Looking Forward

Nov. 12, 2010


IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa football fans would rather not think back to a certain Saturday back in November, 2009. All seemed right in the Hawkeye world, with Iowa sitting at 9-0 on a gorgeous afternoon taking on the Northwestern Wildcats. However, things turned upside down quickly. UI quarterback Ricky Stanzi injured his ankle, and Iowa went on to lose its first game of the season.

“It wasn’t easy, but it’s a part of the game,” said Stanzi. “Injuries happen. Your role shifts and you have to become the guy on the side who supports his teammates. Each week you want to play the full 60 (minutes) as player. You don’t want to see anyone hurt because you know how much people invest.”

With Stanzi down, the game slipped away from the Hawkeyes.

There must be something about those pesky Wildcats that gets the best of the Hawkeyes. Iowa has lost four its past five contests against Northwestern, including its last two. However, UI tight end Allen Reisner said that there is not any extra motivation for a revenge factor given the recent results.

“I think we’re just going to try to win like any other game,” said Reisner. “Try to come out and compete and just do the best we can. It doesn’t really matter if we win there, or they win here. We just have to come out and compete against that team that they’re fielding this year.”

The combined nine turnovers in the previous two matchups against the Wildcats didn’t help the Hawkeyes defeat Northwestern. Winning the turnover margin might be the highest correlation to winning for Iowa, and it must focus on ball security against Northwestern.

“They’re a huge point every week,” said Reisner. “Usually the team that wins has fewer turnovers, and whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game that’s how it’s been almost every game this year for us. So we definitely want to minimize those and I think we’ve been doing a great job, so we just need to continue doing that and we’ll be alright.”

Iowa has done a great job minimizing its turnovers this year. The Hawkeyes have turned the ball over just six times, the second-fewest in the nation. Iowa turned the ball over four times alone in its loss against Northwestern last year.

Things might have been different last season had Stanzi not been injured. The Hawkeyes were leading 10-0 when the starting quarterback was hurt, although the play netted Northwestern its first touchdown of the day bringing the score to 10-7.

The good thing for Iowa is that past results do not matter — and none of the Hawkeyes are looking behind them.

“What we have to realize is that this year is this year’s team, it’s not last year’s team or the team before that,” said offensive guard Julian Vandervelde. “This is our turn.”

“Our” turn, indeed. And looking forward, not behind, will serve the Hawkeyes well on Saturday.