WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Iowa’s football program cleared another hurdle on the road to recovery Saturday, but the Hawkeyes weren’t overly impressed.
A 38-14 win at Purdue gave Iowa its sixth win of the season, making the Hawkeyes bowl eligible for the 11th time in the last 13 seasons.
“It’s always good to win, but we want more,’’ linebacker James Morris said. “I don’t think this takes any pressure off of our shoulders or anything like that, If we felt that way, I think there might be a tendency to relax or let up. We don’t want that to happen.’’
Coach Kirk Ferentz only briefly discussed the big-picture possibilities with his team last week, preferring to keep the focus on the field and not on what could transpire.
Still, he conceded that having the chance to reach another milestone that helps put last season’s 4-8 record in the rearview mirror.
“It was less than 12 months ago that we were sitting home,’’ Ferentz said. “I can only stand sitting in front of the fireplace at home for so long. The best part for me has always been having the chance to keep the team together for another month and to continue working.’’
First-year starting quarterback Jake Rudock understands the benefits of that as well.
“It’s beneficial for everyone,’’ Rudock said. “The extra practices, those are important and it certainly beats the alternative. This team has been working since last November to put what happened last season behind it, and this is another step in that process.’’
After a bye week, the Hawkeyes conclude the regular season with games against Michigan and at Nebraska.
“It’s good to be eligible, but it’s not our end game,’’ Ferentz said. “It is one nice by-product of winning. That’s not something we take for granted. It’s great to get that accomplished. We’ll re-group a little bit and get ready for our last two.’’
That has been the objective all along.
Rudock said the team talked following the loss to Wisconsin about making the most of its final three regular-season games.
“We’re all happy to get to six, but we went into this game know that is as good as it could be,’’ Rudock said. “Now, we can start preparing for the next two and see what we can do to add to it. That’s the exciting part, to see what we can make out of the rest of the games that we have left on our schedule.’’