Ferentz welcomes change to holiday plans

2011-11-23T02:00:00Z Ferentz welcomes change to holiday plansSteve Batterson The Quad-City Times
November 23, 2011 2:00 am  • 

IOWA CITY - There is only one turkey Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz hopes to see this Thanksgiving week.

It's the one he plans to carve into Saturday after the Hawkeyes conclude their regular season with a Friday road game against new Big Ten rival Nebraska.

"For us, Thanksgiving is on Saturday. It's real simple. That's what we're doing," Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.

Ferentz said Iowa eagerly welcomed the chance to begin a new tradition of playing on the day after Thanksgiving after what transpired a year ago when Iowa players were given the chance to spend brief holiday time with their families preceding a 27-24 loss at Minnesota.

"There's no way to document it, but I thought we lost our focus somewhere from the time we left practice on Thursday until game time," Ferentz said.

Last season after an early Thanksgiving Day workout, the Hawkeyes scattered to homes across Iowa and Illinois for the holiday, with teammates hosting teammates who couldn't make it to their own homes for the holiday.

The team returned to campus on Friday for the trip to Minnesota, where the indigestion started as the Golden Gophers opened a 10-0 lead after one quarter.

"I'm not saying it was totally a factor, but I know in '02 we did the same thing before going down to the Orange Bowl, and that was a disaster," Ferentz said. "I don't know if keeping everybody together and playing Friday will help or not, but this is what we're doing."

Iowa and Nebraska are scheduled to meet again on the Friday after Thanksgiving in Iowa City in 2012. Officials will review continuing that arrangement after that game.

For the Cornhuskers, football on the day after Thanksgiving has been as much of a holiday tradition as cranberries and pumpkin pie.

Friday's 11 a.m. game marks the 22nd straight year Nebraska has played on the date, facing Oklahoma in the final six seasons of the Big Eight and Colorado for the past 15 years. All but one of those games has been nationally televised by ABC.

"It seems like it has worked well for them, and after our experience last year, I was of the conclusion, why not play on Friday? Couldn't be any worse than what we did last year on Saturday," Ferentz said.

Ferentz also welcomes the exposure and so do his players.

"We're about the only game on at that time. It's a good chance for us to show what we are all about," Iowa defensive back Micah Hyde said. "They're a good team. We're a good team. It should be a good deal."

Ferentz hopes that is the case.

As an Iowa assistant and head coach, he has been a part of four games against Nebraska.

His first game as a member of Hayden Fry's staff was a 10-7 win over the Cornhuskers in 1981. Nebraska has won each of the other three meetings, in 1982, 1999 and 2000, by at least 29 points.

Fry surprised the Cornhuskers with a formation called "Big Red" in the 1981 game, a move to an unbalanced line which led to a game-opening touchdown drive in what turned into a defensive battle.

"I'm sure they prepared for something else. It kind of threw them off a bit," Ferentz said. "I think they were ranked sixth. We were probably ranked 156th or something like that. It was a great moment, got things going here. We could use a little of that magic moving forward now."

Ferentz said it will take competitive games for the Iowa-Nebraska series to develop into the rivalry that fans want it to become.

"We haven't done so well in this series," Ferentz said, recalling a turnover-filled 42-13 loss in 2000 in Iowa's most recent visit to Memorial Stadium. "Hopefully we've closed the gap a little bit. We'll see. Time will tell."

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State 11 a.m.
9/12/2015 at Iowa State 3:30 p.m.
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11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

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2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28

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2014-15 Hawkeyes (22-12, 12-6)

11/02/14 Northwood (Exh.) W 92-51
11/14/14 Hampton W 90-56
11/17/14 ND State W 87-56
11/20/14 Texas # L 71-57
11/21/14 Syracuse # L 66-63
11/24/14 Pepperdine W 72-61
11/26/14 N. Illinois W 70-49
11/29/14 Longwood W 77-44
12/03/14 at N. Carolina W 60-55
12/06/14 Md. Baltimore Co. W 77-47
12/09/14 Alcorn State W 67-44
12/12/14 Iowa State L 90-75
12/20/14 N. Iowa* L 56-44
12/22/14 N. Florida W 80-70
12/30/14 at Ohio State W 71-65
01/05/15 Nebraska W 70-59
01/08/15 Michigan St. L 75-61
01/13/15 at Minnesota W 77-75
01/17/15 Ohio State W 76-67
01/20/15 at Wisconsin L 82-50
01/24/15 at Purdue L 67-63
01/31/15 Wisconsin L 74-63
02/05/15 at Michigan W 72-54
02/08/15 Maryland W 71-55
02/12/15 Minnesota L 64-59
02/15/15 at Northwestern L 66-61
02/19/15 Rutgers W 81-47
02/22/15 at Nebraska W 74-46
02/25/15 Illinois W 68-60
02/28/15 at Penn State W 81-77
03/03/15 at Indiana W 77-63
03/07/15 Northwestern W 69-52
03/12/15 Penn State (BTT) L 67-58
03/20/15 Davidson (NCAA) W 83-52
03/22/15 Gonzaga (NCAA) L 87-68
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Hawkeyes bowl history

1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28