November 22, 2014

Hawkeyes look to stay in conference race, Cyclones look for conference win

The Iowa Hawkeyes host Wisconsin in Kinnick Stadium and the Hawkeyes need a victory to keep their division title hopes alive. Not only do the Badgers have the Big Ten’s best running game they also have the top ranked defense and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the Hawkeyes must avoid third and long. “The challenge is to try and get into manageable third downs, and we didn’t do a good job last year,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says.

Running back Melvin Gordon gets most of the attention but Ferentz says Badger quarterback Stave gets overlooked as he has led them to wins. He says Wisconsin’s quarterbacks don’t always get the spotlight, but they do a good job of running the offense. Iowa is 7-3.

Iowa State looks for its first Big 12 win at home against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 1-6 in league play and coach Cliff Kingsbury must decide on a starting quarterback between Davis Webb and Pat Mahomes. ISU coach Paul Rhoads says Texas Tech will throw the ball and he feels the Cyclones will play hard to finish out the season.

Rhoads says the trenches will decide the outcome as the run game and run defense will be important to both teams.

Iowa State is 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the Big 12.


Iowa fades in second half against Texas

Tenth ranked Texas took command with a 13-0 run early in the second half and cruised to a 71-57 over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2K Classic in New York City. The Hawks led 30-24 at the half but were no match for the Longhorns in the second half.

“We played a little bit tentatively, I want to be tough and smart and I want to execute. If we do those things and we get beat, we get beat and we move on to the next,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says. He felt the Hawkeyes especially lacked toughness in the second half. “Toughness is not get into a fight, toughness is having enough intensity and concentration and competitive instincts to fight through a tough period,” McCaffery says.

Aaron White led Iowa with 23 points and says despite the loss the Hawkeyes showed potential. “Nothing is handed to you at this level…they are not the 10th ranked team for no reason,” White says. He says they learned in the first half how good they can be, but he says they can’t just play half a game.

Jonathan Holmes Led Texas with 19 points. The Hawks are 2-1.


Hawkeyes face early basketball test in Texas

Fran McCaffery

Fran McCaffery

The Iowa basketball team faces its first major test of the season tonight when the Hawkeyes take on 10th ranked Texas in the 2K Classic in New York City. Junior forward Jarrod Uthoff has played well in a 2-0 start. The Cedar Rapids native is averaging 12 and a half points and has connected on six of 10 from three point range.

“He’s just really playing well, he’s playing with a lot of confidence, I’m really proud of him,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says> He says Uthoff is playing well at both ends and the other players are looking to get him the ball offensively.

The Longhorns will be a difficult challenge as McCaffery says they have size and are physical with great guard play.

Junior center Adam Woodbury says the Hawkeyes need to answer the physical challenge. He says the Big 10 is the most physical conference in the nation, so they will come prepared to meet the physical challenge.

Syracuse and California meet in the second game in Madison Square Garden.


Drake football team closes out the season in Florida

Drake football coach Rick Fox. (file photo)

Drake football coach Rick Fox. (file photo)

The Drake football team heads to Florida to close out the season on Saturday with a game against Stetson. The Bulldogs had their Pioneer Football League title hopes dashed three weeks ago on a late touchdown drive by San Diego but responded with a late touchdown to rally for a win at Dayton.

“To show that kind of resilience, especially after coming off a tough loss against San Diego…our guys hung in there, they kept fighting…and I was really, really proud of how our team responded,” Drake coach Rick Fox says.

The Bulldogs are motivated to end the season with a win as he says Drake football is playing together and playing with relentless effort. “And if we do that, one play at a time for an entire game, then good things are usually going to happen for us,” Fox says.

Stetson enters the game with a record of 5-6, but Fox says they led San Diego for a good portion of the game and he says any team in the conference is tough to beat at home.

Fox says the final game of any season is emotional for the seniors who are ending their careers. “Football is not like basketball or baseball or soccer where you can just pick it up and play it for many, many years. The nature of the sport brings a finality to it. So, it’s a special week, it’s an emotional week and we want to send these guys out in the right way on Saturday,” Fox says.

Drake is 6-4.


Hawkeyes have to stop the hottest back in the country

Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City

Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City

An Iowa defense that has struggled at times to stop the run will need to be at its best on Saturday when the Hawkeyes host a Wisconsin team that is averaging 39 points and 356 yards of rushing in Big Ten play.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says it’s going to take their best football and he says the Pitt game is a good example as they didn’t do that in the first half and Pitt picked up yardage.

The focus will be on Badger running back Melvin Gordon who set an FBS single record of 408 yards in Wisconsin’s blow out win over Nebraska. In just the last two games Gordon has rushed for 613 yards. Ferentz says the Hawkeye secondary will need to be sure tacklers to prevent big plays. “If you gain 400 yards that tells you there have been some missed tackles, but I’d say missed tackles or broken tackles, you are not going to bring him down by a shoestring,” Ferentz says.

Ferentz says Gordon is special because of his skills, buy he says he is also an enthusiastic, energetic player who has been able to stay healthy.

Ferentz says the Iowa-Wisconsin series is based more on respect than some of the other border rivalries as he worked with former coach and now athletic director Barry Alvarez and has know the rest of the staff.

While Wisconsin’s running game gets most of the attention the Badgers also have the Big Ten’s top ranked defense after making the transition to the 3-4 scheme last year. He says it’s impressive the way they are playing right now on defense.

Wisconsin can lock up the Big Ten West Division title with a win and a Nebraska victory over Minnesota. Iowa needs to win out to have a chance at the division title.


UNI coach not thinking about playoff chances

Mark Farley (file photo)

Mark Farley (file photo)

UNI football coach Mark Farley does not want to even talk about the Panthers’ playoff chances. Winners of four straight the Panthers close out the regular season at home against Missouri State on Saturday and with a victory should land an at-large berth in the FCS playoff field.

Farley says they’ve been “buried so much in the season” that they haven’t had time to think about the playoffs and they will continue to do that with the sole focus must be on Missouri State. “We can’t assume anything, on the punt team, on the offense, we can’t assume anything right now, we have to go earn it. And we’ll have to go earn this football game,” Farley says.

The turnaround this season began with a defense that has shut down the run game and intercepted 9 passes in the last 4 games. Farley says it starts with the defensive line which is getting a good pass rush and forcing the quarterback to throw early. Farley says the defense is playing with a lot of confidence. “They are in a good spot, they are playing very confident and they want to be on the field…they are just having fun right now,” according to Farley.

Missouri State is 4-7 and this will likely be former UNI coach Terry Allen’s final game as the Bears’ coach. Farley says their long time rivals would love to spoil UNI’s post season plans. Farley says he’s concerned just because it is Missouri State.

(Reporting by Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein)


Five Hawkeyes hit double figures in win over North Dakota State

Fran McCaffery

Fran McCaffery

The Iowa Hawkeyes posted 5 players in double figures in an 87-56 win over North Dakota State. Despite the win coach Fran McCaffery was not pleased with 18 turnovers and the final ten minutes of the game.

“We did not practice the last couple of days and that was a little disappointing and you look at the 18 turnovers and you look at the last 10 minutes of the game, which was really sloppy,” McCaffery says. “But the reality is we did what we had to do to secure the game.”

McCaffery says the Hawkeyes will need to play much better on Thursday when they play Texas in New York City. He says they did not rebound well in the first half, but did better in the second half and had some good things with the 5 players in double figures, but says the 18 turnovers can’t continue.

Gabe Olaseni had 14 points and 11 rebounds while Adam Woodbury added 10 points ands 11 boards as Iowa improves to 2-0.