Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says it is up to the Hawkeyes to make the series with Nebraska a rivalry. The Hawks and Huskers close out the regular season in Lincoln and Iowa is looking to claim its first win since the black Friday matchup was created. “In recent history we were 1 for 4, 70’s, 80’s oh for two when I got here and oh for two most recently. It’s the kind of rivalry they like, and it’s our job to do something about it, that’s what we’ve got to do,”Ferentz says.
Nebraska is 8-3, despite playing much of the season without senior quarterback Taylor Martinez. Ferentz says he doubts there’s another 8 win program in the country that has had to play with 3 different quarterbacks. Ferentz says he is getting used to playing this game after a short week of preparation. He says he is not a huge fan of playing the week of Thanksgiving, but says one of the nice things is that players will be able to spend a little time at home after the game.
Iowa claimed its seventh win of the season by rallying past Michigan but Ferentz is not ready to say the program has “turned the corner” after last year’s 4-8 record. “We’ve got two games to so, so there are so many things that can happen and we’re just going to keep pushing forward,” Ferentz says. He says they have been judged all season and will continue to get judged and won’t know how they did until the season is finally over.
After struggling with some inexperience early in the season Ferentz says the Nebraska defense has made major strides. He says they have found their home base in the last 3 or 4 games. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini says he is not focused on his future this week. Despite being on the verge of another nine win season Pelini is viewed by many as being on the hot seat in Lincoln. “It’s business as usual around here, I think you guys are creating more speculation than anything else,” Pelini says.
Pelini says led by a trio of senior linebackers the Iowa defense has been impressive. He says they are good football players who are welled coached and he says the whole defense has done a good job.
Pleni says the players have stayed focused despite numerous injuries and off the field distractions. “When you do that, good things happen to you. That’s going to be our challenge this week, not worrying about what happened in the last game,” Pelini says.