Oct. 22, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — There are Kodak moments worth framing and there are Kodak moments hidden in a shoe box under a bed, never meant to see the light of day.
For head coach Kirk Ferentz and the University of Iowa football team, one of those moments in the latter category occurred at Northwestern last October. The Wildcats ran for 349 yards and three touchdowns and led 28-3 early in the second half of a game that ended 28-17.
“It was a Kodak moment in that there were a lot of things that took place in the game that we didn’t execute well enough,” Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly news conference in the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “(Northwestern) had something to do with that. Last year they had a very good football team, as they do this year.”
Iowa (4-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten Conference) hosts Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) Saturday with an 11:01 a.m. (CT) kickoff in Kinnick Stadium. Both teams are looking to halt league losing streaks and crawl back into contention for the Legends Division title.
In preparation for Saturday’s ANF Day matchup, the Hawkeyes will take a long look at the 2012 game film.
“As a coach, you focus on things that keep you from having a chance for success,” Ferentz said. “There are a lot of visuals in that game that jumped out. Next thing you know, we’re looking at a 28-3 score, which is not a good position to be in. You focus on the things that you can control and there were an awful lot of pictures in that (2012) tape.”
“It was a Kodak moment in that there were a lot of things that took place in the game that we didn’t execute well enough. (Northwestern) had something to do with that. Last year they had a very good football team, as they do this year.”
UI head football coach
Most of the damage to the Hawkeye defense was inflicted by Wildcat quarterback Kain Colter (166 rushing yards, three touchdowns) and running back Venric Mark (162 rushing yards, 10.1 yards per carry). Although always wary of “coach speak,” in his weekly news conference Monday, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald ruled Mark out of the game and said Colter is day-to-day. Neither saw action during the Wildcats’ 20-17 home loss to Minnesota on Oct. 19, but Colter is now listed as a starter on the depth chart.
Other than focusing this week on what Northwestern does well, the Hawkeyes will also emphasize taking care of the ball. The Wildcats are tied for 14th nationally with 17 turnovers gained. When Iowa wins the turnover battle this season, it is 3-0; when it loses the turnover battle, the Hawkeyes are 0-3.
“(Ball security) is one of the things on our wish list,” Ferentz said. “I think we’re plus-one (for the season) right now. We would like to see that number start moving north a little bit. Ball security is a big thing.”
In the last two Big Ten games, Iowa has led at halftime (14-10 against Michigan State, 17-10 at Ohio State), before falling. Ferentz said the Hawkeyes didn’t have a problem finishing games; the opponent had a lot to say with the final outcome. While Michigan State is first in the conference in total defense, Ohio State is third in total offense.
“We have to move on, see what we can do this week to be prepared to play 60 good minutes,” Ferentz said. “I know the next five games are all going to be 60-minute games.”
Iowa allowed a season-high 495 yards last week against the Buckeyes.
“They’ll bounce back. It’s our choice,” Ferentz said of his defense. “You have to because we have five tough games in front of us. They will; we have quality guys.”
Ferentz said senior defensive end Dominic Alvis will rest this week and miss the Northwestern game. Because of the injury, the Hawkeyes will “take this week to sort out (who our No. 4 defensive end is) in practice.” Prime candidates include junior Mike Hardy and sophomore Nate Meier.
Saturday’s game will be televised by BTN with Matt Devlin, Glen Mason and Jon Jansen calling the action.