Sept. 15, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz is sticking with a theme that worked well a week ago: The need to move forward.
The Hawkeyes (2-1 overall) host Western Michigan (0-3) on Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. (CT) after winning for a second consecutive week at Iowa State, 27-21, on Saturday.
“We have two challenges again: Getting ready for our opponent and improving as a football team,” said Ferentz on Sunday in an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. “That’s paramount for us and that was our theme last week. We need to improve and we need to be a better football team when we hit the field. The guys did a good job moving forward last week, now we have to continue that this week.”
The Hawkeyes are 0-2 all-time against the Broncos, losing 27-21 in 2000, and 28-19 in 2007. The loss in the season-finale in 2007 kept Iowa from a bowl berth.
“If you look around the landscape, Akron gave Michigan all it wanted (Saturday) and our opening game against a fine Northern Illinois team,” Ferentz said. “Any time you play a MAC school, you have to be prepared and that’s the nature of college football.”
“We have two challenges again: Getting ready for our opponent and improving as a football team. That’s paramount for us and that was our theme last week. We need to improve and we need to be a better football team when we hit the field. The guys did a good job moving forward last week, now we have to continue that this week.”
UI head football coach
Ferentz highlighted production received from the experienced Hawkeyes during its victory in Ames. For the third week in a row, a senior stepped up to make a momentum-changing play. In the opener, it was linebacker Christian Kirksey with a strip and fumble return for a touchdown; in week 2 against Missouri State, it was free safety Tanner Miller with a fourth-quarter interception in the end zone. On Saturday, linebacker James Morris and cornerback B.J. Lowery came up with key interceptions.
“Those are all big plays, especially on the defensive side,” Ferentz said. “When they take place maybe you don’t appreciate how big they are. All four are big plays and all four come from seniors we’re counting on to be big players.”
The UI special teams are also led by seniors. Ferentz pointed to kicker Mike Meyer contributing two field goals and three point-afters against the Cyclones. Long-snapper Casey Krieder continues to impress in relative obscurity.
“Casey has very quietly been doing a great job for a long time,” Ferentz said. “All of our experienced players have done a lot of good things.”
There were plenty of bright spots on offense as well. Ferentz cited the line and running back Mark Weisman, but the list did not stop there.
“It was Damon Bullock’s best game and Jordan Canzeri had a nice run in there, too.” Ferentz said. “Our tight ends were active — C.J. Fiedorowicz blocked well and Ray Hamilton came up with a couple big catches as well. A lot of guys were chipping in and that was a good thing.”
With seven catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, junior wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley has now surpassed 100 receptions and 1,000 yards for his career.
“Kevonte played his best football game since he has been here,” Ferentz said. “He did a nice job blocking and did a good job with some receptions and big plays for us.”
“It was great to see that nice run after the catch,” Ferentz said.
It was Rudock’s first start on the road and he passed the test, completing 14-of-23 for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
“(Jake) did a nice job of keeping his concentration and his poise and played through any of the bumps that might have occurred,” Ferentz said.
To watch the Sunday conversation with Ferentz, click HERE.