Iowa has one less day to prepare for its season-ending game against No. 22 Nebraska, and that’s fine with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa (7-4, 4-3) and Nebraska (8-3, 4-3) kickoff at 11 a.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our guys to play,” Ferentz said. “It’s a good thing for us. We’re excited to get invited to the party. It’s a great deal.”
Nebraska has played on the Friday after Thanksgiving for 21 straight seasons, first against Oklahoma, then against Colorado while a member of the Big 12.
The game will be shown to a national audience on ABC.
“It gives us a chance to be in the national spotlight, which how can that be a bad thing unless we go out there and play bad,” Ferentz said.
The short week also helps Ferentz keep his team zeroed in on football.
The Hawkeyes had to play Thanksgiving week last season, and Ferentz said the team might have lost its focus going home on Thursday for turkey dinner. On Saturday, Iowa lost at Minnesota 27-24.
“I thought we lost our focus somewhere from the time we left practice Thursday,” Ferentz said. “That’s why I really supported the idea of playing Friday.”
With the game set for Friday, the team won’t get a day off during the week. Instead, players and coaches will celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday.
“The players will be off once the game is over,” Ferentz said. “They can do whatever they’re going to do.”
McCALL OUT: Freshman Mika’il McCall has been suspended for at least one game by Ferentz for violating team policy.
“Mika’il McCall will not be making the trip,” Ferentz said. “He violated a team policy and will not be with the team this week.”
Ferentz didn’t go into more specifics, but said it was something he learned about after the Purdue game.
McCall got two carries at Purdue after sitting out the previous nine games with an injury he suffered in the season-opener.
Ferentz did not know if McCall would be suspended for more than this week.
“Haven’t made that decision yet,” Ferentz said. “We’ll just take it a week at a time right now.”
MYSTERY SACK: Senior defensive tackle Mike Daniels wasn’t aware that the Purdue statisticians had given one of his three sacks on Saturday to cornerback B.J. Lowery by mistake.
“It’s not something I pay attention to anyway,” Daniels said. “Its good to know that there are people here that are looking out for me.”
The mistake was corrected on Monday. Daniels final line on Saturday was a team-high nine tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks.
The Purdue stats crew also missed a rushing attempt by Marcus Coker that was corrected Sunday.
BIG RED SHIFT: Ferentz said Tuesday that Nebraska has slowly started to recruit more in the Big Ten footprint.
“They’ve had such a history in Texas and California, to name two places,” Ferentz said. “I’d imagine they got a lot of good connections. They’ll probably keep that alive as well.”
Friday’s game might influence future recruiting battles. Senior Tyler Nielsen said he remembers the game in 1999 when Nebraska beat Iowa 42-7 in Iowa City. It made an Iowa kid aware of Cornhusker football
“I did (like Nebraska) a little bit, actually,” Nielsen said. “When I came here as a little kid I came and sat in the crowd and watched Nebraska kick the crap out of Iowa.
“I’ve always been aware of Nebraska. But they never recruited me or anything. I always wanted to come to Iowa.”
INJURY REPORT: Freshman running back Jordan Canzeri won’t make the trip to Lincoln, Neb., according to Ferentz. He missed the Purdue game as well.
With McCall also out, that leaves Iowa a short-handed at running back. Ferentz said Jason White and D’Andre Johnson will back up Marcus Coker.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football