Sept. 6, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team was golden while passing its first test of the season. Now a road trip looms at rival Iowa State in six days.
The Hawkeyes dominated their season opener against Illinois State on Saturday, scoring the game’s first 31 points and clearing the bench in the process. With 84-degree temperature at kickoff — and 120 on the turf during the game — it was a scorcher of a “Be Bold, Wear Gold” opener.
“The crowd was great, even in pregame,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday during an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. “The student section was there in full, they were enthusiastic, loud, and vibrant, so that was great. When we came out for kickoff I thought the crowd was outstanding, so we really appreciate the fans coming out and weathering the weather because it was a hot day.”
There was no need for Hawkeye fans to sweat the outcome against the Redbirds, ranked No. 2 in the Football Championship Subdivision. Iowa passed for 221 yards and ran for 210 while building a five-possession lead with 7:54 to play.
“It will be the first road trip for this football team and then with a lot of new players, that is going to be a great challenge. It’s a great environment to play in. Historically, the series has proven to be extremely competitive. It gets down to playing your best football.
UI football coach
“We thought we had a good camp, you’re never quite sure until you play,” Ferentz said. “We thought we had a good preseason practice session and a good week of game preparation. We thought the guys’ focus was good and all those things showed up at kickoff. Our guys played hard, they played tough, most of all they were ready to play at kickoff and that’s something you’re always antsy about before the first game or any game.”
Next up is a trip to Ames, Iowa, to play the Cyclones in Jack Trice Stadium, a place where the Hawkeyes have won two of the last three meetings (35-3 in 2009, 27-21 in 2013). In 2013, Iowa led 27-7 with less than five minutes to play.
“It will be the first road trip for this football team and then with a lot of new players, that is going to be a great challenge,” Ferentz said. “It’s a great environment to play in. Historically, the series has proven to be extremely competitive. It gets down to playing your best football.
“It is a big week in-state and most of the people around our state will be talking about this game. That is one of the great things about intrastate rivals, especially when we are in different conferences. I think that adds a lot to it as well.”
Both teams are off to 1-0 starts after defeating top-tier FCS programs in their openers.
Ferentz said the Hawkeyes came out of the Illinois State game healthy and had no issues with Saturday’s intense heat.
“I was concerned that maybe the game would have taken a lot out of them, but the guys came out of it in good fashion,” Ferentz said. “They ran well (Sunday), so we will get back to the practice field Monday morning really happy with how we came out of things.”
The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series battle is scheduled for a 3:45 p.m. (CT) kickoff.
After Iowa State the Hawkeyes entertain Pitt in the first of two night games at historick Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are available for the remaining six home contests. Click HERE to make your purchase online or call 1-800 IA-HAWKS, 9 a.m to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.