PREACHING PATIENCE: The postgame message of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz to his team was pretty simple.
“There are still 11 games and 13 weeks in front of us and how we deal with those will define our season,’’ Ferentz said following Saturday’s 30-27 loss to Northern Illinois. “This was one game. We’ll watch tape and go back to work. I thought we played hard, competed hard, which doesn’t make this any easier, but we move on.’’
Iowa linebacker James Morris said that is the only approach the Hawkeyes can take and he was in no mood to compare what happened Saturday to what transpired in 2012 when Iowa finished 4-8.
“Last year was last year. This year is this year,’’ Morris said. “This is a new season and now, it’s up to those of us who have been around to show the younger guys how to learn from this and move forward.’’
HOT TIME: Iowa and Northern Illinois ran a combined 163 plays on Saturday, splitting them almost evenly.
The Hawkeyes ran 80 plays, averaging 5.7 yards per snap, while the Huskies averaged 5.3 yards on 83 plays in a game which started with a temperature of 86 degrees at kickoff.
“I felt like our conditioning was good. I felt we held up,’’ linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. “We needed a couple of stops we didn’t make, but that is something we’ll learn from it.’’
DEBUTS: Six Hawkeyes made their first career starts, quarterback Jake Rudock and wide receiver Don Shumpert on offense and four players on defense, end Drew Ott, tackle Carl Davis, strong safety John Lowdermilk and defensive back Jordan Lomax.
The Hawkeyes’ Damond Powell made his debut at receiver. The junior college transfer showed his speed, catching one pass for a 49-yard game.
Cornerback Desmond King was the only true freshman to see the field.
QUICK START: Iowa’s 24 first-half points were the most since Iowa scored 24 against Minnesota during the first half of a win against the Gophers last September.
EARLY EXIT: After catching touchdown passes of 40 and 21 yards in the first half, Northern Illinois receiver Tommylee Lewis watched much of the second half from the sidelines with an injured left foot.
Lewis exited the game less than 20 seconds into the third quarter and did not return.
NIU Coach Rod Carey said following the game he did not know the extent of the injury.
PLENTY OF HONORS: The three living members among the inaugural group of nine former Hawkeyes named to the Kinnick Stadium Wall of Honor and the six individuals named to the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame were honored Saturday.
All-American football players Brad Banks and Craig Clemons, all-American gymnast Sam Bailie, women’s basketball Big Ten player of the year Franthea Price, women’s track all-American Jennifer Brower-McNutt and Big Ten women’s golf coach of the year Diane Thomason were recognized as the 25th induction class to the school’s athletics hall of fame.
READY TO PLAY: The three Wall of Honor honorees who were in attendance — Chuck Long, Larry Station and Randy Duncan —took a few bows on the field before the game. Station, an All-American linebacker on the 1985 Rose Bowl team, admitted that he felt the urge to get out on the field and play even though he is now 49.
“I would like to actually after I saw (Northern Illinois) drive down the field,’’ Station told reporters during the first half. “It was like ‘Come on, you’ve got to step it up.’
“I feel in my heart I would like to play but physically, I’d only last maybe a series before I go into traction. Maybe two series. Maybe a half. Whatever is necessary to win, basically.’’
MORE YARDS, BUT ...: Iowa ended up outgaining Northern Illinois 458-438, but you almost as though there should be an asterisk next to that. The Hawkeyes gained 38 yards on the final snap of the game – a short pass followed by a series of laterals with four NIU defensive backs standing 50 yards downfield.
MORE TIME, TOO: The Hawkeyes also won the time of possession battle 30:40 to 29:20, but in the second half the Huskies had the edge, 18:08 to 11:52.
“Our defense was just doing a good job of getting off the field,’’ NIU coach Rod Carey said. “I kind of think that’s the most overrated statistic in football anyway. When you defense is getting off the field, that’s what you pay attention to.’’
-- Steve Batterson and Don Doxsie