November 30, 2015

Playoff begins for Hawkeyes and Spartans

Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz

The winner will be officially in but the playoffs begin on Saturday for Iowa and Michigan State when they collide in the Big Ten Championship Game in Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Hawkeyes completed a perfect 12-0 regular season and were fourth in last week’s College Football Playoff rankings. The Spartans are 11-1 and were sitting in fifth last week.

“I just can’t imagine whoever wins this game not being in the playoffs”, said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “I don’t know all the dynamics of that whole equation but both teams have had tremendous seasons and I just can’t the team that emerges from this thing not being in it.”

The history of this series has featured a lot of close games but they have not met since a 26-14 Spartan victory in Kinnick Stadium in 2013.

Hawkeyes bid for perfect season

Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz

The fourth ranked Iowa Hawkeyes bid for their first ever unbeaten regular season when they visit Nebraska. A key matchup will be Iowa’s run game against a Husker front seven led by tackles Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine.

“Those guys are both excellent football players but they got a lot other guys too”, said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “That is going to be a big matchup and a tough matchup for us because their ends are big and physical too and they have done a good job against the run. Something is going to have to give.”

Kickoff in Memorial Stadium is 2:30p.m. The Game will be televised by ABC.

Hawkeyes seek to make it a rivalry

Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz

The Iowa-Nebraska series was renewed when the Huskers joined the Big Ten Conference and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says it is up to the Hawkeyes to actually make it a rivalry.

Nebraska has won 29 of the 45 games played between the two schools, including three of the four Black Friday games that began in 2011.

“And really the chore for us is to get involved”, said Ferentz. “Our job is to be able to play with those guys and go out and compete with them. They recruit well and have had great teams in the past and have a really good team this year so our challenge is to be ready for them on Friday.”

Last year’s game in Kinnick Stadium was a microcosm of Iowa’s season. The Hawkeyes built a 17-point third quarter lead only to see the Huskers rally for a 37-34 victory in overtime.



ISU’s Pollard says firing of football coach about wins

ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard. (file photo)

ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard. (file photo)

Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard talked with the media today about his decision to fire head football coach Paul Rhoads.

“This is a decision that I certainly wish that (I) didn’t have to make. I wish we didn’t have to be in this spot because I know it disappoints a lot of people — especially coach Rhoads, his staff and our players,” Pollard says.

Pollard announced Sunday that Rhoads will coach the final regular season game at West Virginia, but will not continue as coach next season. “Sometimes you can want something more than it wants you,” Pollard says. “I wanted him to be our coach, he wanted to be our coach, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

The Cyclones blew a 21-point lead in a loss to Kansas State Saturday and that dropped Iowa State’s record to 3-8. “Paul was not let go because of what happened on Saturday. We have saying in the locker room, no one player, no one play costs a team a game. No one game costs a coach their job,” according to Pollard. “We made the decision to make a change because we simply didn’t win enough games.” Pollard says the team should be winning more than it has.

“I believe our team has got more talent in that locker room than we’ve had in my ten years that I have been here. We have unbelievable potential — but unfortunately they don’t keep score on the scoreboard for potential and talent — they keep score on results — and we just didn’t get the results that we need to get,” Pollard says.

Rhoads is ending his seventh season on the Iowa State sidelines and has compiled a 32-54 overall record His best season was his first one when the Cyclones finished 7-6 and beat Minnesota 14-13 in the Insight Bowl.


Panthers host #1 North Carolina

Ben Jacobson

Ben Jacobson

The Northern Iowa Panthers will host the nation’s top ranked team for the first time when they take on North Carolina in the McLeod Center on Saturday.

The Panthers are 1-1 after a victory over Stephen F. Austin and coach Ben Jacobson says the big game experience the Panthers have gained in the past few years should help against the Tar Heels.

“We have played against teams that have been ranked inside the top 10 and inside the top 20 and a handful of the guys on our team have been in those games”, said Jacobson. “That helps, no question.”

The Tar Heels are 3-0 and have been without Marion native Marcus Paige who is sidelined with a broken bone in his hand.


#1 Morningside opens NAIA playoffs

Morningside coach Steve Ryan

Morningside coach Steve Ryan

Top ranked Morningside will battle an experienced foe and the weather on Saturday when the Mustangs host St. Xavier of Illinois in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs. Morningside is 10-1 after winning the Great Plains Conference championship and hosts a St. Xavier team that has played in the national semifinals in five of the last six years.

The weather could play a major factor as Sioux City is expected to get hit with several inches of snow and Morningside coach Steve Ryan says ball security will be emphasized.

“We have got to make sure that we take care of the football and we do what we are capable of doing”, said Ryan “Our coaches and players know that we need to be able to execute.”

Ryan says while teams can prepare for rain by practicing with wet footballs there really is no way to prepare for snow.

“I don’t know how you prepare for that type of weather. With field turf a lot of it is how well you can prepare your field and how fast you can get the snow off.”




Fullbacks having an impact for Hawkeyes

Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri

Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri

Senior running back Jordan Canzeri says a key to fifth ranked Iowa’s ground game this season has been the blocking of fullbacks Adam Cox and Macon Plewa.

The Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten in rushing with just over 211 yards per game and they also rank seventh nationally in time of possession.

“I honestly would say they are two of the top fullbacks in the country with just the physicality that they bring and how they play”, said Canzeri. “When you are running behind guys like that it makes it easier when they are working that hard.”

The Hawkeyes will be looking for more success on the ground this week when they host a Purdue team that ranks last in the Big Ten against the run.