Sept. 14, 2014
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
- 2014 Fall Camp Central
- Read the September issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
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- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After playing three consecutive games in Kinnick Stadium, the University of Iowa football team prepares for its first road challenge at Pittsburgh on Sept. 20.
“The fans have been unbelievable in Kinnick; the energy and noise in there yesterday was fantastic, so we’re very appreciative of that,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday in an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. “It will be our first road test; the key to road travel is for everybody pulling together and being totally focused on what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Last season the Hawkeyes were 4-1 on the road and lost on a neutral site to Louisiana State University in the Outback Bowl.
“We did a good job last year on the road, it was something we excelled at,” Ferentz said. ” We need to pick up where we left off next year.”
Ferentz will see a familiar face across the field in Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst. In 2002 and from 2005-11, Chryst coached at the University of Wisconsin, primarily as offensive coordinator.
“Paul Chryst is a fantastic coach, we all know that from competing against him when he was at Wisconsin for so many years,” Ferentz said. “They are comfortable with where they’re at and what they’re doing and they have the personnel to match — they have a big, physical offensive line and a very big, physical running back, so in a lot of ways offensively they look a lot like Wisconsin. They are playing good on defense, too. That’s why they’re 3-0 right now. It will be a tough challenge for our football team.”
Iowa is coming off a 20-17 loss to Iowa State in a game where Hawkeye special teams earned praise. Dillon Kidd punted four times for an average of 38.2 yards per punt with a long of 48 and three inside the Cyclone 20. Marshall Koehn connected on a 44-yard field goal and all four kickoffs went for touchbacks. Jordan Canzeri returned two kickoffs for 43 yards and Jonathan Parker returned one for 17 yards.
And, after three games, the Hawkeyes are relatively healthy. That includes impressive recoveries by defensive end Drew Ott and offensive tackle Brandon Scherff.
“Drew Ott being hit by a car on Monday and playing Saturday is an amazing tribute to his toughness,” Ferentz said. “Brandon was injured in the (Ball State) game a week ago, woke up stiff and sore on Sunday, and for him to fight through that and play the way he did — those guys are inspiration to everybody around here.”