Sept. 2, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — After watching film of Saturday’s 18-17 victory against Northern Illinois, University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz highlighted the final 10 minutes, and Hawkeye coaches have already used what happened during that span for instruction purposes.
“That last 10 minutes is something we can feel good about, something we’ve pointed to in our teaching,” Ferentz said Sunday in the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “Hopefully that will show up in the course of the year, that gives us a better chance for success.”
In the fourth period of the season-opening win, Iowa ran 22 plays for 93 yards and held the Huskies to six yards on 12 plays. The Hawkeyes scored nine unanswered points to secure its 12th consecutive season-opening victory.
“It was a combination of everything working together,” Ferentz said. “It started with John Wienke’s plus-50 punt, put it down inside the 10, and Greg Castillo kept the ball out of the end zone. Our defense went out and got the stop (the Huskies ran three plays for no gain), which was critical, (Micah) Hyde took the punt back 11 yards to the 24, then the offense did what we hadn’t done during the game: we got down in there close and scored a touchdown. It was a good time for that.”
Iowa gained 268 yards and scored on five possessions against a veteran and fast Northern Illinois defense. The Husky defense sacked UI quarterback James Vandenberg six times.
“Playing in Kinnick is the greatest thing in the world, but the fans aren’t going to win the game for us and the field itself won’t. We’re playing Iowa State, who has an excellent football team. They got off to a great start; it’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us. They out-played us last year in a tough ball game and from my vantage point, they have a better team this year than they did last year. We’re going to need a great week of preparation and have to be at our best to play against a very good Iowa State team this week.”
UI head football coach
“One thing about protection, it’s not always the line,” Ferentz said. “The line had some ownership, but sometimes it’s a back or receiver not doing the right kind of things. Our passing game is not where we want to be. It has improved in practice and I’m confident that improvement is going to show up soon on the game field.”
“Dom Alvis is coming off an ACL repair and he had a camp where he was laboring, not 100 percent, looked tired at times,” Ferentz said. “It’s hard work coming off an injury, but I think he found an extra gear yesterday and not only played well, but he gave that (defensive line) some leadership.”
Alvis finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
Ferentz also cited Bullock’s prominent contributions that included 150 rushing yards on 30 carries and three pass receptions from 26 yards. He scored the go-ahead touchdown, something that wouldn’t have been possible without Martin-Manley.
“Kevonte Martin-Manley quietly did his job,” Ferentz said. “He made a huge block on that touchdown run; he came down inside and did a nice job on the safety and gave Damon a chance to get outside with the football. So it went from being an eight-to-10-yard gain to being a touchdown. Little things like that will make us a better football team. There were a lot of positives out there — that being said, there are a ton of things to correct, and we’ll try to correct during the course of this week.”
The next opponent is Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 8, inside Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) with the game being televised by the Big Ten Network. The Cyclones opened the season with a 38-23 win against Tulsa.
“Playing in Kinnick is the greatest thing in the world, but the fans aren’t going to win the game for us and the field itself won’t,” Ferentz said. “We’re playing Iowa State, who has an excellent football team. They got off to a great start; it’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us. They out-played us last year in a tough ball game and from my vantage point, they have a better team this year than they did last year. We’re going to need a great week of preparation and have to be at our best to play against a very good Iowa State team this week.”
Other quotes and notes from Sunday’s interview with Ferentz:
“We have a lot of guys who hadn’t played,” Ferentz said. “You take a guy like Connor Kornbrath, who was punting from basically our end zone on his first punt ever in college. He hit a 50-yarder; hopefully he will bet a little better hang time next time, but our guys covered and did a good job.”
“Damon Bullock had 10 carries a year ago, 20 yards, and he surpassed that yesterday. A guy like Brandon Scherff, who has played a little bit for us but played at guard and had to play tackle. You go up and down the lineup; we had a lot of those yesterday — it was great to come out with a win. We’re hopeful that game experience will have a cumulative effect.”
“After you play your first game, especially against a team with a little different style than we were, that was a good matchup for us in that it was difficult. It was challenging and to do that at game speed is going to be beneficial, but it’s only going to be beneficial if we make it be this week. We have a lot of improvement to make right now, plus we’re facing an outstanding opponent on top of that.”
“To come out of Chicago with a victory — we had to get on the road. It wasn’t a hostile crowd, there were a lot of great Iowa fans. The turnout was fantastic and I sure appreciated that. But to be on the road in a different environment is a challenge; to go through the hotel routine is a challenge, and then to play in a tough, competitive ball game like that and take it down to the last possible minute is all positive. I’m proud of the way our guys hung together and played together in that fourth quarter especially.”