Ferentz: Hawkeyes need to learn how to win

2013-09-04T04:45:00Z 2013-09-04T17:10:32Z Ferentz: Hawkeyes need to learn how to winSteve Batterson The Quad-City Times

IOWA CITY — Fall semester classes at Iowa began last week, but football coach Kirk Ferentz believes his team is ready for finishing school.

“The next step is you have to learn how to win,’’ Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “Looking backward, there were a couple of opportunities Saturday where I felt like we were real close to maybe turning the game, but we just couldn’t quite get it done.’’

As a result, the Hawkeyes opened the season with a 30-27 loss to Northern Illinois which extended Iowa’s ongoing losing streak to seven games.

There were plenty of things to build on.

A sack-free performance from the offensive line which helped Jake Rudock throw for 256 yards. The 202 rushing yards Iowa accumulated. And then there was the strong start to the season by Iowa’s linebackers, including a 13-tackle performance by Anthony Hitchens that Ferentz labeled the best football he has seen the senior play.

There also were areas getting attention on the practice field this week as Iowa works toward its 11 a.m. game Saturday against Missouri State.

Ferentz points to a handful of possessions early in the second half and three costly turnovers as examples of situations where he felt the Hawkeyes were a play or two away from securing the win.

“The turnovers, a false start penalty, not being set on a sneak, a near miss on a long pass, those things come back and hurt you, too,’’ Ferentz said. “The little things add up and that’s kind of the next step that we have to take.’’

Game tapes illustrated to players what Ferentz was talking about.

“It’s down and distance, making a second-and-two play when it’s there instead of trying make a bigger play and getting stood up at the line,’’ running back Damon Bullock said. “It’s a little thing at the time, but it ended a drive.’’

Defensive tackle Carl Davis saw it from the other side of the ball.

“It was third-and-five and I was engaged with a blocker and that allowed the quarterback to slip right past me. It was a play that was there for me to make that I let get away,’’ Davis said. “It’s a split-second difference in making a decision, but at the end of the day the wrong choice can lead to a loss. The margin is that thin.’’

Northern Illinois kicker Mathew Sims reminded the Hawkeyes of that, knocking the game-deciding field goal through from 36 yards with five seconds left in the game.

“It’s a tough lesson to learn, again,’’ safety Tanner Miller said. “But all you can do when it happens is learn from it, go back to work and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’’

Rudock, whose late interception set the Huskies up for their game-winning drive, completed 21-of-37 passes in his collegiate debut.

Ferentz praised Rudock for his awareness of what was taking place on the field and said communication between quarterback, players and coaches was good throughout the game.

Rudock acknowledged that throwing behind the defender led to his final mistake of the game, providing room for growth, but he was pleased with the flow of an offense which piled up 458 yards.

“I’d say we looked very fluid for a first time out,’’ Rudock said. “We did some good things out there, but obviously there are some things to correct.’’

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

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Football schedule

2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota 7 p.m.
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

Past schedules

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


Trophy case: Empty

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