Getting Back to Balance

Nov. 5, 2013

Ferentz News Conference Highlights

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Head coach Kirk Ferentz emphasized that the University of Iowa football team is better when it features a balanced offensive attack. That is the goal Saturday when the Hawkeyes (5-4 overall, 2-3 Big Ten Conference) travel to Purdue to face the cross-division rival Boilermakers (1-7, 0-4).

Ferentz met with media Tuesday in the Players Auditorium of the Hayden Fry Football Complex, where he fielded several questions about the team’s recent production from its running game. During the first five games of the season, the Hawkeyes averaged 243.8 rushing yards a game; in the last four they have averaged 101.

“At the end of the day, we’re better if we’re balanced and able to dictate to the defense what we’re going to do,” Ferentz said.

He added that the Hawkeyes are a better team “if we can run it, that’s for sure.”

Iowa’s recent opponents had something to say about yards being hard to come by on the ground. The four-game stretch in question was against the top three defenses (and rushing defenses) in the Big Ten: Michigan State (43.4 yards per game), Ohio State (88.2), and Wisconsin (91.0). The Hawkeyes gained 23 yards on the ground against Michigan State, 130 against Ohio State, and 115 against Wisconsin.

“Every week is a different challenge. We’re capable of doing better, and I think we probably could have done a little bit better last week, and that would have helped the cause, but we didn’t get it done.”
Kirk Ferentz
UI head football coach

“Every week is a different challenge,” Ferentz said. “We’re capable of doing better, and I think we probably could have done a little bit better last week, and that would have helped the cause, but we didn’t get it done.”

Purdue is 10th in the conference in run defense, allowing 211.8 yards a game. The Boilermakers are last in the league in Big Ten-only games, allowing an average of 291.5 yards and three rushing touchdowns a game.

It is hard to read this Purdue team that starts five freshmen — all on offense. The Boilermakers lost to No. 21 Notre Dame by seven points, but lost by 56 points to No. 4 Ohio State. They lost by 37 at home to Nebaska and the next week lost 14-0 to Michigan State when the Spartans scored on a fumble return and a pass from a wide receiver.

“We’ve got to be ready for a team that’s playing at that level (that they played against Notre Dame and Michigan State),” Ferentz said. “There are no easy days in this conference, that’s for sure.”

Purdue defeated Iowa last season in Kinnick Stadium, 27-24, and holds a 46-34-3 edge in the series. Iowa won, 31-21, during its most recent trip to Ross-Ade Stadium in 2011.

The Hawkeyes are sitting on five victories and the next would make them bowl eligible.

“All we’re worried about is winning this week, which would be six, and to become bowl eligible is certainly a plus compared to a year ago,” Ferentz said. “We had six (wins) the year we didn’t go (2007), so that’s not the end all, but it’s the best we can do this week. It would be a great outcome for us if we can get that done.”

The only Hawkeye Ferentz said would miss the Purdue game is senior defensive end Dominic Alvis, who also sat out games against Northwestern and Wisconsin.

“I think everybody is going to be good to go,” Ferentz said.

The Iowa-Purdue game is televised by BTN with Kevin Kugler, Glen Mason, and Jon Jansen calling the action. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT).