After a two year hiatus the Iowa/Wisconsin series resumes on Saturday when the Hawkeyes host the Badgers in Kinnick Stadium. There is a new coach at Wisconsin but the formula, on offense, has been the same. The Badgers are averaging 296 yards of rushing in their 5-2 start.
“They look very similar, not identical but very similar to what they’ve been doing and for good reason,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says. He says first year coach Gary Andersen has not changed the identity of the Badger program. He says they are well coached on both sides of the ball and in special teams and they play hard.
It is an identity that Barry Alvarez first installed back in the 90s. “There are certain things that you do that are fundamentally part of who you are and what you are, and Barry did a great job of establishing that,” Ferentz says. He says the coaches the came after Alvarez continued to follow that formula.
Saturday’s game is a big opportunity for a Hawkeye team that many thought would suffer a second straight dismal season. At 5-3, The Hawks would become bowl eligible with a win an notch a victory over a ranked opponent. “We are moving into November now and all the preseason hype, and all the publications, all the just on and on analysis, blah, blah, blah, really doesn’t matter. This is the time where things really become more clear,” Ferentz says.
Ferentz hopes the Hawkeyes can build momentum after last week’s overtime win against Northwestern. He says they still have to go out and play and last week doesn’t help you do that. Ferentz says the fan support helps and it also helps when you make some plays.