Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz is not second guessing himself over the final seconds of regulation in the Hawkeyes overtime loss at Ohio State. With 52 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter the Hawks ran the ball and let time expire instead of trying to get in position for a game winning field goal.
Ferentz says he had a tougher time releasing the two interception returns they took place in the second half than some other people. “We’d played our tails off for 59 minutes, to me it was better to get the middle ground, for our football team at that point, I figured both teams starting out even was the better way,” Ferentz says. He says he would have changed his thinking if they had gotten a good punt return or a bad punt, but he didn’t like the odds of going 70 yards in 52 seconds.
At 9-2, the Hawks are still in the hunt for an at-large spot in a BCS bowl but Ferentz declined an opportunity to make the case for his team at his weekly news conference. He says none of the speculation will matter if the Hawks don’t beat Minnesota in their regular season finale. He says if they win they are 10-2 and if they lose they’ll be 9-3 and he isn’t thinking about anything beyond that, because it doesn’t matter.
Ricky Stanzi will not return this week and freshman James Vandenberg will get his second consecutive start at quarterback. Ferentz says Vandenberg was impressive against the Buckeyes. Ferentz says it showed that Vandenberg has been doing his homework, has been attentive and learning quickly. Ferentz says Vandenberg showed a lot of poise and that is something you never know about until you see it.
This will be the final home game for 17 seniors. It is a group that has helped return the program to the national stage. Ferentz says he has really enjoyed the last two years as he says the seniors did a good job last year and have been leaders this year.
Iowa beat Minnesota 55-0 last year in the Twin Cities but Ferentz is not expecting anything like that on Saturday. Ferentz says he’s still not sure how that happened last year and he did not see it coming. He says that does not happen often, especially in conference play.