Close your eyes. It’s Week 8 of Iowa’s football season. Cade McNamara, Erick All and Luke Lachey are out for the season most likely. And the team is 6-1 — with the least yards per game in the entire country.
The Hawkeyes have an unmatched resiliency, a will to win by any means possible. As long as the vehicle gets from point A to point B, who cares how pretty the car is? That’s something the Iowa players accredit head coach Kirk Ferentz for.
“It starts with Coach Ferentz,” center Logan Jones said. “He talks about in the meeting rooms it’s always next man up and that story that you hear. There’s an opportunity out there for a lot of guys.”
“We’ve had some guys go down, so the coaching staff here is really big on resilience,” Deacon Hill said. “You always hear about the next man up stories, and we’ve had a lot of this year.”
The Hawkeyes defense has now vaulted up all the way into the top ten in points allowed per game. A six-point defensive masterclass against Wisconsin is a huge reason why the Hawkeyes are on a three-game win streak, and shows that the statistics are irrelevant.
“People may not like the way we play the game and the way we find a way to win,” cornerback Cooper DeJean said. “That’s Iowa football and that’s how we’re going to play.”
“At the end of the day it’s who scored more points,” Leshon Williams said. “So at the end of the day, that’s our goal. Anybody go over football score more points. Whoever’s complaining about anything else, it really doesn’t matter — we’re still winning.”
“It’s responding. And our players are smart. They know what’s going on. They know what our challenges are. They know what things looked like in August, what they look like now,” Ferentz said.
“But as much as everybody wants to predict the future, you just can’t do that. You never know how seasons are going to go, what turns are going to be taken, who is going to be in, who is going to be out.”
“And if you have a true team, guys just work with the circumstances and situation, and they stay together. And, hey, if this path is not going to work, let’s try this one, try that one.”
“There’s a lot of ways to win football games. That’s been the theme for 20-some years. We’re just trying to find a way to win. That’s really what the game’s about. If you can come out victorious on Saturday and do it over and over you can feel good about things.”
Iowa’s become a one-armed boxer that just continues to win weekly fist fights. It’s hard to wrap your brain around, but if they can beat Minnesota — which they’ve done each of the last eight times, they’ll be 7-1 adding it to their bye week. And not many teams with an offense can say that. It doesn’t make sense — but that’s Iowa football in a nutshell.