Sept. 28, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Football, like all sports, is a numbers game. The number 54 is significant for the University of Iowa the last two Saturdays.
In road victories over Pittsburgh and Purdue, the Hawkeyes used 54 different players. UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said that helps the team stay fresh late in a game and could pay more dividends as the season continues.
“We have rebounded from our only loss and played well two straight weeks,” Ferentz said Sunday in an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. “That’s a real tribute to the players. We have played a lot of guys on both sides of the ball, some out of necessity and others just trying to get them more involved.”
The Hawkeyes head into the first of two bye weeks with a record of 4-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten Conference.
“We will let them have time to themselves, get caught up on anything academically, and just enjoy some private time, which is a healthy thing,” Ferentz said. “The important thing is, when we are working this week, we have to do quality work and keep moving forward.”
Ferentz said he hopes to have senior running back Damon Bullock back after the bye week. Bullock and sophomore wide receiver Matt VandeBerg did not travel to Purdue.
The Hawkeyes rushed for a season-high 175 yards with 134 coming in the second half against the Boilermakers.
“As the game went on, I thought our run game started to open up a little bit,” Ferentz said. “Both Mark (Weisman) and Jordan (Canzeri) did a good job and LeShun Daniels had a real big third-down conversion for us as well — it came at a key point in the game. The blocking up front and on the perimeter is starting to improve.”
Up next for the Hawkeyes is a Homecoming contest against Indiana on Oct. 11.