Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the Hawkeyes are in a race this week and the outcome will determine whether or not they have a chance on Saturday when they host Iowa State.
The Hawkeyes escaped with an 18-17 victory over Northern Illinois in their season opener and need to make major strides this week before hosting the Cyclones.
“I think a lot of things are correctable, that’s the good news. The challenge is how quickly you can correct things and how quickly will that show up on the game field,” Ferentz says.
Iowa State will be looking to make it two in a row in the series after beating the Hawkeyes in triple overtime last year in Ames.
“They’ve got an excellent football team, had a very impressive win Saturday against a good Tulsa football team. They’ve just done a nice job year and year out with what they are doing over there. So we’ve just got a big challenge on our hands and certainly a lot of work to do this week,” Ferentz says.
Ferentz says the Hawkeyes provided Steele Jantz a “highlight reel” in last year’s matchup. Ferentz says Jantz is an even better quarterback this season. He says Jantz had a good game against Tulsa and has a year more of experience this year.
Iowa’s passing game struggled in the opener and Ferentz says all facets were involved. He says it’s a team thing, from protecting the quarterback to route running and throwing.
Ferentz says despite Saturday’s struggles he feels like the Hawkeyes have potential. “We did a lot of good things Saturday, certainly enough to win against a good team, but there are an awful lot of things we need to improve upon,” he says.
The play of sophomore running back Damon Bullock was a bright spot. Bullock finished with 150 yards of rushing and scored Iowa’s lone touchdown with just over two minutes remaining. Ferentz says Bullock finished the game strong despite carrying a heavy load.
Ferentz says Iowa State has made a lot of progress under Paul Rhoads because they have found an “identity”. He says the Cyclone players are better now and more experienced in the system and he says that’s what good teams do.