Sept. 17, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kirk Ferentz told us it wouldn’t come easy.
The head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes said he was impressed with Pittsburgh’s offense, its quarterback and its running back.
He told us that his defense needed to contain.
And, while he didn’t say it, he might have at least suggested that patience would be a virtue.
“There were a lot of positives on tape,” Ferentz said Tuesday of his team’s performance a week ago. “But we have a lot of things to work on. We’ve got a lot of work to do. That’s just where we’re at.”
So…do you think one of the things the Hawkeyes worked on during the week was the no huddle, two-minute offense?
The Hawkeyes used its hurry-up offense and the right arm of quarterback James Vandenberg to turn a 27-10 fourth-quarter deficit into a remarkable 31-27 victory.
“James kept at it and found his rhythm,” said Ferentz of his quarterback, err gunslinger, who completed 31 passes for 399 yards.
“The protection in the fourth quarter was key. I felt like I didn’t get touched. Our line was outstanding down the stretch,” said Vandenberg. “And our guys just kept making plays, making catches. We spread it around and everyone contributed.”
“We got into a nice flow in the fourth quarter. We took what they gave us, kept the defense off guard, and didn’t go to just one guy.”
Iowa scored three touchdowns in the final quarter – each on 7-play drives – to complete the largest comeback in the program’s history. The last two touchdowns were both to the Hawkeyes’ slot receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley. They covered 25 and 22-yards, respectively.
“We finally figured (their defense) out. It took awhile and we don’t even know what to call it. But they we’re coming down hard on our tight ends, so we knew Kevonte was going to be covered by a linebacker,” said Vandenberg about the game-winners.
Iowa’s receiving corps is proving to be very deep. Keenan Davis led the talented group with 10 catches for 129 yards and the first of the fourth quarter scores, a 14-yard reception with 9:55 left to play.
Marvin McNutt had eight for 112 and Martin-Manley four for 76 yards.
“We got into a nice flow in the fourth quarter. We took what they gave us, kept the defense off guard, and didn’t go to just one guy,” said Vandenberg, who has guided Iowa to a 2-1 record heading into the Hawkeyes’ final non-conference game of 2011, an 11 a.m. Iowa time date against Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday at Kinnick.
“James is a pure drop-back passer. He releases it so quickly and with such pinpoint accuracy. The decision to go to the two-minute drill was simply perfect because it plays to his strengths because, as you know, he’s also a very intelligent young man,” said Ed Podolak of the Hawkeye Radio Network.