Saturday, November 28, 2015

The 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes finish first 12-0 season, first unbeaten season, since back to back 1921 and 1922

The Iowa Hawkeyes finished 12-0 during the 2015 regular season, capped off by
a 28-20 win over Nebraska, to bring back their fourth rivalry trophy. Iowa
senior DE #34 Nate Meier and native Nebraskan, sophomore DT #99 Nathan
Bazata carry off the Heroes Trophy off the Memorial Stadium field.

Lincoln, NE
-- The Hawkeyes completed the task on the field at Memorial Stadium, in Lincoln. Iowa's first unbeaten season, in a long, long time. The #3 Iowa Hawkeyes finished 1-0 for 12 weeks during the 2015 regular season for the first time in Iowa history. It was the first experience for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in his career in coaching.

Iowa 2015 has been very much been TE U for the Hawkeyes. Iowa junior TE
#46 George Kittle put Iowa up 7-0 in the second quarter, with his sixth TD
of the season from his TE position for the Hawkeyes.

Opening Statement from Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz ...

"We're thrilled to get the victory and it was hard fought. We knew that coming in it was going to be a tough environment and a tough team to play against. Just really excited about getting the victory and really happy for our players. I told them, I said, 'I don't really know what to say.' I've never been around a team that is 12-0. I'm a little bit speechless on that. It is just an unbelievable accomplishment. Unbelievable effort by the players today. We said back in August, our goal is to be a championship level team, a Big Ten championship level team. So today we moved one step closer and we are very happy about that. A couple of things this team has done this season, they've done a great job of taking each week by itself and they treat it with the importance it deserves to be treated with. I told them on Tuesday, they all know every game is as important as game 12. You talk about those kinds of things for players to understand and then act it out. That is impressive and they have done that. And beyond that this is a tough-minded group. They've been tough-minded really since the season began. They believe in each other and care about each other and that is a pretty good combination. We're just really proud of our football team and proud of the staff and what they've done to prepare the team, the adjustments they have been making. I'm happy about that. I also just want to say it was great in the fourth quarter to hear our fans having some fun up there. Them for the first time to be able to say 12-0, chanting that is just fantastic. I appreciate them being here and I know we'll see them in Indianapolis next week on top of it. All-in-all just a really special day and a really special achievement for our players. They deserved all of the good things that certainly came their way."
Iowa sophomore SS #19 Miles Taylor celebrates with Iowa redshirt freshman
DE #40 Parker Hesse, after the deflected pass by Hesse and short Pick 6
to put Iowa up for good at 14-7 against Nebraska. Iowa intercepted Nebraska
QB Tommy Armstrong, Jr. four times, but this was the only INT that lead to
Iowa points on Saturday.

On where this game stands on an emotional standard ...

"It was pretty good. That's what makes this fun. The highs and the lows. If you're going to be involved in that you get both. Today just to see, look at our players and what they've accomplished. It's a pretty good feeling. I know our staff felt the same way. It's a great thing."

Iowa junior QB #16 C.J. Beathard and the Iowa sidelines celebrate, after the
Nebraska onside kick was recovered by the Hawkeyes, sealing the 12-0 record.

On recovering the onside kick, what was going through your mind ...

"First of all, all of us were nervous. You always run that situation, they still needed a two-point conversion. Unlike last week, this one came up big. Once that thing came up I felt pretty good. Then you know you got the game, that's always a good feeling. Anytime we can take a knee, that's as good as it gets in football. It's just been a special thing for all of us."

Iowa sophomore MLB #43 Josey Jewell has been an anchor and primary play-caller
for the 2015 Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes finish 12-0 overall, during the regular season.
The Hawkeyes won all four trophy games, after an 0-4 season last year.

On how pretty a football team he thinks he has ...

"We're not trying to be pretty, we are just trying to be productive. That has been our goal from day one. Football is not gymnastics. Gymnastics is a very demanding sport, an outstanding sport. Here it's about having a little more point than your opponent. I'm trying to do it, day after day, week after week. That's a challenge. These guys were 12-for-12, you can't do anything better than that."

In his 17th season, as head coach at Iowa, 26th season on the sidelines coaching the
Black & Gold; Kirk Ferentz had never experienced a 12-0 season. He has
now, as the Hawkeyes win the Big Ten West and will play next Saturday
in their first Big Ten Championship Game in five seasons, since the game originated.
The Hawkeyes (12-0) return to action Dec. 5 in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game. The Hawkeyes will face either Michigan State, Ohio State, or Michigan.

GameDay Saturday: Who will Iowa play in the Big Ten Championship Game on 12/5?

Iowa senior #33 Jordan Canzeri ran for 140 yards and two B1G runs for touchdowns
in a 28-20 Hawkeye win over Nebraska.

Iowa City, IA -- Iowa 28, Nebraska 20Jordan Canzeri broke long touchdown runs on back-to-back series in the third quarter, and #3 Iowa completed its first perfect regular season in 93 years with a 28-20 victory over Nebraska on Black Friday. As one of two remaining unbeaten teams, they'll head to next week's Big Ten Championship game in the middle of the College Football Playoff race.

Full Story...

The Big Ten Conference wraps up the 2015 regular season on Rivalry Saturday. Iowa is one half of the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on December 5th. #5 Michigan State is in the driver's seat with a win, while the winner of the #8 Ohio State @ #10 Michigan game need help from Penn State in East Lansing.

  • Indiana at Purdue 11:00 am on BTN - for Old Oaken Bucket in West Lafayette; second B1G win of season for winner of today's game!
  • Maryland at Rutgers 11:00 am on BTN - the Terrapins have locked up the cellar, so playing simply for pride on the road in New Brunswick.
  • #8 Ohio State at # 10 Michigan 11:00 am on ABC / espn3 - Former Iowa QB Jake Rudock leads his Wolverines, as coach Jim Harbaugh seeks first win over the Buckeyes' Urban Meyer.
  • Penn State at #5 Michigan State 2:30 pm on ESPN - The Spartans need to take care of business on Senior Day; earn a win ... they are in next Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game.
  • Illinois vs. #16 Northwestern (Chicago) 2:30 pm on ESPNU - Will Illinois interim coach Bill Cubit earn the head coaching job for the next two years and a bowl game with a win at Soldier Field? Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald seeking his second 10-win season in his tenth season.
  • Wisconsin at Minnesota 2:30 pm on BTN - The Golden Gophers have not won in the series, since 2013 and have lost 18 of the last 20 in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Ax.

End of the Paul Rhoads era @ Iowa State

  •  Iowa State at West Virginia 11:00 am on FS1 - The Cyclones won the first go around in 2013 in 3 OT to close out Rhoads first 3-9 season. A win would conclude a 4-8 season for ISU, against a bowl-bound Mountaineers team in 2015 ...

Games with College Playoff implications, as #19 TCU knocked off #7 Baylor in overtime on Friday night in Ft. Worth.
  • #1 Clemson at South Carolina 11:00 am on ESPN - The Tigers are one win away from a perfect 12-0 regular season, while the Gamecocks have an interim coach and a new era beginning in the near future, in 2016 ... upset alert?
  • #2 Alabama at Auburn 2:30 pm on CBS - The Crimson Tide can have the wheels fall off, if they don't beat their rival and Ole Miss ties them for the SEC West division ...
  • #14 North Carolina at North Carolina State 2:30 pm on ABC / ESPN2 / espn3 - The Tar Heels are heading to the ACC Championship Game, but Wolf Pack can spoil their undefeated conference season. 
  • #22 UCLA at USC 2:30 pm on ABC / ESPN2 / espn3 - The winner wins the Pac 12 South and will face Stanford in the Pac 12 Championship Game ...
  • Vanderbilt at Tennessee 3:00 pm on SEC Network - The Volunteers were the last team to knock off Iowa in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl, but it was Iowa who made the perfect run through the 2015 regular season, after the Volunteers rolled the Hawkeyes 45-28 ...
  • UConn at #25 Temple 6:00 pm ESPNU - Bob Diaco's bunch knocked off Navy last Saturday and they can knock the Owls out today. One non-Power 5 team will earn a birth in a New Year's Day bowl.
  • #13 Florida State at #12 Florida 6:30 pm on ESPN - The Seminoles are out in the ACC, but they can spoil any Gators hope for a College Football Playoff spot today, with a win ...
  • #6 Notre Dame at #9 Stanford 6:30 pm on FOX - The Fighting Irish are playing for a birth, but the Cardinal have a great opportunity to get through the back door, if the right upsets occur, starting with what they have in front of them.
  • #3 Oklahoma at 11 Oklahoma State 7:00 pm ABC - The Bedlam game in Stillwater, as OU can clinch the Big 12 title today, with a win over the Cowboys, as coach Bob Stoops looks to get in the College Football Playoff in 2015.

NCAA FCS First Round Playoffs begin today, with the Panthers hosting in Cedar Falls ...
  • G8: Western Illinois at Dayton 11:00 am on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G1: Fordham at Chattanooga 12:00 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G2: The Citadel at Coastal Carolina 1:00 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G4: Southern Utah at SHSU 2:00 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G5: SDSU at Montana 2:00 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G3: Colgate at New Hampshire 2:30 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G7: Duquesne at William & Mary 2:30 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3
  • G6: Eastern Illinois at Northern Iowa 4:00 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3

Friday, November 27, 2015

Game Day: Iowa vs. Nebraska @ Lincoln for the Heroes Game V on Black Friday

Lincoln, NE -- Who brings more Leadership to the finale of the 2015 regular season in this Big Ten match up, in Lincoln?

It is Rivalry weekend in College Football ...

One of these teams will pull off history on Black Friday, #4 Iowa vs. Nebraska @ Lincoln.

  • Is it the Hawkeyes seeking to remain unbeaten and hit 12-0 for the first time in program history?
  • Nebraska has never won back to back games in Memorial Stadium against Top 10 opponents, but a win today would accomplish such a feat and will give Nebraska a 3-0 record to close out 2015, after their first 3-6 start, since 1958.
  • Iowa's best team in the modern era, ironically was the 1958 program, under College Hall of Fame coach Forrest Evashevski, who won the last Rose Bowl Game for the Hawkeyes and was named National Champion by the Football Writers of America (FWAA).
  • By the way, even with a loss, the Huskers will likely make history, as the first 5-7 team to go to a bowl game in program history, as coach Mike Riley kicks off year one at the Nebraska
  • For Kirk Ferentz, he has gone from the hot seat after a disappointing 7-6 season to end 2014 to what could be the most successful Hawkeye season, in program history.
  • Nebraska has won five national titles (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997), but it is Iowa ranked #4 in the current College Football Playoff poll, with a win goes into the Big Ten Championship Game one game away from securing a slot in the playoff for the Big Ten Conference.
  • It has been 30 years, since Iowa was ranked #1 in College Football. It has been 30 years, since Iowa has won the outright Big Ten title in football, but that game doesn't happen, until December 5th, so there are a lot of interesting elements going on, as Iowa vs. Nebraska @ Lincoln unfolds on Black Friday today.
What to watch in the Heroes Game V in Lincoln Nebraska?

For the Iowa foursome at RB, senior RB #33 Jordan Canzeri is 176 yards away
from becoming an one thousand yard runner in the 2015 season. After injuries
impacting the Iowa running backs throughout the season, all 4 backs are healthy.
OC Greg Davis has a bigger task now, how to best use the offensive parts ...
  1. The Running Game of each team or the Run Defense of each team ... make your choice. Iowa averages 215 yards per game in B1G games rushing the football, while Nebraska yields only 130.6. On the flip side, Nebraska averages 156.9 yards, while Iowa yields 121. After all, this is Big Ten Football on the last Friday of November, so a running game typically fuels an offense.
  2. Passing games will not take a back seat to the running game, not in 2015, not in the Heroes Game. Nebraska averages 243 yards per game, while Iowa gives up 217.3 yards per game. When Iowa is on offense, they average 191 yards off their passing offense, but Nebraska gives up a sizable 280 yards, so what will be on Iowa OC Greg Davis' mind in Lincoln? Pass efficiency edge is with Iowa's C.J. Beathard, who has only thrown three interceptions for the season, while Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong, Jr. threw three interceptions in his last outing, along with three touchdown passes. The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in takeaways. Nebraska is tied for dead last, with Maryland.
  3. Whose QB plays the better game, with feet and arm? Eye discipline in the back seven, maintaining the edge on the defensive line will be a key on the other side. The game will have a lot of twists and turns, literally. Third downs are B1G. On offense, Iowa and Nebraska are right behind Michigan State with third down efficiency in the B1G. Michigan State came into Lincoln off a bye week. Nebraska is coming off a bye week ... how does that impact QB play and the sync of the offense? Both teams are the healthiest in a long, season. Each is missing a key part, but the quarterbacks are healthy and will likely determine a lot on who the victor will be today.
  4. Which offensive line steps up and plays the better game? The Huskers only give up one sack per game, while Iowa is only getting to the quarterback once per B1G game, especially with Nebraska native, senior DE Drew Ott out for the season. The Iowa offensive line has had some breakdowns, giving up two sacks per game, which what Nebraska averages in B1G play.
  5. Which linebackers' unit steps up and leads their defense? Two years ago, the linebackers for Iowa came up B1G, as three outstanding seniors played there final B1G game for the Hawkeyes. How much blitz pressure will we see today by Iowa to get some pressure? Could turnovers become an area, like 2013 for the Hawkeyes? Iowa's Josey Jewell and Cole Fisher lead the Hawkeyes in tackles, each as 2.5 sacks. Two members of the secondary lead Nebraska in tackles, a contrast in defenses.
  6. Last year, Nebraska PK #34 Drew Brown, now a sophomore, kicked a field
    goal to send the game into overtime, as the Huskers overcame a big lead,
    and another Iowa touchdown, to remain in the game, in a 37-34 win, in Iowa City.

  7. Don't forget about special teams and the role they can play in a big rivalry game, or the 12th game of the season, whichever this one is, as a college football game? The kicking game and return game was B1G last season. Unlike last season, De-Mornay Pierson-El will not be available for Nebraska. As Nebraska coach Riley said on Monday, it will be a field position game. Nebraska has a very solid kicking game and Iowa will likely work to counter it, with two seniors at kicker and punter.
The Cornhuskers are seeking the seventh win in eight games in the series. The Hawkeyes are seeking the second straight win in Lincoln. Something is going to give on the gridiron of Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska owns a 19-6 record since 1990 in games on the day after Thanksgiving, including a 5-1 record against Okahoma, an 11-4 mark against Colorado and 3-1 against Iowa. Nebraska is 11-3 at Memorial Stadium in that stretch, including 1-1 vs. the Hawkeyes. This year's game marks the first time since 2008 that Nebraska has had a bye week before its Black Friday contest.

It is a tall hurdle for the #3 Iowa Hawkeyes (11-0, 7-0 B1G West) remaining undefeated, as they travel to Lincoln, to face Nebraska (5-6, 3-4 B1G West).

For Iowa to win, can they win a 31-27 type game over Nebraska? 

It was a 10-7 win in 1981, Ferentz's first experience in the series. The last win, and first as a head coach was 38-17, in 2013. It will be Riley's first encounter. In 2008, his predecessor coming off a bye week won 40-31 against a 5-7 Colorado team, coming off a bye week, in 2008.

Our Pick: Iowa 31, Nebraska 27

The matchup marks the 28th time in school history Nebraska takes on an opponent with 10 or more victories. However, it is only the the second time the Huskers have faced a 10-win team during the regular season. The only previous time Nebraska has faced a 10-win opponent during the regular season was also in Lincoln on Nov. 21, 1987, when No. 1 NU lost to No. 2 and 10-0 Oklahoma, 17-7.

Oklahoma today is #3 in the College Football Playoff, lead by a former Iowa player, Bob Stoops. They will play the Bedlam game on Saturday in Stillwater for the Big 12 Championship.

Nebraska has not beaten an undefeated opponent in the final game of the regular season since a 27-18 victory over New York University in 1927. Not quite the conference opponent of year's past for Nebraska. 

Iowa seeks to make program history with a 12th win for the first time. Heroes Game V becomes the venue.

That's football ... Iowa Football in 2015.

The 2013 walk off the Heroes Game, as now Iowa junior CB Desmond King, former
LB #31 Anthony Hitchens (pictured) and now senior RG #65 Jordan Walsh return
to the Heroes Game V in Memorial Stadium. Will they get win #2 in the trophy game?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, as Hawkeye fans, there is plenty to be thankful for in 2015

Cedar Rapids, IA -- It is Thanksgiving. A time to be thankful, spending time with family and friends over a meal and conversation. This year, the Iowa Hawkeyes have given the Big Ten, the nation and the fans plenty to be thankful for in 2015.

Iowa has its best start in program history (11-0), due to excelling in all three phases of the game.

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The Iowa Hawkeyes switched signal callers ahead of the 2015 season. This
move has been a huge factor in Iowa's rebirth in Kirk Ferentz's 17th season at
the helm leading the Hawkeye program.

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#3 IOWA (11-0, 7-0 B1G West) at Nebraska (5-6, 3-4 B1G West)

The Real difference between Hawkeyes and Huskers in 2015
- Link

Date: Nov. 27, 2015 | 2:36 p.m. (CST)

Location: Lincoln, Neb. | Memorial Stadium (87,000)


Radio: Learfield Communications

Online: Hawkeye All-Access

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast | Twitter Game Updates

The Hawkeyes are in the Big Ten Championship Game for 2015
. The Heroes Game is a key step, if Iowa plans to also capture a spot in the second annual College Football Playoff. Black Friday should be very exciting place in Lincoln, as the Hawkeyes and Huskers square off in Memorial Stadium for the fifth straight season. It is the 25th straight season for the Huskers playing the day after Thanksgiving.

Iowa won the Big Ten West Division and clinched a berth in the Big Ten Championship game after defeating Purdue, 40-20, on Nov. 21. The Hawkeyes’ East Division opponent will be determined Nov. 28. If Michigan State defeats Penn State, the Spartans will win the East. If Michigan State loses, the winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will win the East. The Big Ten Championship game is in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff is 7:17 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised nationally on FOX. Iowa will be the home team and wear its black jerseys at the Big Ten title game.

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Iowa is now ranked #4 in the College Football Playoff poll for the first time in program history this week. The Hawkeyes are now fourth behind #1 Clemson, #2 Alabama and #3 Oklahoma, after being fifth prior to the latest poll.

The top four teams on Dec. 6 advance to the CFP semifinals on Dec. 31 at one of two locations: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas; Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. The semifinal winners advance to the National Championship Game on, Jan. 11 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

A great tribute story on Iowa's Bob Brooks ...

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Long time, veteran Iowa broadcaster and reporter Bob Brooks.

3 hours ago

From #TodayInIowa: If you're a fan of
@TheIowaHawkeyes, you've heard
his legendary voice: Link

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lincoln, NE- The Nebraska football team practiced for a little more than an hour without pads in the Hawks Championship Center on Wednesday in preparation for Friday's game against #4 and unbeaten Iowa.

The Hawkeyes are seeking to close out the regular season with a program first, a 12-0 regular season. The Hawkeyes have already clinch their first Big Ten West Division title, after defeating Purdue 40-20 last Saturday, in Iowa City.

Nebraska is coming off a bye week and is seeking their third straight win, in the month of November, after opening 3-6 for the first time, since 1958. A win over Iowa would make the Huskers bowl eligible, with their sixth win. It would preserve Nebraska's season, avoiding their first losing season, in eight years.

In last year's comeback victory over Iowa Nebraska's
De'Mornay Pierson-El burned Iowa on special teams,
with an 80 yard punt return for a touchdown to take
their first lead in the ball game, after being down 24-7.
It has been a tough first season for Nebraska's new head coach, with a 1-5 record on games determined by a touchdown or less. Nebraska coach Mike Riley addressed the media with good news on the injury updates. 

"Defensively it sounded like the first game (defensive depth chart). It was pretty close to that. We are in pretty good shape." Riley said. "One of the only guys is De'Mornay (Pierson-El), which we won't be able to see again this year, but overall pretty good."

Riley also commented on what he believes it will take to beat Iowa.

"Defensively, if I had to pick two things it would be that we have to control the run and the bootlegs off of the run." Riley said. "Offensively, things always go better for us when we run the football."

Coach Riley said that decision-making in the passing game will be a key to Nebraska’s chances for a victory on Friday. 

Riley also talked about the home field advantage against Iowa this week, and what he thinks of the Huskers’ unbeaten opponent. Home field advantage wasn't enough in 2013, when the Hawkeyes beat Nebraska 38-17, for the first victory, since 1946, in Lincoln.

Last season on Black Friday, Nebraska QB #4 Tommy Armstrong, Jr. lead a comeback
down 24-7 to push the game into the overtime, where the Huskers won 37-34.
Iowa fans have lost senior DE #95 Drew Ott to a knee injury in 2015, so he will
he will serve as one of the Hawkeyes' game captains from the sidelines this year.
"I think it is great we are at home. I think this crowd has just been amazing." Riley said. "Everybody always knows about this place. I do not know how much it will affect the game because I think this team (Iowa) has gotten where they are because they are very solid and consistent."

Nebraska junior TE #11 Cethan Carter will seek to get the Huskers into the end
zone. In Iowa's win last Saturday against Purdue, the Hawkeye defense gave up
two touchdowns, but also head the Boilermakers to two field goals in the red
zone. Red zone play will be important for both teams on Black Friday.

Friday's game against the Iowa Hawkeyes kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CST at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC/WatchESPN, as the 11-0, 7-0 B1G West division champion Iowa Hawkeyes face Nebraska @ Lincoln, who are 5-6 overall, 3-4 in the B1G West.

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The Iowa Hawkeyes celebrated the upcoming Heroes Game, ahead of heading
to Lincoln on Thanksgiving, which could be a little troublesome with weather
heading into the route between Iowa City and Lincoln on Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday: Iowa Hawkeyes now #4 in CFP Poll, as the head to Lincoln for the Heroes Game vs. Nebraska

Iowa City, IA -- The Iowa Hawkeyes (11-0, 7-0 B1G West) learned on Tuesday night that they have moved to #4 in the Week 4 College Football Playoff poll ahead of their final regular season game against Nebraska @ Lincoln on Black Friday.

Kirk Ferentz was hired in 1981, as an offensive line coach ahead of Hayden Fry's third season at Iowa. Iowa's first opponent was Nebraska to open the season. In his first season, returning to Iowa to be head coach, again his first opponent was Nebraska. Now, in his final regular season game of his 17th season as head coach and 26th season overall at Iowa, Ferentz faces a familiar opponent, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This year, the game is in Lincoln.

Unlike Ferentz, this is Nebraska's head coach Mike Riley's first Black Friday game in the Heroes Game, as a first year coach for the Huskers. The roles have shifted and Nebraska is the home team and the underdog to Iowa.

How will Riley's first game finish out in the Heroes Game?

Will Nebraska upset a Top 5 program at home, as Iowa did in 1981 or will Riley take the role of a program that goes down to a Top 5 opponent at home, as Iowa and Ferentz did in his first season, as head coach at Iowa?

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What will be the final record and season result of the 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes?
For Iowa, an interesting question will soon be answered in Ferentz's 17th season at Iowa. It may take 3 or 4 games to know what it will finally be for the Hawkeyes.

Ferentz meet with the media on Tuesday, as he does each week before each Hawkeye regular season game.

It's the 12th week of a one game at a time season for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa has an 11 game winning streak on the line, while Nebraska is seeking to finish November with three straight wins.

"Good teams do it," Ferentz said of the one-game-at-a-time motto.

Not only have the No. 3 Hawkeyes taken 11 games one Saturday at a time this season -- all of them victories -- but they have also seen leadership develop as fast as its win total.

The University of Iowa football program has 16 players on its 2015 Leadership Group, including 13 seniors, two juniors, and one sophomore. Ferentz tweaked the Leadership Group, similar to making a change at quarterback in January, as well, as moving practices to the morning and finally shifting the off day from Monday to Thursday, with the Black Friday game in mind.

The purpose of the group is to assist in formulating policies, and being involved in team decision-making matters regarding the upcoming season. Players are selected by a team vote. The seniors are OL Austin Blythe, RB Jordan Canzeri, DL Darian Cooper, FB Adam Cox, TE Jake Duzey, WR Jacob Hillyer, PK Marshall Koehn, DB Jordan Lomax, DE Nate Meier, DE Drew Ott, LB Travis Perry, FB Macon Plewa and WR Tevaun Smith. The junior class is represented by QB C.J. Beathard and RB LeShun Daniels, Jr., and LB Josey Jewell represents the sophomore class.

"I'm not sure where our leadership was in April, but it has been growing rapidly since August," Ferentz said. "Typically, any team that is doing well has good leadership."

Ferentz also emphasized that in the Big Ten Conference, there are no easy days. The next challenge for Iowa is a Black Friday battle for the Hy-Vee Heroes Game trophy and Ferentz isn't fooled by Nebraska's 5-6 record (3-4 B1G West).

Here's why:
  1. The Huskers have won two consecutive games and need one victory to become bowl eligible.
  2. Nebraska received its bye after Week 11, giving it 12 days to prepare for the Hawkeyes while Iowa has eight fewer days to formulate a game plan. 
  3. Nebraska rallied for a 37-34 overtime victory last season in Kinnick Stadium after the Hawkeyes jumped to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter.
"The big thing right now is that they're meshing," Ferentz said of Nebraska. "They are coming off two impressive victories, beating Michigan State (39-38 on Nov. 7 in Lincoln) and most recently, Rutgers (31-14 on Nov. 14 in Piscataway, New Jersey)."

The 2014 Hy-Vee Heroes games was a centerpiece of inspiration that led to an offseason attitude overhaul in Iowa City. For the Hawkeyes, that season also included a three-point loss to Iowa State, a seven point loss at Maryland, and a two-point loss to Wisconsin. It culminated with a 45-28 defeat to Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl in a game where the Volunteers led 42-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

"That game (against Nebraska in 2014) is the centerpiece for the discussion," Ferentz said. "It's nothing against them, they did what they were supposed to do. We didn't, and that's our responsibility. It's all about taking ownership. There are a lot of things we didn't do well (in 2014) and the word finish gets thrown out there all the time in sports. It just so happens that was our last regular scheduled football game and we didn't close the season in a strong fashion."

"Our job is to be able to play with those guys, go out and compete with them," Ferentz said. "They recruit well. They've had great teams in the past and they've got a good football team this year. Our challenge is to be ready for them on Friday."

Iowa won 38-17 in 2013, the last game in Lincoln. The Hawkeyes seek to remain unbeaten, as well, as win their second straight in Lincolin.

Nebraska won the 4th Heroes Game in 2014, with a 37-34 OT win in Iowa City
over the Hawkeyes. Since joining the Big Ten in 2011, the Huskers lead 3-1 in
the series. The Iowa-Nebraska game on Black Friday will be the 46th game
overall and the fifth game, since the Huskers joined the conference.
The Huskers practiced for just under two hours Tuesday in the Hawks Championship Center and Gass Practice Facility in preparation for Friday's game against the third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.

Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice about facing the Hawkeye defense.

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Iowa junior QB #16 C.J. Beathard and the Iowa offense over the last 5 games.
Over the 2015 season, the Iowa offense has often shown a lot of balance.
"They don't give up many big plays, they're really sound and really solid across the board," Langsdorf stated when asked about the biggest challenge the Iowa defense will bring. "They're well coached and they're always in good position, and you see that week in and week out."

Iowa junior CB #14 Desmond King leads the nation in interceptions, as well,
as Iowa's primary kick and punt returning this season. He is also a finalist
for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the top college defense back.
When asked about Desmond King, Iowa's star defensive back, Langsdorf said "I think he leads the country in interceptions. He's always in very good position, he's going to be the guy that we are going to have to really understand where he is and be careful. We don't want to be careless around him."

The top two Nebraska WRs are juniors #1 Jordan Westerkamp and #87
Brandon Reilly. who caught the controversial TD reception in the MSU win.
"I think our guys are playing at a high level. They're playing with a lot of confidence, and we have a belief that we can win the game."

Friday's game at Memorial Stadium (capacity 87,000) is sold out. Kickoff is set for 2:36 p.m. CST and the game will be broadcast by ABC.

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Nebraska junior #90 DE Greg McMullen holds down one side of the Huskers
defensive line in 2015. He is one of three returning starters in the DL for NU.

Week 4 College Football Playoff team: Who's In?

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5. Michigan State
6. Notre Dame

Monday, November 23, 2015

Black Friday: Three Citizen Heroes will be honored during the Iowa vs Nebraska @ Lincoln game

The 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes hit the road, after finishing at home 7-0. The Hawkeyes
are 4-0 this season on the road, in search for their fourth annual trophy game win
at Nebraska in the Heroes Game. Iowa entered the season 0-4 in trophy games.

Iowa City, IA -- Iowa closes the regular season Friday at Nebraska (2:30 p.m., ABC), in the annual Hy-Vee Heroes Game. The Hawkeyes will seek to finish an undefeated regular season for the fifth time in school history, as they are 11-0 overall, 7-0 in the B1G West. The Cornhuskers are 5-6, 3-4 in the B1G West seeking to get their 6th win and bowl eligible for the eighth straight year.

"It's a short week of preparation, and I think our guys will be ready," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. "We have a lot to play for. We didn't play very clean in this game last year, and it didn't turn out well. Our No. 1 goal will be to play a clean game, play hard, and play our best game of the year on national television."

Each Tuesday, the Iowa players and head coach meet with the media before each Hawkeye Football game.

The Big Ten Network (BTN) will air a 30-minute preview show at various times throughout the week to preview Friday’s football game featuring the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes visiting Nebraska. Kickoff is 2:36 p.m. CST on ABC on Friday from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

The show will debut at 10:30 p.m. CST, on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Additional air times include Wednesday (9 a.m. CST), Thursday (12:30 a.m. CST, 10 a.m. CST, 6 p.m. CST, 8:30 p.m. CST) and Friday (2 p.m. CST), just before kickoff from Lincoln.

The show will be hosted by Dave Revsine, with Chuck Long and Matt Davison. The show will examine the last four matchups of the series since the Hy-Vee Heroes Game was first played in 2011. Davison, a former Husker player, and Long, a former Iowa quarterback, who lead Iowa to their last outright Big Ten Championship in 1985. They will discuss their memories of the games played against each school and what the game means to them. The show will also preview this year’s matchup that has bowl implications for each school.

Trooper Tracy Bohlen of Waukee and Nurse Jane McCurdy of Ankeny will be
recognized as Iowa’s 2015 “citizen heroes” during halftime of the Hy-Vee Heroes
Game on Friday when the University of Iowa takes on Nebraska at Memorial
Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kassee Jones of Bennington, NE is the third hero.
In addition to the preview of the football game, the BTN special will also feature the Citizen Hero for each university. The citizen heroes are an Iowa State Trooper, a nurse and a lifeguard to be Recognized as Hy-Vee Heroes.