BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — If Iowa can’t beat Central Michigan, and if the Hawkeyes can’t beat an Indiana outfit that had just one Big Ten Conference victory before last weekend, then how can they expect to win at Michigan or even at home against Nebraska?
That’s the precarious position in which the slumping Iowa football program finds itself after a 24-21 loss against the Hoosiers at a half-full Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The 4-5 Hawkeyes must beat league-winless Purdue in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Kinnick Stadium just to be in an iffy position to avoid only the third sub-.500 season since coach Kirk Ferentz took control of the program in 1999.
Even if Iowa squirms out of its current three-game losing streak, the Hawkeyes still must face 6-3 Michigan at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., before finishing the season with a home date against 7-2 Nebraska on Nov. 23.
Maybe next season — unless Iowa beats the hapless Boilermakers, and then follows that with an upset, either on the road or at home.
By then, Black Friday could have an alternative meaning.
“I told our guys when the Big Ten season started that I thought we could win any game or lose any game on our schedule,” Ferentz said Saturday. “We clearly have work to do right now, but I haven’t changed my opinion.
“We have three games scheduled. That’s our mode of operation.”
Young team. Injuries, especially to offensive linemen and running backs.
An offense that performed better under the former, much-criticized coordinator than under its new one.
Penalties — three in Saturday’s first quarter. Dropped passes. An interception in the end zone.
Where to look for areas to shore up?
“Everybody needs to improve,” center James Ferentz said.
Or else the Hawkeyes miss out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007.
“With the whole bowl-eligible (situation) … it’s nice to go to a bowl,” defensive tackle Steve Bigach said. “It gives your team extra time to practice and develop young guys.
“It’s a reward at the end of the season, but if you talk to football players, the reason you play the game is for the camaraderie — (for) the brotherhood of your teammates and the coaching staff and everybody coming together.
“That’s something you can’t put a price on.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football