IOWA CITY, Iowa (WHBF) — 42-3.
That was the final score of the Big Ten championship game last season, with the Iowa Hawkeyes on the wrong side of it.
“None of us felt very good that day, that’s for sure.” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz recollected.
Last year’s Big Ten West champions ran into a Michigan team on a war path to the college football playoffs. Iowa’s attack was no match for a Wolverine defense loaded with pro talent, including 2022 #2 pick Aidan Hutchinson.
“They kicked our [expletive] pretty good” Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras deadpanned. “I know anyone that was on the team last year remembers that game and just how [expletive] it felt to just get killed.”
And a proud defense that had not surrendered more than 27 points in 2021 gave up nearly 500 yards of offense. So, how can the Hawkeyes prevent history from repeating itself? Defensive back Kaevon Merriweather says limiting chunk plays would go a long way.
“We gave up seven or eight big plays last year and we try to limit those to zero — to none,” Merriweather said. “That’s not how we play football. It’s not something that coach Parker preaches or harps on. This upcoming weekend definitely — I wouldn’t say a revenge game, but we want to play way better than we played last year.”
For head coach Kirk Ferentz this answer is starting fast and not letting matters spiral out of control early on.
“If you aren’t on top of things and you give up a couple of big plays, all of a sudden, the hill gets pretty steep,” Ferentz said. “And when you’re trying to ascend a hill like that against a team that’s that talented it’s tough.”
Spencer Petras is just preaching that this game is unlike last year’s matchup. What happened at Lucas Oil Stadium doesn’t have to happen at Kinnick Stadium. Two different teams, two different battles.
“It’s a totally new year,” Petras said. “It’s a new team for both of us and they beat us pretty bad, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to do the same this week. We control how this game goes.”
“If we play our best football, then we’re going to like the results we get.”