Sept. 27, 2013
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MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Iowa football team (3-1) will be playing its second road game and rivalry contest in three games on Saturday when the team looks to defend Floyd of Rosedale against Minnesota (4-0) on its Homecoming.
First-year UI receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said Friday afternoon that the receivers have been upbeat and ready to go after winning their last three games.
“The mood around the team has been extremely positive this week,” said Kennedy. “They’re excited to be here in Minneapolis because it’s the start of Big Ten play and tomorrow is another trophy game that holds a significant meaning.”
After playing in front of a sold out crowd at Iowa State two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes will face another boisterous crowd on Saturday at a sold out TCF Band Stadium. Kennedy said the team prepared for the anticipated crowd noise at practice.
“We practiced with crowd noise and loud music during the week, so our guys really had to focus,” Kennedy said. “They handled it well.”
Iowa’s passing offense has made strides the last couple games and will face the Big Ten’s ninth-ranked team in passing defense tomorrow — the Golden Gophers have allowed 270 yards per game through the air this season. Kennedy has seen improvement in the Hawkeye receivers.
“I’m pleased with progress, but we’re not a finished product,” said Kennedy. “We have to keep improving every week. The great thing about (our receivers) is that they want to be good, so they work extremely hard in practice. They’re moving in that direction.”
Leading the Hawkeye receiving corps is Kevonte Martin-Manley, who ranks fifth in the league in receptions (5.0 per game). Kennedy likes the leadership qualities the Hawkeye junior is instilling in his teammates.
“His work ethic is infectious on his teammates,” Kennedy said. “They see that he works so hard and what I always tell Kevonte is that is the only way he can work. He has good ability, but he’s maximizing his ability. The other guys get their cue from him and they’re moving forward.”
What will Kennedy’s message be to the receivers before the Hawkeyes and Golden Gophers kickoff for the 107th time tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. (CT)?
“Go out and play hard. We have to be aggressive and get after them,” said Kennedy.