Ferentz: High Energy, High Octane

Nov. 1, 2005

Kirk Ferentz isn’t going to fall into that trap and he’s pretty certain his team isn’t either.

“That kind of thinking can get you in a lot of trouble,” he said in reference to a story in today’s edition of a local newspaper that seemed to indicate Iowa’s offense will have little trouble moving the ball against Northwestern Saturday when the Hawkeyes and Wildcats square off at 11 a.m.

“I’m pretty sure we can all agree that Michigan State has a pretty salty offense,” Ferentz continued. “They got limited to, what, 14 points in East Lansing? Again, it’s a frightening mentality, going into a game thinking that way.

“Last time I checked Northwestern has five wins and ranks second in the nation in takeaways. We’re preparing for what we know is very, very difficult opponent. To do anything other than that would be silly,” he added flatly.

Ferentz said taking care of the ball is always a priority for the Hawkeyes and will be doubly so this weekend and for the last three weeks of the 2005 regular season.

“It’s important in every game, but particularly when you play a team that’s as explosive as Northwestern. If you don’t take care of the ball, you might look up and – boom – you’re down by 20,” Ferentz said, noting that Penn State, Purdue and Michigan State all put themselves in a hole early in their games against the Wildcats.

“Taking care of the ball is also big in big, important games, and each of the three we’ve got left on our schedule fall into that category. They’re all big. They’re all important,” he added.

Need more evidence of how explosive the Wildcats are? Ferentz offers Northwestern versus Wisconsin, 2005.

“It’s a pitcher’s duel at halftime,” he said. “Then, boom. It turns into a shootout. That’s evidence of how dangerous this Northwestern team is. They are a high energy, high effort, hard-working football team that has our complete respect.”

Ferentz harkened back to last year’s Wildcat victory over Ohio State as a game that “sticks out” in his mind. “They were very impressive that night and have been very impressive all this season,” he said.

Ferentz said it will be important for the Hawkeyes to capitalize on each offensive series Saturday, preferably with touchdowns versus field goals.

“Northwestern is playing with great energy, great confidence. I expect that team to take the field Saturday,” he said.