Big Ten Powers Collide in Kinnick

Nov. 16, 2010

Complete Coach Ferentz Transcript

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When the University of Iowa hosts Ohio State in Senior Day football on Saturday, it will mark the eighth time since Sept. 18 that the Hawkeyes have either played on the road or against a nationally ranked opponent. Twice during that time they have played a rated foe away from home.

Perhaps the most interesting twist to that grueling stretch is that the only time Iowa hosted a team ranked higher than the No. 7 Buckeyes, the Hawkeyes came away with a 31-point victory (37-6 against No. 5 Michigan State on Oct. 30).

“I’m not worried about our moxie or character,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly media conference in the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “I’m worried about us being good enough. That’s our goal: we have to get good enough by Saturday to get the job done against a real good team.”

A national television audience will have an opportunity to see two of the elite programs in the Big Ten Conference battle it out in the final game of the season at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is 2:33 p.m. (CT). Ohio State (9-1 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) is seventh in the most recent USA Today poll; Iowa (7-3, 4-2) is 20th. The Buckeyes have won three straight games by an average score of 46-8 since losing 31-18 at Wisconsin on Oct. 16. Iowa’s two league losses have been by a combined five points.

“It gets your attention, that’s for sure. If we don’t move on, it will be ugly Saturday,” Ferentz said of rebounding from a 21-17 loss at Northwestern on Nov. 13. “These guys, it’s been 46-8 the last three weeks. Penn State is not a bad football team (Ohio State won, 38-14). We better get ready because that gets your attention.”

The Buckeyes have won 11 of the last 12 in the series, but it couldn’t get much closer than last season’s 27-24 decision by Ohio State in overtime. Kicker Devin Barclay’s 39-yard field goal provided the game-winning points for the Buckeyes, despite a 233-yard passing performance by Iowa back-up quarterback James Vandenberg.

This is a new season and Ferentz offered a reminder that converting inside the 20 and moving the chains on third down will be key more than ever before.

“That’s football. You have to do everything right. You have to do everything well,” Ferentz said. “If you don’t, it’s going to be tough to sustain drives, tough to score points. That’s the objective out there. We’re playing a team right now that’s going to make it extremely tough. These guys don’t give much on the ground, in terms of points. They’re highly ranked in every statistic defensively. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

Senior members of the Iowa football program will be introduced during pregame ceremonies. The Hawkeye seniors include defensive tackle Christian Ballard, wide receiver Paul Chaney, Jr., defensive end Adrian Clayborn, punter Ryan Donahue, wide receiver Ben Evans, free safety Brett Greenwood, defensive back Justin Greiner, offensive lineman Kyle Haganman, linebacker Jeremiha Hunter, linebacker Troy Johnson, wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, defensive tackle Karl Klug, offensive lineman Josh Koeppel , wide receiver Nick Kuchel, fullback Brett Morse, kicker Daniel Murray, wide receiver Don Nordmann, running back Paki O’Meara, linebacker Ross Petersen, tight end Allen Reisner, wide receiver Colin Sandeman, long snapper Andrew Schulze, quarterback Ricky Stanzi, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, linebacker Lance Tillison and offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde.

“We expect a great crowd; Senior Days are always really special,” Ferentz said. “We have 26 guys and it’s like your children leaving home. But it’s part of the process. I can’t say enough about what this group has done. What they’ve done collectively and individually is very, very impressive. We have a wide range of guys that have played a long time, three years, four years in some cases. Then you have other guys that are interesting, guys like Paki O’Meara who has been a great role player for us, a special team’s player; a guy like Josh Koeppel came as a walk on, Paki came as a walk on. Josh has filled in for the last two weeks and been a solid player for the three years now. Go right down the list: Ross Petersen, Donny Nordmann, guys like that…Andy Schulze. Then you have other guys that most people won’t recognize the names, a guy like Justin Greiner. Probably his biggest accomplishment is that he’ll be going to medical school next year; Nick Kuchel played well on special teams. It’s a mix of guys. That’s what makes football so interesting.”

The Hawkeyes have a record of 33-15 from 2007 to present.

Hawkeye linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, who averages more than six tackles per game, is doubtful for the remainder of the regular season because of injury. Team captains will be Clayborn, Greenwood, Klug and Stanzi.