Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says a good rivalry needs two competitive teams and it will be up to the Hawkeyes to make their new series with Nebraska a rivalry. The teams last met in Ferentz’s first two seasons as Iowa coach and the Huskers won convincingly both times. They meet as Big Ten foes for the first time in Lincoln on Friday.
Ferentz says Iowa hasn’t done so well in this series and says they were at the bottom of football and Nebraska was highly ranked the last few times they played. “Hopefully we’ve closed the gap a little bit, we’ll see time will tell,” Ferentz says.
Ferentz says he is looking forward to playing Nebraska on an annual basis. He says they traded one team from the east that wears red uniforms in Wisconsin for another that wears red uniforms. He says Nebraska joining the conference has made it stronger and it will be a challenge for them.
Nebraska is 8-3 after a lopsided loss at Michigan but Ferentz prefers to look at what the Huskers did to Legends division champion Michigan State. He says there’s only one team that knows they are playing in the championship game and Nebraska beat them.
Ferentz says the day after Thanksgiving is a perfect day for this game. He says it gives them a chance to be in the national spotlight, which he says will be good unless they don’t play well. Ferentz says Nebraska has enjoyed the date for years and he remembers watching them as kids.
Iowa is coming off a 31-21 win at Purdue and Ferentz says the shorter week of preparation won’t be an issue. He says there won’t be any excuses if they don’t play well, as he says they are in good mental spirits and about as healthy as they have been.
The win at Purdue was Iowa’s first on the road and should give them a boost of confidence as they get ready for the trip to Nebraska. Ferentz says playing on the road is a bigger challenge, but he says it doesn’t guarantee you a win. He says teams have to be more focused to win on the road.
Ferentz says one of the reasons senior receiver Marvin McNutt continues to put up big numbers is the play of junior wide receiver Keenan Davis. The Cedar Rapids native is second on the team in receptions with 41 and Ferentz says his play helps prevent teams from doubling up on McNutt.
He says everyone they try to get the football to has a role and he says in football you can take anybody out of the game, but if you can go to other areas, it makes it tougher to do.