Oct. 31, 2009
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- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Cardiac Kids? Sure. Why not?
The 2009 Iowa Hawkeyes have won each of their nine games played to date – a school record that grows to 13 straight if you’re inclined to include the last three regular season games of 2008 and Iowa’s thrashing of South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl.
Iowa has come from behind in eight of its nine victories in 2009. Saturday’s 14-point deficit to Indiana was its largest hill to climb. The Hawkeyes overcame 10-point margins in wins over Northern Iowa in the season opener at Kinnick Stadium, and on the road at Penn State and Wisconsin. Little wonder the Bowl Championship Series computers like this UI team so much.
Cardiac Kids? Sure, why not. Or, perhaps, Mentally Tough?
Iowa has outscored its opponents 148-54 in the second half of its first nine games of 2009. It’s also been dominant in the fourth quarter – when mentally-tough kids rise to the occasion. They own a 107-41 scoring margin in the final 15 minutes, a total that includes the 28 unanswered points they laid on the Hoosiers.
“Phil (Haddy, the UI’s sports information director) just said we were down 14, and 14 felt like 40 at that point. So what can I say? Just a fantastic effort by our football team. Really, really proud of the ways they fought and battled back.”
“Phil (Haddy, the UI’s sports information director) just said we were down 14, and 14 felt like 40 at that point. So what can I say? Just a fantastic effort by our football team. Really, really proud of the ways they fought and battled back,” Ferentz said after his team’s most recent heroics.
“You know, credit to Indiana. They played extremely hard. I thought they played a great game, and did a lot of good things from a coaching standpoint and made it very difficult on us. But it’s clearly just two different ballgames. They were totally in charge of the game for quite a while. And then the game turned, and I guess we had an Adrian Clayborn moment there with Tyler Sash’s play.”
Sash’s play was an 86-yard interception return in the third quarter that cut into Indiana’s lead but, perhaps, more importantly, jolted Iowa like a defibrillator. After that seven went on the board, the Hawkeyes played with a hitch in their giddy-up. The score also put some life into Iowa’s 40th sellout crowd in its last 42 home game. The 70,000-plus was having a hard time swallowing the Halloween horror show that was playing out before their very eyes on day better suited for flying kites than passing footballs.
“I just can’t say enough about our players. They continue to battle and fight and find a way to be successful,” Ferentz continued. “One thing they do is play the entire game. So it’s just a real credit to their resolve and just very, very happy for them.”
Tops on that list for Ferentz is his field general, Ricky Stanzi, the master of “putting things in the rear-view mirror.”
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a quarterback struggle or have that much adversity and then come back and play, you know, like he’s not affected. And that’s been Rick’s story line since he started playing for us a year plus ago,” Ferentz said of the junior who responded to four third-quarter interceptions with a pair of touchdown passes to go with a pair of drives that resulted in Brandon Wegher touchdown runs.
“Style points?” “Pretty cars?” Ferentz doesn’t care about anything but the final score and, with Stanzi at the controls, Iowa just wins games. Period.
“No matter what happens, he just keeps on playing. Keeps his focus forward. It’s a lot easier to tell a guy to do that or request a guy to do that than to do that. You know, today it was `whatever,'” Ferentz said.
” Like three or four straight series where we turned it over in the third quarter. But he just kept playing, kept leading our football team.
“If there’s one thing I’d say about Rick, besides resiliency, he’s done a great job of leading our football team. Our players believe in him, and I think his resiliency has permeated with our football team.”
Cardiac Kids or Mentally Tough?