IOWA CITY – Penalties, turnovers, lapses in execution, Kirk Ferentz had no shortage of reasons to get his Iowa football team’s attention when the Hawkeyes gathered Sunday.
There was also another attention-grabbing reason – this is Iowa-Iowa State week.
The Hawkeyes and Cyclones renew acquaintances Saturday at 5 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium, where both teams will be looking to avoid their second loss of the young season.
Iowa rebounded from a season-opening setback to Northern Illinois by overcoming an inconsistent, penalty-filled performance in defeating Missouri State 28-14 on Saturday, while Iowa State hasn’t played since dropping its Aug. 31 season opener to Northern Iowa.
“There’s a lot at stake,’’ Iowa safety Tanner Miller said. “We’ve got a lot to clean up and get better at, but it is Iowa State week and that usually gets everybody’s focus. They’ve gotten us the last two years and as a senior, I don’t want to go out with another loss to those guys.’’
The Cyclones won a 9-6 decision at Kinnick Stadium a year ago and on Sunday, odds makers installed the Hawkeyes as a three-point favorite in this year’s match-up.
Mostly, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz wants to see growth from a team which was penalized 11 times for 100 yards on Saturday, failed to score twice after moving the ball inside the Missouri State 8-yard line and gave up a pick-six to give the Bears life in the fourth quarter.
It was an effort which belied the old adage that a team makes it greatest improvements between its first and second games.
“I hope that’s not true today,’’ Ferentz said. “… I thought we had a good week of preparation, but it didn’t show up. We’re going to just keep pushing.’’
Quarterback Jake Rudock said that becomes easier knowing that Iowa State is next on the schedule.
“I’ve been around here for a couple of years now and I get it,’’ Rudock said. “When Iowa State comes up on the schedule, it gets your attention.’’
Minutes after Saturday’s game, it already had the attention of defensive tackle Carl Davis.
“When I first came here, I didn’t know about the rivalry too much, but now I’m excited to play in it,’’ Davis said. “They’re a good opponent, in-state rivals. We’ve got to go get a trophy. I want to go over there and pick it up.’’