Sunday Conversation with Coach Ferentz

Nov. 8, 2015

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff did a complete evaluation of the program following last season, and one thing that was emphasized was being able to finish games.

As the eighth-ranked and undefeated Hawkeyes (9-0, 5-0) look forward to consecutive home games in Kinnick Stadium the next two weekends, that is a trend they will try to continue in closing out the regular season. Iowa holds an 85-53 fourth-quarter scoring advantage through nine games.

“The fourth quarter is important to every football team, and something we did not do last year was close games out, to finish games,” said Ferentz. “Saturday was representative of what we are hoping to see. We have been tracking the fourth quarter success throughout the season. The guys are doing a good job there, it’s part of the reason we are 9-0. It’s something we hope to not only maintain, but also to build on.”

Iowa held a 21-20 lead following an Indiana field goal with 13:22 to play. That’s when the Hawkeye offense put together back-to-back scoring drives of 75 and 76 yards to build a 35-20 advantage. Junior quarterback C.J. Beathard completed 7-of-11 passes in the final period for 102 yards.

After the Hoosiers scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, Iowa’s defense held the home team to three points in the second half until a late touchdown with 2:24 left. Iowa held Indiana five points and 67 yards under its season average. The Hoosiers were able to rush for 227 yards in the game, but just 88 yards in the final two quarters.

“It doesn’t sound like much, but holding Indiana to 27 points is difficult,” said Ferentz. “Indiana is a well-rounded offensive football team; very explosive, and they have played well offensively against everybody when they have been healthy. We saw it last year as well. They have a different running back that is doing a good job and their quarterback can throw it. They have a number of guys who play well in the passing game. For an up-tempo team, they run the ball in a more traditional way and are tough to defend.

“We were happy to get the road win, our third in the Big Ten,” said Ferentz. “To win a conference game in November is significant and something we can build on. Our defense has played well overall, and against the run, all season long; we’ll try to get back on our feet and do a good job the next three weeks.”

Leading the way for the defense Saturday was sophomore middle linebacker Josey Jewell. In his first year as a starter, and playing a different position from a year ago, Jewell led the Hawkeyes with a career-best 15 tackles. He had 11 solo stops, one tackle for loss, and two pass break-ups.

“Josey has played well all season long, but he was super on Saturday,” said Ferentz. “I’ve said this before, I don’t know how fast he is, but he runs fast when he is running after the ball; he gets there fast and tries to do damage when he gets there, which is what a good linebacker does.

“He does a great job and embraces the leadership aspect of being a middle linebacker. He does a great job with the checks and communication, similar to senior free safety Jordan Lomax in the secondary. I could not be happier with what he has done thus far. You have to remind yourself that he is young, just a second year player.”

Iowa hosts Minnesota on Saturday in its second prime time home game of the season. The football battle for Floyd of Rosedale is one of several events in a busy weekend that will feature a Saturday morning dual wrestling meet in Kinnick Stadium.

“I’m sorry to miss the wrestling,” said Ferentz. “I’m not surprised our fans have responded so well. We have the greatest fans in the world, and I know they love their wrestling, too. We have basketball on both sides of the Saturday events, and a great venue Saturday for two events. But our focus will be strictly on the football game. Minnesota did a wonderful job against us last year; we are going to have to up our performance and be ready, they are playing tough. My guess would be that it will go right down to the wire, not unlike the Pitt game. We look forward to that and are excited to being back in Kinnick. I know our fans will respond and hopefully our team can match their enthusiasm.”

Following Saturday’s contest against Minnesota (7 p.m., BTN) the Hawkeyes close the home schedule against Purdue (Nov. 21, TBA). Tickets remain for the Purdue game and are available online at, in person at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, or by calling 1-800-IAHAWKS. A $25 youth ticket is available for that contest.

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