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Will ‘Iowa swagger’ return to well-rested football team?

[ 16 ] December 21, 2010 |

Tempe, Ariz. — Is one month enough time to reverse the Iowa football team’s fortunes?

The Hawkeyes landed in Tempe, Ariz., this week, hoping to end a three-game losing streak by beating No. 14 Missouri in the Insight Bowl.

The Dec. 28 kickoff will come 31 days after a humbling 27-24 loss at Minnesota.

Iowa football players arrive at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Monday. The Hawkeyes hope to break a three-game losing streak in Dec. 28's Insight Bowl against Missouri. (Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic)

“I think it’s a chance for us to get back the Iowa swagger,” offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde said after losing to the Gophers. “It’s going to be a month where we’re really going to have to buckle down and get back to what Iowa does, which is basics, the fundamentals, working hard every day.”

November’s momentum doesn’t always carry over to December.

In 2002, the Hawkeyes entered the Orange Bowl on a nine-game winning streak, but fell to Southern California 38-17.

“We didn’t give ourselves any chance to win in that first Orange Bowl,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Program-wise, I hope we’ve learned from that.”

In 2001, Iowa entered the Alamo Bowl having lost three of five games — including a 17-14 defeat at Iowa State — but defeated Texas Tech 19-16.

Even after losing five of six games at the end of 2006, the Hawkeyes nearly upset defending national champion Texas in the Alamo Bowl, eventually losing 26-24.

How is Ferentz’s team responding this time?

“I can only base it on the practices we’ve had thus far,” Ferentz said. “The practices have been great. We’ve got some work to do to get caught up to these guys.”

Missouri, listed as a slight favorite in the bowl, averages 30.3 points per game, while holding opponents to 15.2 points.

The Tigers (10-2) will challenge Iowa with a spread offense and a speedy, attacking defense.

The way Vandervelde sees it, bowl preparations should include a little self evaluation.

“We need to (focus) on what we do as a team to clean ourselves up, position by position, unit by unit, and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes,” Vandervelde said. “We just haven’t been learning fast enough from our mistakes.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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