Ferentz: A 'One Game Season'

Nov. 14, 2006

IOWA CITY — Kirk Ferentz isn’t losing sleep over “fumble phobia,” but he could as a result of thinking about the offense his University of Iowa football team will be attempting to stop Saturday in the Metrodome. The Hawkeyes square off against Minnesota at 11 a.m. (Iowa time) in the 100th football game between the two schools and the annual battle for Floyd of Rosedale.

“I don’t have any concerns about Damian (Sims) and fumbles, if that’s what you’re asking me,” Ferentz told the media Tuesday during his weekly session. “We have two very good running backs in Damian and Albert (Young), and we’re going to use them both at the times when we think it can help our program the most.”

Iowa will be seeking to improve its standing in this year’s version of “Bowl Game Derby” Saturday when the it squares off against Minnesota at 11 a.m. Iowa time in the Metrodome.

Sims leads the Hawkeyes with 601 total net yards on 114 carries. His average per carry is 5.3 yards and he’s scored six touchdowns. Young, Iowa’s No. 1 running back and one of the Big Ten’s best, is averaging 4.2 yards per carry over 140 carries, but has been hampered by a leg injury all season.

Ferentz said the 2006 Golden Gophers are winning games with their passing game – quite a departure from recent years when Minnesota boasted one of the nation’s most potent running games and NFL-caliber running backs.

“They’re featuring a pretty explosive passing game right now,” said Ferentz. “Their quarterback is throwing the ball very well with lots of confidence, the have a group of receivers doing a nice job of catching the ball, and they sprinkle the tight end quite effectively.”

Iowa’s head coach described Saturday’s game as a “one game season” for both teams. The Hawkeyes are looking to snap a two-game losing streak and to improve their position in the bowl game derby. With six victories already on the board, the Hawkeyes know their season will be extended for the sixth straight season under Ferentz.

Minnesota, however, is attempting to become bowl eligible. Ferentz said the Gophers have rebounded nicely from some tough times mid-season.

“We need to do exactly what they did two weeks ago,” said Ferentz.

Minnesota holds a 38-31-2 advantage in the series, but Iowa has won the last five games including a 52-28 victory last year in Iowa City and will be responsible for bringing Floyd of Rosedale – the bronzed pig that becomes the property of this annual border battle on the gridiron – to Minneapolis.