Sunday Conversation with Coach Ferentz

Nov. 23, 2014

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Even in defeat, the University of Iowa football team is moving forward. Now the task is to keep surging on a short week of practice.

The Hawkeyes (7-4 overall, 4-3 Big Ten Conference) host Nebraska (8-3, 4-3) in the Hy-Vee Heroes Game on Friday with an 11 a.m. (CT) kickoff from Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won last year’s meeting, 38-17, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“Hopefully we learned something about ourselves (against Wisconsin). Even in a loss we move forward a little bit,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday during an exclusive interview with “The big thing now is we have to continue that trend because it is going to take everything we can to be successful this week.”


It always promises to be a hard-fought game when border rivals Iowa and Wisconsin square off for the Heartland Trophy. That was the case Nov. 22 when the nationally ranked Badgers held off Iowa’s second-half rally to win, 26-24. The good news for the Hawkeyes is that not only did they close the game by scoring 21 of the final 28 points, but they came out healthy.

“For a game as physical and hotly contested as it was yesterday, we came out pretty much unscathed,” Ferentz said. “We have a couple contusions and a sprain, but I think everyone has a shot to play (Friday) that was playing yesterday. That’s all you can ask for at this time of year.”

Wisconsin entered yesterday’s game leading the nation in total defense (244 yards a game) and third in scoring defense (15.3 points per game). Iowa gained 412 yards and scored 24 points. The yardage total is the most given up by Wisconsin this season.

“(Wisconsin has) a tough defensive football team,” Ferentz said. “They made it tough for us to run the football, we anticipated that. The score got to a point where we weren’t comfortable in the second half and had to move a little quicker and get the ball up in the air a little more. (Quarterback) Jake (Rudock) did a great job with that. When he saw the run available, he took it. He did a good job leading the football team and gave us a chance to win the game.”

Rudock completed 20-of-30 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored a rushing touchdown.

This is the fourth Hy-Vee Heroes Game and the second in Kinnick Stadium. The Cornhuskers won the last meeting in Iowa City in 2012, coming from behind with 10 unanswered points in the second half for a 13-7 decision.

“November is when it’s fun,” Ferentz said. “Both teams have a lot at stake, No. 1, for pride. You’re playing for pride every time you go out on the field and it should be a great football game. For us, it’s a chance to get an eighth win and a fifth in Big Ten play is significant. We’re going to need a great week of practice to get ready for Nebraska.”

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