Nov. 17, 2015
- Game Day Live
- 2015 UI Football Fall Camp Central
- Read the November issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Some have started games, some have been injured. Some excelled academically or as upstanding citizens.
But a common thread among all 21 University of Iowa seniors who will play their final game inside Kinnick Stadium on Saturday is this: they work hard daily, they do things the right way, and they are great role models. They also happen to be part of 25 Hawkeye football victories over the past three seasons.
“It’s an opportunity to send our seniors off in a good fashion, and this has been a great class,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said of Saturday’s game against Purdue. “We’ve got 21 outstanding young people in this class, and going back to January when they became our senior class, they’ve done a great job of serving as role models for every guy on our team.”
The fifth-rated Hawkeyes enter the game with a 10-0 record, 6-0 in the Big Ten Conference. Listening to them talk Tuesday during their weekly media availability, the focus isn’t as much on securing a league co-championship as it is trying to get a win against Purdue (2-8, 1-5).
Senior Day is always emotional, but the Iowa players are well versed in keeping an eye on the task at hand. This week it is a Boilermaker team that handled Nebraska by 10 points and lost games by three points to Michigan State (in East Lansing, Michigan) and by seven points to Northwestern (in Evanston, Illinois).
“Going out with a win on Senior Day would be the best thing that could happen. With where we are right now, we’re just trying to take one game at a time. We still have (important) games left because we put ourselves in that position.”
UI senior kicker
“Going out with a win on Senior Day would be the best thing that could happen,” UI senior kicker Marshall Koehn said. “With where we are right now, we’re just trying to take one game at a time. We still have (important) games left because we put ourselves in that position.”
Senior running back Jordan Canzeri will have his parents at his final home game, as well as an older sister who will make her first trip to a game in Iowa City. Canzeri leads the Hawkeyes with 729 rushing yards and nine of the team’s 30 rushing touchdowns, despite missing two games because of injury.
“A lot of emotions are flying, but the focus is on having good practices and not getting too emotional,” Canzeri said. “The seniors are going to make sure we’re going to have a great week of practice so this game goes the best way it can in our favor.”
Iowa has won two in a row against Purdue and four of the last five. But in the last meeting in Kinnick Stadium (Nov. 10, 2012), the Boilermakers won, 27-24, on Paul Griggs’ 46-yard field goal as time expired to snap a five-game losing streak. It is another reminder that in the Big Ten Conference, records entering a game are meaningless.
“It’s about us trying to beat the team in front of us, and ultimately, it’s about us playing our best football,” Ferentz said. “If we’re good enough, we’re good enough, and if we’re not, we’re not, but that’s all we can try to do.”
Leave it to 21 seniors to get that message across this week.
“They set an example of how everyone should follow them,” said junior running back LeShun Daniels, Jr. “They have been through it all — the ups and downs. They know what to expect and what it takes for us to be successful. As long as we’re following them 100 percent, we’re going to keep being successful.”
Not only has Daniels followed the lead of the senior class, but he did a pretty good job following lead blockers against Minnesota. Daniels carried the ball 26 times for 195 yards and three touchdowns.
Like many of the Hawkeyes, UI junior quarterback C.J. Beathard wants to give his all for the seniors Saturday.
“We have a lot of memories on and off the field with them,” Beathard said.
There is still plenty of time for pleasant memories to be made.