It’s endorsement season.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta offered one after watching from the sidelines his team’s 28-17 loss Saturday at Northwestern.
“Obviously, we’re not playing very well right now,” he said while following Hawkeye players and coaches off the field. “We’ll get ready for next week. I have full support for Kirk (Ferentz) and the players.”
Iowa’s records fell to 4-4 in the Big Ten Conference and 2-2 in the Legends Division after consecutive losses by a combined 35 points. The last time the Hawkeyes were outscored by that much in consecutive conference losses was when Indiana and Penn State beat them by a combined 38 in 2007.
“If I’m a fan, if I’m a coach, if I’m a player, and as the athletic director, it’s tough right now,” Barta said. “Right now, the only focus is to get ready to play next week.”
Iowa must go 2-2 in its next four games to meet bowl qualification for the fifth season in a row, a challenging task that begins with Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game at Indiana (3-5, 1-3).
The Hoosiers have a positive mindset after ending a five-game losing streak with their first conference win Saturday, a 31-17 triumph at Illinois.
Indiana played unbeaten Ohio State close before losing 52-49 on Oct. 13 in Bloomington.
“It’s simple,” Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg said after his solid Saturday included completing 24-of-38 passes for 214 yards with zero interceptions when not eluding the Wildcats’ persistent rush. “We’ve got to play better, that’s it.”
Glaring mistakes continued to be dropped passes and shabby tackling.
New mistakes included three delay-of-game penalties — including one while in the hurry-up 2-minute offense — and inadequate quarterback protection from a re-worked line that was facing one of the top sack-hungry teams in the conference.
“We had things rolling a little bit,” said Matt Tobin, moved from left guard to left tackle while replacing injured Brandon Scherff. “But there are things we need to clean up.”
While some teams fine-tune two-thirds into the season, Iowa still tries to learn from mistakes.
“Some things we shouldn’t have let happen,” defensive lineman Louis Trinca-Pasat said.
The last time Iowa lost three conference games in a row was in 2010, against Northwestern, Ohio State and Minnesota. The last time the Hawkeyes didn’t participate in a bowl was in 2007.
“We’re not thinking like that,” Vandenberg said. “What we’re thinking about is Indiana.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football