirted in 2012, but had it pulled and became a contributor his final five games as a true frosh. Junior DE 98 Mike Hardy will rotate in. It should be a physical game in the trenches.

Secondary is lead by seniors CB 19 B.J. Lowery and FS 5 Tanner Miller, who lead Iowa in interceptions. Lowery had two Pick-6 against Western Michigan last week. Junior SS 37 John Lowdermilk's papa played at Ohio State and he likes run support, as all of Iowa's secondary have shown. CB 14 Desmond King is a true freshman out of Detroit and has one fumble recovery in three starts. Iowa can play some others in the secondary, if need, but Lowery and Miller lead unit.

Iowa has solid special teams lead by three seniors. PK 96 Mike Meyer could be among the best in B1G and nation as a placekicker. LS 61 Casey Kreiter is very solid. Kick returner and gunner 23 Jordan Cotton was one of the best in the Big Ten last year and is getting better each week under new special teams/RB coach Chris White, a former Vikings assistant. Punt returner 11 Martin-Manley is leading Big Ten and had back to back punt returners to the house last week.  Sophomore punter 98 Connor Kornbath is a solid net punter with Iowa's punt unit and good inside 20. This is an area both teams will look to be successful in.

Our Pick: Iowa 38, Minnesota 21

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is dean of the Big Ten. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, now in third season with Golden Gophers (1-1 vs. Ferentz at UM) is well liked and offers interesting chess game in this one.

Iowa is vulnerable in a tight game. It's a rivalry game, so anything is possible.

Battle of Floyd of Rosedale should be a good one in Minneapolis this year in Big Ten Opener. 

The Home Team has won three straight in the Battle of Floyd of Rosedale

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1) will be playing its second road game and rivalry contest in three games on Saturday when the team looks to defend Floyd of Rosedale against Minnesota (4-0) on its Homecoming.

It is the Big Ten opener for each team, as it was last year, in Iowa City, when Iowa won 31-13.

The home team has won three straight in this series, with Iowa winning nine out of the last 12 over Minnesota. Iowa has never won outdoors in TCF Bank Stadium, losing two games by a combined total of four points (2010, 2011). Iowa last won in Minneapolis in 2008, in the final game in the Metrodome for the Golden Gophers (55-0).

First-year Iowa receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said Friday afternoon that the receivers have been upbeat and ready to go after winning their last three games. Iowa lost season opener on a costly interception by first year starting sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock, and a last minute field goal to lose by three vs. Northern Illinois, where Jerry Kill coached prior to moving to Minnesota in 2011.

"The mood around the team has been extremely positive this week," said Kennedy. "They're excited to be here in Minneapolis because it's the start of Big Ten play and tomorrow is another trophy game that holds a significant meaning."

After playing in front of a sold out crowd at Iowa State two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes will face another boisterous crowd on Saturday at a sold out TCF Bank Stadium. Kennedy said the team prepared for the anticipated crowd noise at practice.

"We practiced with crowd noise and loud music during the week, so our guys really had to focus," Kennedy said. "They handled it well."

Iowa's passing offense has made strides the last couple games and will face the Big Ten's ninth-ranked team in passing defense tomorrow -- the Golden Gophers have allowed 270 yards per game through the air this season. Kennedy has seen improvement in the Hawkeye receivers.

"I'm pleased with progress, but we're not a finished product," said Kennedy. "We have to keep improving every week. The great thing about (our receivers) is that they want to be good, so they work extremely hard in practice. They're moving in that direction."

Leading the Hawkeye receiving corps is junior Kevonte Martin-Manley, who ranks fifth in the league in receptions (5.0 per game). Kennedy likes the leadership qualities the Hawkeye junior is instilling in his teammates.

"His work ethic is infectious on his teammates," Kennedy said. "They see that he works so hard and what I always tell Kevonte is that is the only way he can work. He has good ability, but he's maximizing his ability. The other guys get their cue from him and they're moving forward."

Martin-Manley appears to mirror head coach Kirk Ferentz on the field. A business-like mind set for KMM, whether as a receiver or on special teams.

The motto for the receiving corp heading into the Big Ten opener:

"Go out and play hard. We have to be aggressive and get after them," said Kennedy.

The chatter out of Minneapolis this week with the Minnesota Golden Gophers is 'hate' and the rivalry, playing for Floyd of Rosedale. The pig became a trophy to reduce the hate driven by Minnesota in the 1930s, so it seems ironic to hear it today, again from the Golden Gophers. 

Look for a physical game found in the trenches, whether it was during the series in the 1980s when Iowa coach was an offensive line coach for Iowa or today, as the two teams walk out on the TCF Bank field.

A key in the Iowa-Minnesota game on Saturday?

Success on third down, either on defense or offense, can often go a long way in determining the outcome in college football. Iowa football defensive coordinator Phil Parker knows the importance of the Hawkeye defense getting off the field on third down.

Part of that success depends on what happens on first and second down. The Hawkeye offense is converting 52% (34-66) of its third down opportunities, and is 1-3 on fourth down. Many of those 66 opportunities have been short yardage situations, which add to the chances of converting those opportunities.

In addition to its third down success, Iowa's average time of possession is 35:48 per game through four outings. That figures ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the nation. Iowa's third down conversion percentage is third in the league and ranks 20th nationally.

The Hawkeye defense has performed well on third down in the four non-conference games. Hawkeye opponents are converting just 24.1 percent of third down opportunities, a figure that ranks third in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation. Parker knows the down and distance plays a big part in that success by his Hawkeye defense.

"That helps our defense a lot, it keeps us off the field a little," said Parker. "Time of possession is big; you don't have to run as many plays. Once again, it comes down to preparation and execution and it's what our kids have done in all areas, offense, defense and special teams."

The Iowa defense has come up with a number of turnovers in four games, collecting six interceptions and three fumbles. In Iowa's most recent win over Western Michigan, senior cornerbacks B.J. Lowery returned two interceptions for touchdowns and WR  Martin-Manley had two touchdowns on punt returns.

"I think a lot of it comes from the preparation during the week," said Parker, following Iowa's Thursday practice. "We spend a little more time on third down preparation, and the guys are starting to get a better understanding of what you have to do on third down. Obviously, if you get them in third and long it is better, you have a better opportunity. We've been doing a better job on first and second down, and we're trying to be aggressive with it."

Parker is pleased with the overall play of the defense through four games, and says every down is important to being a good defense.

"I think what we are doing is playing a lot of base defense on first and second down," said Parker. "We try to keep them to three yards or less on first down, make it second and eight, third and eight. That gives us an advantage. The last couple of games we have been forcing third and five, third and six. It gives us an opportunity, but it still comes down to execution and preparation, and our kids are doing a good job right now."

Minnesota, Saturday's opponent, has also dominated time of possession at just under 33 minutes per game. The Golden Gophers average 282.2 rushing yards per game and rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at over 41 points per game.

"Obviously you need turnovers, get a possession back for the offense," said Parker. "That's what we're doing, getting stops on third down, getting three and outs, or getting a turnover to set up the offense. That's our job, to get the ball back, that's what we do."

Minnesota enters the game with a perfect 4-0 record and Parker has been impressed with what he has seen of the Golden Gophers.

"They are very good up front, a good offensive line with excellent running backs," said Parker. "Either of the two quarterbacks can run the ball. They have receivers who are tough, hard nose kids, who can catch the deep ball on play action. It's a great challenge for us, they are very talented."

The game has three major phases, and each team will work to win the battle on offense, on defense and on special teams. Iowa put all three phases together in the 59-3 win over Western Michigan (0-4). However, unlike WMU, the Golden Goohers are completing games.

Iowa and the Golden Gophers kick off at 2:36 p.m. Saturday in Minneapolis in the annual battle for Floyd of Rosedale. ABC will televise the game to a majority of the nation, while all other sections of the nation can view the contest on ESPN2.

This is the oldest rivalry for the Hawkeyes, as the two foes meet for the 107th time in the series.

Week 5: Many open Conference play, while others enjoy non-conference match ups in College Football

The last Saturday of September is headlined with two big Big Ten conference games, one in the Legends Division for the Floyd of Rosedale and the other a primetime affair spotlighting the top two teams in the Leaders Division, actually the top two teams presently in the conference.

Conference play is the heart of every College Football season and 2013 isn't any different. As many teams have closed out one-third of the season to date.

Miami-FL at South Florida 11:00 a.m. ESPNU (HD) - The Hurricane is off to a good start in 2013 and this ACC-AAC should favor the visitor!

Miami-OH at Illinois 11:00 a.m. BTN (HD) / BTN2Go- The Fighting Illini are coming off a bye week, after first loss of season and will close out non-conference season today, before another bye week and hitting the road in the Big Ten!

Northern Illinois at Purdue 11:00 a.m. ESPN2 (HD) - Could the Boilermakers pull off the upset in the first year of coach Darrel Hazell on Homecoming?

Oklahoma State at West Virginia 11:00 a.m. ESPN (HD) - The Cowboys open Big 12 play coming off a bye week, as they head out to Morgantown.

SMU at TCU 11:00 a.m. FS1 (HD) - This once was a conference game in the old Southwest, but those days are long gone for the Mustangs and Horned Frogs in Big D.

South Carolina at UCF 11:00 a.m. ABC (HD) - The Knights are off to a solid 3-0 start coming off a Bye Week, while the Gamecocks have been knocked down already in '13.

South Alabama at Tennessee 11:21 a.m.SEC TV / ESPN-GP / espn3- The Volunteers look to regroup after back to back losses ahead of a big SEC showdown to open October.

East Carolina at North Carolina 11:30 a.m. (ESPN-GP / espn3) *2 / ACC Network (HD) - Can the Pirates upset the Tar Heels to close out September?

Virginia at Pittsburgh 11:30 a.m. FSN Affiliates / RSN (HD) / (ESPN-GP / espn3) - One of the newcomers to the ACC hosts one of the traditional members of the conference!

Navy at Western Kentucky 1:00 p.m. ESPN News (HD) - The Midshipmen hit the road for a difficult game vs. the Hilltoppers of the Sun Belt.

Colorado at Oregon State 2:00 p.m. PAC-12 Network (HD) / Pac-12 Video - A battle of two Pac 12 teams that have been through some rough waters already this season!

#10 Florida State at Boston College 2:30 p.m. ABC  or ESPN2 - The Seminoles head to Boston in their second road game in the early ACC season this September.

Iowa at Minnesota 2:30 p.m. ABC or ESPN2 - Floyd of Rosedale is on the line as these two rivals in the Big Ten Legends Division open conference play with a physical contest where "hate" is being thrown by the home team!
Pick: Iowa 38, Minnesota 21

#6 LSU at Georgia 2:30 p.m.CBS (HD) / CBS Video - This is an important inter-divisional game in the SEC as the Tigers battle the Bulldogs in Athens.

Oklahoma at Notre Dame 2:30 p.m. NBC (HD) / NBC Video - The Sooners are 3-0 coming off a bye week, but the Fighting Irish are at home and may get better QB play the the visitors from OU.

UTEP at Colorado State 2:30 p.m.CBSSN (HD) - A battle between C-USA vs. MWC foes in Fort Collins!

Wake Forest at #5 Clemson 2:30 p.m.ESPNU - It's Homecoming in Clemson as the Demon Deacons come to town for this ACC game!

Army vs. Louisiana Tech (Dallas) 3:00 p.m.FS1 (HD) - The Cadets hit the road for a neutral site match up vs. the Bulldogs under first year coach Skip Holtz.

Houston at UTSA 3:00 p.m. FSN Affiliates (HD) - A battle in the Lone Star State between C-USA teams now!

Temple at Idaho 4:00 p.m. ALT (HD) / SWX (cable) - The Owls head out to Moscow to play the Vandals!

Ole Miss at #1 Alabama 5:30  p.m.ESPN (HD) - The Crimson Tide return SEC for 2nd divisional game at home in Tuscaloosa.

Arizona at Washington 6:00 p.m. FOX (HD) - Pac 12 opener for each, as Wildcats hit road, after bye week.

Florida at Kentucky 6:00 p.m. ESPNU (HD) - The Gators debut new quarterback, after losing Jeff Driskel last week to a season ending injury... big opportunity for Mark Stoops in Lexington!

Texas A&M at Arkansas 6:00 p.m. ESPN2 (HD) - Johnny Football hits the road in SEC, as Aggies welcome new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema to the conference!

Wyoming at Texas State 6:00 p.m.LHN / $Video? - Can the Cowboys take care of business in the Lone Star State?

Arkansas State at Missouri 6:30 p.m. CSCA / ESPN-GP / espn3 / (CSS / CST) (cable) - The Tigers return home to Columbia after winning in Bloomington last week.

UAB at Vanderbilt 6:30 p.m. FS South (HD) / (ESPN-GP / espn3) - A C-USA foe looks to sneak in and sneak out of a SEC venue with a win!

Air Force at Nevada 7:00 p.m. CBSSN (HD) - The Falcons hit road this year, after taking care of Wolf Pack last season.

San Diego State at New Mexico State 7:00 p.m. ALT / FSSD / ESPN-GP / FCSP (cable) / espn3 - The Aztecs coach Rocky Long knows a little about little about winning in Lae Cruces.

UNLV at New Mexico 7:00 p.m. RSRM+ / MWC Video / cable - Coach Bob Davie needs to win in the MWC at home.

Wisconsin at #4 Ohio State 7:00 p.m. ABC (HD) - The three-time defending Big Ten champs leads conference at 1-0, but Buckeyes likely have the 2013 title on their mind, absent of one, after winning it in 2009.

#2 Stanford at Washington State 9:00 p.m.ESPN - The Cardinal hit the road in Pac 12 play, after winning the conference opener at home, while Cougars hope to move to 2-0 in Pac 12?

Southern Miss at Boise State 9:15 p.m. ESPNU (HD) - The Broncos have gotten some bumps and bruises in '13, so the Golden Eagles are likely in for a long day traveling to Boise.

California at #3 Oregon 9:30 p.m. PAC-12 Network (HD) / Pac-12 Video - The Ducks likely will enjoy wet weather in Eugene in this Pa 12 game.

USC at Arizona State 9:30 p.m.-ESPN2 - The Trojans hit Pac 12 road, where Sun Devils are trying to avoid 0-2 start in conference?

Games online only or not scheduled for nationally available networks:

Akron at Bowling Green 1:30 p.m. espn3 - MAC... Zips vs. Falcons!

Albany at Old Dominion 5:00 p.m. $Video - The Monarchs are making move from FCS for a future date in the FBS, as a C-USA member.

Central Michigan at North Carolina State 2:30 p.m. espn3 / (Bright House / TWC) (cable) - Coach Dave Doeren needs to rebound, after dropping ACC opener, so he will welcome old MAC foe from his recent day leading NIU.

Florida Atlantic at Rice 6:00 p.m. FCSA (cable) - This is now a C-USA match up!

Fresno State at Hawaii 11:00 p.m. Oceanic PPV / KSEE24 (cable) / MWC Video - Once WAC foes, this is an important match up in MWC.

Kent State at Western Michigan 6:00 p.m. espn3 - Row, row, row the boat, gently in the MAC, as Broncos hope to find first win of season as they kick off conference play!

FCS #1 North Dakota State at South Dakota State 2:00 p.m.(ND NBC / Midco) (HD cable) / $Video - One heck of a MVC openers with two of the best teams in FCS teams!

Toledo at Ball State 2:00 p.m. espn3 - Battle in the MAC in Muncie as Candinals host Rockets in important conference match up.

Troy at Duke 2:00 p.m. espn3 / (Bright House / TWC) (cable) - The Blue Devils return to non-conference in attempt to get back on track.

Tulane at Louisiana Monroe 6:00 p.m. espn3 / (Bright House / TWC) (cable) - C-USA program heading to a Sun Belt team with conference bragging rights on the line.

UConn at Buffalo 2:30 p.m. espn3 p.m. ESPNU - An AAC program heading to a MAC school for conference bragging rights on the line, as underdog conference gets to host.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Night College Football

The Cyclones and Hokies both won on Thursday night, who looks good on Friday night?

Middle Tennessee at BYU 8:00 p.m.ESPNU (HD) - the Cougars are a tough team at home...

Utah State at San Jose State 8:00 p.m.ESPN (HD) - a little Mountain West match up on Friday night!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week 5: Thursday night in College Ranks

Iowa State at Tulsa 6:30 p.m.FS1 (HD) - Third meeting in two seasons favors the home team.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech 6:30  p.m.ESPN (HD) - Yellow Jackets are tough opponent on short week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Iowa at Minnesota: Physical Line Play likely on display in the Battle for Floyd of Rosedale

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- After facing variations of spread offenses during the first four weeks of 2013, the University of Iowa defense is ready for some good old-fashioned Big Ten Conference football.

The Hawkeyes hit the road for the second time this season, with another trophy game on the line.  The Hawkeyes won 27-21 over Iowa State in Ames to take back the Cy-Hawk Trophy. The Hawkeyes will try to do the same at Minnesota. Iowa overcame a two game losing streak vs. ISU. The Hawkeyes have lost two straight at TCF Bank Stadium vs. Minnesota.

"(Iowa and Minnesota) try to run the ball and pound it down each other's throat," said junior defensive tackle Carl Davis. "This is Big Ten play, that's what Big Ten teams do."

Iowa (3-1) plays at Minnesota (4-0) on Saturday at 2:36 p.m. (CT) at TCF Bank Stadium in a battle for Floyd of Rosedale. The game will be televised on ABC with a reverse mirror on ESPN2.

During its second-straight 4-0 start, the Golden Gophers have piled up 1,129 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground with four different players gaining more than 250 yards. Minnesota's rushing total ranks 13th nationally, averaging 282.3 yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry.

Iowa's defense gives up 91.5 yards per game and has yet to yield a rushing touchdown in 2013. The Hawkeyes have held each of its last three opponents under 75 yards on the ground.

"We feel like we're a physical front, especially in the front seven, and we can stop the run game," said Davis. "I am confident going against anybody that we can stop the run. We have a powerful unit and a good second unit that can come in and gives us a break."

Four different Minnesota players have tallied a 100-yard rushing game in 2013 -- running backs David Cobb and Rodrick Williams and quarterbacks Mitch Leidner and Philip Nelson.

Nelson started the first three games, piling up 221 yards on the ground. Leidner has 251 yards rushing in four games, which included a 151-yard, four touchdown performance filling in for an injured Nelson against San Jose State on Sept. 21.

"This is a different type of offense than we've seen the first couple of weeks," said senior safety Tanner Miller. "They are not the spread option-type team; they like to pound it between the tackles. We've shown we can have success stopping the run, and we're going to have to continue that this week."

Miller says the Hawkeyes need to play good sound football to combat the Gophers' quarterback rushing attack.

"It comes down to assignment football," said Miller. "That's where studying film comes in and being able to get those run-pass reads. They have seen that our second, third-level guys are aggressive against the run, so they'll probably try to exploit the pass. (Leidner) has both areas of his game that he can use effectively."

Leidner was 5-of-12 for 71 yards against San Jose State. He is 12-of-20 for 176 yards on the year.

With Floyd of Rosedale on the line, senior linebacker Christian Kirksey says the Hawkeyes need to be prepared for a hostile road environment.

"Their crowd is going to be in the game and our backs are going to be against the wall," said Kirksey. "We have to go up there and get the job done. We know what happened the previous two games (at Minnesota), we just have to have a different approach to the game."

Iowa won last season over Minnesota, 31-13, in Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes haven't won in two trips to TCF Bank Stadium, losing 27-24 in 2010 and 22-21 in 2011.

Iowa has ended two game losing streaks in back to back weeks with wins at Iowa State and vs. Western Michigan. Iowa goes for the trifecta at Minnesota.

Iowa @ Minnesota for Floyd of Rosedale and a win in the Big Ten Opener on the line!

Iowa will point to last year!

2012: Iowa 31, Minnesota 13 in Iowa City

On the flip side, the Golden Gophers are looking for payback.

Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson, started the final seven games of 2012, but missed this year's San Jose State game, due to injury. Nelson didn't start until after last year's loss at Iowa.

“I’ve seen Philip earlier [Tuesday] and he seems to be getting along pretty good,” said Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. “We’ll start out practice and see how things go. We’re not going to change our style; what we do offensively. So [Philip] is going to need to be 100 percent for us to give him the green light. We certainly will if he’s ready to go.” 

Five Things You Need To Know about Minnesota heading into Big Ten opener with Iowa:

2011: Minnesota 22, Iowa 21 in Minneapolis

1. Minnesota hosts Iowa this weekend for Homecoming. The Gophers are 54-35-3 all-time in Homecoming games, but will be looking for their first Homecoming win since 2009 (35-20 win against Purdue) when the Hawkeyes comes to town. Minnesota is 10-2 with Iowa as their Homecoming opponent. The Gophers' last Homecoming meeting with the Hawkeyes was a 23-17 win in 1974. Floyd of Rosedale is also on the line this week, as Iowa and Minnesota have been playing for the coveted Floyd of Rosedale since 1935. Minnesota is 41-35-2 when playing for Floyd of Rosedale and has won two of its last three meetings with Iowa. The Hawkeyes are the current holders of Floyd of Rosedale, as they beat the Gophers in Iowa City last year.

2. Minnesota rushed for six touchdowns (Mitch Leidner four, David Cobb two) and 353 yards (most since 2005) in its 43-24 win against San Jose State last Saturday. It was the first time that Minnesota had rushed for six touchdowns in one game since it ran for seven scores in a 63-21 win against Toledo on Sept. 4, 2004. Laurence Maroney, Marion Barber III and Justin Valentine each rushed for two touchdowns against Toledo, while Amir Pinnix ran for one.

3. In his first career start, redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner put on a performance that earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and a spot in the Gopher record book. Leidner rushed 24 times for 151 yards and four touchdowns against San Jose State. His four touchdown runs tied a Minnesota quarterback record set by Curtis Wilson in 1967 against Indiana. Leidner was the first Gopher to score four touchdowns in one game since Logan Payne against Temple in 2006, and the first to score four times on the ground since Marion Barber III against Ohio in 2003. He is the eighth Gopher ever to score four or more touchdowns in a game. Leidner's 151-yard rushing total is the seventh-most all-time by a Minnesota quarterback.

4. The Gophers have scored 22 touchdowns through four games this season. They have rushed for 16 touchdowns (Gophers rushed for 14 touchdowns in 13 games last year), passed for one and have also scored five non-offensive touchdowns (one kickoff return, one punt return, one fumble return, one interception return and one blocked field goal return) this year. It is the first time that Minnesota has scored five non-offensive touchdowns in one season since 2009. That year, the Gophers scored 33 total touchdowns and five (three fumble returns, one blocked field goal return and one blocked punt return) of them came via special teams or defense.

5. The Gophers are 19-for-20 (95 percent) in the red zone this year, which ranks third in the Big Ten (Penn State is 15-for-15, 100 percent and Ohio State is 21-for-22, 95.5 percent) and is tied for 13th in the nation with Louisville (also 19-for-20). Minnesota leads the nation with red zone rushing touchdowns with 14. Eight of those runs, which includes five from last week, have been one-yard touchdowns.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Football. Coach Ferentz News Conference Transcript

COACH FERENTZ: Obviously look forward to getting going this week. Our captains again are the same four guys. We've got James Morris, Chris Kirksey on the defensive side, Brett Van Sloten and Mark Weisman offensively. Certainly pleased for both Kevonte and B.J. being recognized this past weekend. That was a nice feat for those guys. Obviously happy with the win. That's all behind us now and we open up Big Ten play, travel up to play Minnesota who's got a very good football team and do it on the road, so we'll get to work this afternoon and see if we can get ready for it.

Q. Maybe some people were wondering about this team going into the season where the big players are going to come from. It seems like when you look back to Kevonte last week and what B.J. has done and certainly Damon Powell has made a few plays like that, it seems like you do have some big play capability. (Luke Meredith, AP)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, Damon kind of the exception, but I'd add Tanner Miller with a couple interceptions, Chris Kirksey that first game. For us to have a good football team, our best guys have to step forward, our most experienced guys, and outside of Damon I think those other guys certainly fit that bill. And for us to move forward we're going to need that same kind of production from our veteran guys.

Q. In some ways does Saturday's game feel like an old school football game? (Rick Brown, ,Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, that's probably a fair way to describe it. They're really a physical football team, similar to last year, but they're a little bit different obviously with the quarterback situation now, and then they are running the ball really well. It's amazing in some ways because their starting quarterback, at least the guy they started the season with, didn't play the last game and a half, and their best running back, a guy that we had a lot of respect for a year ago, hasn't played very much, either. They've got two other guys that have stepped up and done a great job. They're playing really well. They're playing well on defense, too, so it should be interesting that way.

Q. Do you like where your lines are going into this game? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: We're gaining ground, but this will be a big test for us. They're big and physical offensively. I think they're over 310 average, and we're hardly that kind of size, so it's going to be a real test for us.

Q. Do you ever have a vibe or a feel for how your team is coming along at this point or do you need Big Ten competition to know? (Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: It's week to week. It's week to week, and you never know what the Big Ten is going to be like, either. That's something I tried to emphasize to our team in August, the way things look in August or July or June, and everybody is prognosticating and guessing. You just never know what it's going to look like when you get to September, October, November. It's all week to week, and I just know this: Minnesota looks like they have a really good football team. They've been playing well all four of their games. Yeah, they've got some real strengths.

Q. When you look back to your two games in TCF Bank stadium, the team hasn't played exceptionally well in either one. Any reason for that? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, part of that is a credit to them, but part of the blame lies at our feet, too. If we play like we did the last two times, we're not going to win the game. I'll make that prediction right now. I don't know where they're going to be. My guess is they're going to be ready to go and they've playing well, and my guess is they'll be ready to go doing the same thing this week. Certainly we're going to have to be a lot more ready than we were the last two trips up there.

Q. Are they different with Leidner at quarterback? (Tom Kakert, Hawkeye Report)

COACH FERENTZ: Not dramatically. They're a little different. No. 9 is not as big as Leidner, but he might be a hair quicker. I don't know, but they're both very similar. They're both very capable passers and they're good runners and tough runners. You have to respect both with both guys.

Q. Kill and his staff have been together since the dawn of time. They can draw on a huge batch of experience. (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, to me it's a little bit like when Randy Walker went to Northwestern; pretty much his staff went with him, and when I came here, our staff came from nine different places. I think it makes the transition and just the whole transition a lot faster and smoother. There's some real advantages to that. We didn't have that luxury when we came here 15 years ago. But he certainly has, and the other most important part about it is they've been successful everywhere they've been. Every stop they've made they've been well coached, and you can see that in their football team right now. The record is the same as last year, but they're a much different team. They're much better.

Q. Going into league play it looks like anybody could come out of this division. Do you like where your team sits going in? (Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, and I'd agree, and I'd take it a step further. That's what it looks like right now, but things are going to look different in November. The key is to take care of business week to week. You know, it's so early to try to predict, so you just that's the thing about college football and we talked about that a couple weeks ago, every game is so important because you only get 12 cracks, and now certainly being in conference play/divisional play, that amps it up even more. Every game really is important on your résumé, unlike some other sports. It's the nature of the beast when you only play 12.

Q. When you come into a season, do you think some teams are above the others? (Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: No, you guys do that. I don't do that, other than Ohio State. Ohio State, I'm 24 years in the league, they've been pretty good, and the nine I was away they were pretty good. You go back to Paul Brown, so pre Paul Brown they've been pretty good. Outside of that, there's always obvious suspects, but that's the fun part about football and sports, you just never know who's going to do well.

Q. Everyone has growth. Do you ever remember a time when there was such balance?

COACH FERENTZ: I mean, yeah, generally since '81 the league has been that way. I think our conference has, the Big Ten conference. Some years it goes very predictably, other years not so predictably, but it was predictable I know this, the 13 years prior to '81 it was very predictable who was going to win, and since that time you've never known. At least there's been some mystery involved in it. Whether or not this year turns out that way or not, we'll see. We've got a lot of games to play.

Q. What are your feelings about your team's special teams play so far? (Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I think we're moving forward, and that was one of the good things about Saturday beyond the returns. That's obvious, that part. But the best part about the returns, Kevonte's effort was good, but the best part to me was the 10 guys away from the ball were doing a good job. And then there were a lot of the things I think subtly that took place on special teams that were encouraging. We're not there yet, but at least we're I think starting to make some strides. That was a concern a couple weeks ago, a big concern.

Q. Is there some ownership being taken by younger players on special teams? (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: If we're going to be good, we need that. We need guys embracing that, otherwise we're going to wear our other guys out. If we have to do that, we'll do that. Minnesota does a really nice job on special teams to that point, too. But yeah, you like to get other guys involved, and guys have to embrace that and then they've got to go out and do the job with it.

Q. You've changed special teams coaches. Has there been any significant change to the way you go about coaching them? (Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, it's a different approach, different it's kind of like offense and defense. For the most part I try to let the coordinators coordinate, and it's pretty much been that way for 14 years prior. That part is the same. Yeah, Chris has a little different approach to things, but we're in a developmental stage, kind of the whole football team.

Q. The design that you had on punt returner with Riley in the back. Is that something you plan to use going forward? (Brendan Stile,

COACH FERENTZ: It depends on who we're playing, if we're worried about the ball hitting the ground we'll implement that. So it might be a situation or it might be if you play a rugby punt type team, that type of deal, but yeah, the whole idea is to keep the ball from hitting the ground.

Q. Coach Kill said it's an old fashioned game this Saturday. He thinks that's good for football. Just from a personal standpoint how do you feel about playing a game like this?

COACH FERENTZ: Just depends on the week. Different games come up, different styles of play. In some ways it's interesting there's more I don't know, I haven't done a study on it, but it seems like you're seeing more teams using the quarterback as a runner, at least we're seeing that. I'm thinking about the Northwestern Western Michigan film we had a couple weeks ago. You know, it's like anything how things rotate and cycle around. But the great thing about college football I think is you kind of face everything as coaches. You face everything. And for fans, they see a little bit of everything during the course of a season. This week it's a different style.

Q. Coach Kill talked about how his staff is a support group, including some of hishealth issues. How important is that for a staff to pick up the slack for another guy? (Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: You know, we've been down a similar path maybe with you think about Norm's health issues over the years. But when you work in close quarters, I think that's one of the things about athletics, most of us involved in it probably enjoy, be it coaches, players. There's a bond that goes beyond like what you do, just what you do. There has to be because you spend so many hours together, especially with the coaching staff.I think most of us probably spend a lot more time together than we do with our wives or our families, which is probably true in a lot of professions, but this might go a couple notches beyond. And you go through the highs and lows. I'm not surprised they have great camaraderie, especially his staff has been together for so long, I would think that would be a real natural thing. I guess they all do a great job when something happens to anybody involved.

Q. What kind of personality does B.J. have? (KCCI-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: B.J. Lowery? Interesting, actually. He's a really delightful young guy.

Q. What about him is so interesting? (KCCI-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: He plays Monopoly. How's that? Every now and then you know some trivia, right? He's got his own little Monopoly set. Put that one in the Hawkeye trivia bank. That's a good one. I was shocked. Nobody plays Monopoly. Nobody plays board games anymore. He does. Makes him a dinosaur, doesn't it?

Q. How well has he played for you so far this season? (KCCI-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: He's done a really good job. He's one of the guys that comes to mind, for me, of guys that really had outstanding springs. Boffeli is another guy. Connor did a really good job last spring. I think our linebackers really practiced well. I've said that before, but I thought BJ really was just going hard on defense and then going really hard, and we spent a lot of time on that special teams work, and he's truly a leader there and does a great job on our special teams. You know, he's really embraced being an older guy.

Q. I think he's one and only from Cincinnati. How did that happen? (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: You know, I'm not sure, other than Phil gets his eye on a guy, and when he does, it seems to be the guy he ends up with. That's always kind of a strange convoluted path it seems like. But Micah Hyde was the year before, and then B.J. was the next year. So he just kind of identified B.J., and next thing you know B.J. was here. That was it.

Q. What do you think will help from last Saturday when you could use the second stringers, the third stringers to get them playing time? (Luke Meredith, AP)

COACH FERENTZ: I don't see any downside in it. I don't know what the upside is other than it's always good when you get people into games, guys that have worked hard and practiced hard. I don't know if reward is the right word for it, but it's a nice opportunity for them to go out there and play, and I thought for the most part they made a pretty good account of themselves.

Q. Talk about how Jacob Hillyer is kind of emerging. (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, good to see him coming alive a little bit, not just catching the football but doing something with it afterwards. That's a real positive, and he's a young player, so he's still climbing the ladder. But it's always good when guys can make some plays.

Q. You have a bunch of those guys in that receiving corps? (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, it seems like they're getting more involved. We knew coming into the season we were going to have to get a lot of people involved to have a chance. I hope that continues.

Q. How close is Lomax to returning? (Brendan Stiles,

COACH FERENTZ: It's getting a little frustrating for everybody, especially for him, mostly for him. But I was really optimistic Sunday. I'm not so optimistic today. It may be after a couple weeks here. I don't know. We'll keep playing it day by day. Just seems like we're still out on that right now.

Q. Anything new with Malloy's status? (Pat Harty, Iowa City Press Citizen)


Q. Can you compare just the general morale around the program after the NIU loss to where you are now? (KCCI-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: Well, it's never much fun losing, but no matter what happens, you play 12 games and you have just got to flip the page and go. We have to do the same thing this week. So it's just always more enjoyable on Sunday after a win. I mean, that's obvious. But you go through the tape, you try to make the corrections and then you try to move on and keep climbing the ladder. That's really kind of what the story is.

Q. The past few years when you haven't had the trophy you've moved the empty case down into the locker room. Do you do anything after you win the trophy? (Jared Aarons, KGAN-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: Well, we have it, or had it, but right now it's up for grabs. To me that's kind of old news, too. Not old news, but yesterday's news. We have it in possession until Saturday, but it's anybody's on Saturday. There's no sense looking at it right now. We need to look at our game plan and make sure we're preparing. That's what we need to do.

Q. What encourages you most about the progress of LeShun Daniels? (Darren Miller,

COACH FERENTZ: He's just handled things pretty well and unfortunately had a turnover the other day. He wasn't being sloppy with the football. It was one of those things, and maybe in some ways it's a blessing that it happened and we didn't have to pay a price for it, because those things are going to happen. Jordan had one, too, and those are probably two of the biggest negatives or down spots on Saturday.But it didn't cost us, so that's a positive, and hopefully that'll help those guys in their development because we're really happy with both those guys. LeShun is a guy that's been very attentive, grabs concepts really well. He's really picked up things very quickly, amazingly quickly. He just doesn't seem to be overwhelmed with anything, whether it was on the practice field in August, and now that the games have begun, he just seems really comfortable doing what he does. He always kind of looks the same, which is good. That's a positive.

Q. Are there any more freshmen who are going to play? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: I think we're pretty close to being barring injury, I think we're pretty close to being where we want to be or need to be right now. Knock on wood, hopefully we're done.

Q. How would you say Minnesota is now as opposed to when Jerry Kill took over? (Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: You know, clearly he had work to do when he got there. It's just one of those situations. Although I think they won their last game prior to him getting there. We helped in that one.But to me if you look at the film from two years ago compared to now, it's a totally different team. They've come in, they've gone to work, they've recruited well, and you can tell their players are totally bought into what it is they're doing. So they look like a well coached football team right now, and that's a real credit to him and his staff.

Q. You talk like they've implemented a systems, with similar traits to Iowa. (Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: You know, it looks not the same as or exactly like, but I think about the team we saw, he took over to Ames. I can't tell you what year that was. Oh, gosh, I don't even know, '08, '09, whatever it would have been, '10. I remember watching that film and seeing a very impressive Northern Illinois team and then X amount of years later, whatever it's been, four or five, it looks like the same thing. Different uniforms obviously but they look like a good football team.

Q. You talked before about the difference for punt returns in the NFL and college. Can you elaborate? (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, the biggest thing, it's just a free for all. When the ball is snapped, everybody runs down the field. So that's why you're seeing all these trying to think of the right word here, such a wide variety of punting styles, whereas it's more uniform, but it's all because of the rules.People have taken advantage of those rules, and it's just I'm not sure it's great for the game, but that one is not gaining a lot of traction, either. I'm not spending much time on it.

Q. How much does that shape your strategy? (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: You just have to be ready to change every week. It's something different every week, so that's just the way it is.

Q. Have television time outs changed the game much? (Pat Harty, Iowa City Press Citizen)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, they're not a lot of fun. I don't think anybody on the field enjoys those, unless it just comes at one of those rare, opportune moments, but it's probably like everybody else, here we go, one of those deals.

Q. You had Eddie Phillips as your honorary captain the other day, very interesting man. What was his message? (Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: He talked to the players about just being focused on the right things, football but everything, total life experience. Eddie is a great guy. I thought he was an excellent player on one of the best teams that I've ever been associated with as a coach here. It was great to get him back, and he's a great guy.

Q. Do you think that his accomplishments were a little overshadowed because he didn't go to the Rose Bowl?

COACH FERENTZ: I think the seniors on that football team, that was just a very, very talented and very strong team. I think it did sometimes I'm not sure they get all the credit they deserve. It was a really outstanding football team. A lot of strengths.

Q. How has Minnesota's line play evolved over the years? (Steve Batterson, Quad-City Times)

COACH FERENTZ: They just look stronger and more physical. They were playing some guys a couple years ago, and I think they identified some guys in their program, maybe not unlike a guy like Bruce Nelson in 1999 that wasn't quite ready, but they identified guys that probably had the traits that they were looking for. They've turned into a really good outfit now. They're reaping the benefits.

Q. What's the challenge for you to try to get those true freshmen that have played, keeping them on the field and getting them some valuable time now that you're in Big 10 season? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: If we made that commitment, we made the commitment thinking that we're going to need them, so everybody has got a little different roles, but some guys will be playing on special teams. A guy like LeShun Daniels we talked about, he doesn't have a big role on special teams but my guess is he'll get his share of snaps over the next eight, nine weeks. We just made the decision it's going to be better for them and for the football team, usually a two way street.

Q. How do you show some of those younger guys the difference between how tough conference games are versus non conference games? (Jared Aarons, KGAN-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: It's just part of what they're going to have to experience, not any different than the first week going from practice to that first game. It's a little different for them, and this is just another step in the process. Again, the hopes are that that'll benefit them a year from now. When they're here next year they'll be a little bit more the wiser for it.

Q. In general do you lean on some of the older guys to impress that stuff on them? (Jared Aarons, KGAN-TV)

COACH FERENTZ: We do that all year long, really. Our older guys have really done a good job, I think, mentoring the younger guys.

Q. What are your thoughts on the Penn State decision today? (Rob Howe, Hawkeye Insider)

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I just heard a little bit about it this morning. I think anything that happened sounds like it was favorable for them. I'm in favor of that. I think that was a bad deal personally.

Q. Why? (Rob Howe, Hawkeye Insider)

COACH FERENTZ: It just seems like the target got missed. That's just my opinion. One person's opinion. But it seemed like the people that paid the price seems like a lot of people that shouldn't have paid a price, paid a price. That's just my outsider looking in. I'm looking at the players and coaches, I guess. I've got a pretty narrow scope on that one.

Q. Did you think the initial penalties were a little harsh? (Rob Howe, Hawkeye Insider)

COACH FERENTZ: I just don't think the guys that played football for that team last year are the guys coaching the team. I thought that was a tough hand to get dealt.

Q. Kind of got lost in the shuffle, but your punter got a national award this week. Has that been a steady progression with him, too? (Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: I think he's making progress. We talked about special teams earlier. We were all curious to see how Connor would perform being in his second year, and for punters it's not easy. Again, I go back to Jason Baker being a junior here our first year and had some ups and downs, and then his senior year really playing well. Yeah, I think Connor is on the right path. He's practicing better. He's gaining more confidence. I think the experience factor is starting to kick in for him a little bit. He's done some really nice things. When he just relaxes and uses his tools, he does a pretty good job.

Q. Do you remember anything sticking out from Kevonte's recruitment? (Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Other than he's got a pretty funny uncle. I can throw that in there. But great family and all that. But it was just one of those things where it worked out he came here, and we're really thrilled he's here. He's doing a good job.

Q. Can you imagine being 17 years old playing Division I football? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)

COACH FERENTZ: I was 17 when I went to college, but I was far from playing Division I football, and when I ended college I was far from playing Division I football. That's just the way it goes.It's amazing. Young people today, just in general, I think, are a lot more unfazed by things. That's just my impression. Just watching in general, I think they're a lot smarter in a lot of ways, a lot more exposed. You think about Bulaga, too; that may be even more impressive because he was pretty much the same age, but he was starting as a lineman, and that's unusual. But some guys, they don't seem to be fazed by it. Moeaki was the same way when he came in. It was like another day in the park for him.

Q. Ra'Shede Hagemen comes from a long line of Big Ten defensive tackles that go on to the next level. What kind of challenges does he present? (Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COACH FERENTZ: Oh, a lot. He's a tough match up. He's a tough match up. He's a big guy, very explosive, very powerful and very active and one of the leaders of their defense. I think their interior players are good, all of their guys are good, and they play several of them, but he's certainly the leader of the group, so it's going to be a key match up for us. Big challenge.