TAMPA, Fla. — It is a story being told for the fourth time in the 15 seasons Kirk Ferentz has been Iowa’s football coach.
The story that says the plodders from the Midwest stand no chance against the speed and athleticism of the Southeastern Conference.
Virtually every national prognosticator picks No. 14 LSU to handle Iowa in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday at Raymond James Stadium.
“We don’t always have the most athletic football players,” Iowa defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat said. “Our guys are more hardworking, guys that put our foot in the ground and do the dirty work. We play as a team. All those little things add up.”
Ferentz is 3-1 against SEC opponents in bowl games. Iowa defeated No. 15 Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl, 37-17; beat No. 11 LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl, 30-25; lost to No. 16 Florida in the 2006 Outback Bowl, 31-24; and beat South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl, 31-10. Iowa was favored in just one of those games, against South Carolina.
Ferentz has called the improvement of the defensive line the brightest spot in this overachieving 8-4 season.
“To hear that is great,” Trinca-Pasat said. “I think coach (Reese) Morgan did a great job of getting us prepared every single game and keeping us motivated. I think we’ve got a good group of guys. We have good chemistry. And we keep each other hungry.”
Trinca-Pasat and the other three starters in the front four — tackle Carl Davis and ends Drew Ott and Mike Hardy — all return next season.
Trinca-Pasat had seven tackles for a loss and 1 1/2 sacks this season. He also had one of the biggest tackles of the season, tracking down Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter short of the first-down marker on fourth down to clinch a 17-10 overtime victory on Oct. 26.
“It was a big play for me,” the junior from Chicago said. “But I think the highlight for us was just finishing off the season as an 8-4 team, being able to finish strong (four wins in the last five games) and prove others wrong. People were saying we were going to go 6-6, or not have a good season.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football