Ferentz: Gophers Will Be a Challenge

Nov. 11, 2003

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A significant challenge awaits the nationally ranked Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday when they square off against Minnesota inside historic Kinnick Stadium, Kirk Ferentz said today at his weekly media conference.

Iowa will be looking for its third straight win over Minnesota Saturday at Kinnick. The Gophers will be looking for win No. 10 in 2003.

The Hawkeyes and Gophers – two teams still eyeing a post-season bowl game that will be played in 2004, not 2003 – will tee it up shortly after 11 a.m. in the annual battle for Floyd of Rosedale.

“They’re playing for a lot and we are, too,” said Ferentz of the Gophers, who have their eye on win No. 10 in 2003. “And, if I’m not mistaken, Floyd’s pretty important in this thing, too.”

Ferentz said the Gophers are an excellent football team that has really grown, a process that began at the tail end of last season when Minnesota defeated Arkansas, 29-14, at last year’s Music City Bowl in Nashville.

“Another big factor (in their success) is the growth of their defense,” said Ferentz. “They’re stronger, more physical and more aggressive.”

Saturday will be Senior Day at Kinnick. It’s always an emotional day and one that stirs memories. This group of seniors is like all others, said Ferentz.

“They’ve certainly done their part,” Iowa’s head coach said about the 24 student-athletes who will take to the turf inside Kinnick for the last time Saturday morning.

“We haven’t had too many routine ground balls this year, but they’ve kept pushing forward. It’s been fun to watch them emerge as leaders,” he added.