With a New Years Day appearance seemingly assured the Iowa Hawkeyes try to close what has become a surprising season when they host ninth ranked Wisconsin on Saturday. The Hawkeyes are 8-2 after a 29-27 win at Minnesota that seem to typify this season. The Hawks won the game despite gaining only six yards on the ground with an injury riddled running game.Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says that illustrates the kind of season they’ve been having and there aren’t any easy games. But he says they’re competing and that’s positive news. Ferentz says the health of the team is improving as preparations for the Badgers begins. Running back Sam Brownlee should be ready to go as will lineman Lee Gray and Mike Elgin. He says running back Marques Simmons will likely not return.Iowa has survived the lack of a ground game because of solid defense and the passing of sophomore quarterback Drew Tate. Ferentz says that does not mean he has become as coach that wants to rely solely on the passing game. He says he’s on the side of whatever it takes to get it done, he says that’s really the name of the game. He says the coaches have to be realistic about who they are and what they do. He says things won’t change on that for this game.With a victory Iowa could grab a share of the Big Ten title if Ohio State upsets Michigan.
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