The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

October 4, 2007

GROB: Ferentz faces big challenge

When you’ve won two Big Ten titles and finished in the nation’s top 10 three times in five years, you’ve earned yourself a little breathing room.

Right now, Kirk Ferentz needs it.

The media geniuses at the postgame press conferences who used to lob softballs at Ferentz are starting to put a little pepper on their pitches. Ferentz’s Hawkeye football team has lost seven straight Big Ten Conference games, and with a contest at Penn State on tap for Saturday, it’s more than likely that number will grow to eight.

Diehard fans who used to look at their pocket schedules and count potential losses are now putting those same schedules under their high-powered spectacles and searching for potential wins.

Circle Saturday, Nov. 17. That’s Western Michigan at home. Iowa should win that one.

Pencil in a question mark next to Minnesota on Nov. 10. They’re the only team in the Big Ten that has looked worse than Iowa so far this year. Since the game is in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes should give the Gophers some problems.

The rest of the teams on the schedule? At this point, I wouldn’t put money on Iowa beating any of them this season.

As always, Ferentz has remained cool and collected. Winning or losing, the coach keeps an even keel.

“We’re just going to keep working hard and do what we can do,” Ferentz said. “We’d be very happy to win the game this week. But it’s going to take a lot of work.”

It’s going to take a lot of work, indeed, and perhaps some divine intervention, because this Iowa team just isn’t very good.

The Hawkeyes are last in the Big Ten in total offense, scoring offense, first downs and third-down conversions. On those rare occasions when he isn’t sacked, quarterback Jake Christensen couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Iowa is just 84th in the nation in passing yards per game.

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