IOWA CITY - In each of their five losses this season, the Iowa football team has failed to answer after the opposing team scored a late touchdown.
And the Hawkeyes didn't do a much better job of answering Saturday when asked why they have fallen into the same eerily similar script in the fourth quarter of those games.
Saturday's 27-24 loss to Minnesota brought more of the same. The Golden Gophers drove 77 yards for a touchdown late in the game, and the Hawkeyes went down with a whimper for the third week in a row.
"When you lose three games, you're looking for answers," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "When you lose one game, you're looking for answers. Unfortunately, we haven't found any."
While Ferentz took issue with reporters who suggested his team might not have been ready to play, defensive end Adrian Clayborn explained Saturday's loss as a product of "just not being ready to play."
Asked if something is "broken" in the Iowa program right now, Clayborn said "our will to win, I guess. These last four games we haven't done it in the fourth quarter."
Tight end Allen Reisner used the word "complacent" several times in conversations with reporters after the game.
"We're just not making the plays we need to make," he said.
"We just keep coming up short at the end of ballgames," quarterback Ricky Stanzi said. "The plays are there. We're just not making them."
Ferentz said one good thing is that the Hawkeyes still have a shot at redeeming themselves a month from now in Tempe, Ariz., or Jacksonville, Fla., or some far-off venue.
"If there's one good thing, we're still going to a bowl," he said. "We're in need of a lot of improvement right now."