The round robin that will eventually decide the Big Ten west division champion is set to begin as the Iowa Hawkeyes prepare for a visit to Minnesota. The Hawks and Gophers along with Nebraska and Wisconsin all have one league loss and they will all meet in the final month of the season.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz does not buy in to the theory that the Gophers are not as good as their 6-2 record. “I gave that up a couple of years ago when we got our tails kicked up there in 2011,” Ferentz says. He says people are probably saying the same thing about his team.
Ferentz says Minnesota is solid in all phases with a veteran coaching staff that has a system that has been successful. Ferentz says the Hawks could still accomplish a lot but they are not satisfied with where they are at. “We’re a 6-2 ballclub and we are not looking much further than Saturday,” Ferentz says. He says they will need a good week of preparation and have to play good football against Minnesota to get the 7th win.
Iowa bounced back from a loss at Maryland with a lopsided win over Northwestern and Ferentz says the key was fundamentals. He says it is hard to be a good football team if you don’t tackle well, have penalties and turn the ball over. Ferentz says they still have some room for improvement when it comes to tackling.
Freshman Akrum Wadley became the first Iowa running back to top the 100 yard mark in the win over Northwestern. It was his first appearance of the season. “He’s done some good things, and you never know until a guy gets out there,” Ferentz says. He says it’s just one game so the jury is still out on how good Wadley will be.
Minnesota is also 6-2 overall and the Gophers were off last week following a loss at Illinois. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill says they have been working on the fundamentals and will need to find a way to slow down the Hawkeyes ground game. He says Iowa will continue to run the ball, and are also throwing the ball well.