Oct. 20, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — After handling a bye week well and regaining balanced offensive production a week later, the University of Iowa football team now aims for a Northwestern program that won 10 games a year ago.
Included in that Wildcat win total was a 28-17 decision against Iowa on Oct. 27 in Evanston, Ill.
“We’ve had some great games with those guys, it’s going to be competitive,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday in an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. “They have some outstanding players, they’re very well coached, and coming off a 10-win season. They are a very good football team and we have an awful lot of respect for them. Both teams experienced losses, so I know it is going to be two teams out there hungry to get back on the winning side of things.”
Northwestern (4-3 overall, 0-3 Big Ten Conference) has lost three games in a row, most recently at home to Minnesota, 20-17, on Oct. 19. Later that day, the Hawkeyes (4-3, 1-2) were defeated by Ohio State, 34-24.
In the first half against the No. 4 Buckeyes, Iowa had 17 first downs and 222 yards (121 passing, 101 rushing). The Hawkeyes also owned a six-minute advantage in possession time.
“Part of our goal was to be balanced offensively and threaten them with the run and the pass like you do every game,” Ferentz said. “Our guys did a good job of executing that, especially in the first half.”
A major component to Iowa’s progress is sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock, who made his seventh start and third in a hostile road environment. He completed 19-of-34 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns.
“Outside that last throw (an interception by Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell), I thought he played really well,” Ferentz said. “That’s a tough place to play; to think it was only his third road game as a starter. I thought he did a great job of not being affected by the noise. We didn’t have any illegal procedure penalties, that was great. We had a lot of checks and he has a role in getting us into good plays and getting out of bad plays. I thought he did a good job there, too. I am pleased with his poise and progress.”
Ferentz said he was hoping to see the tight end position begin to emerge and it did Saturday with 11 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side, true freshman cornerback Desmond King compiled 12 tackles against the Buckeyes, including 10 solo. He is the top freshman tackler in the Big Ten.
“He doesn’t seem to be affected by anything,” Ferentz said. “He competes well out there, is very coachable, and has a great attitude.”
Kickoff for the Iowa-Northwestern game is scheduled for Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. (CT).