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Hawkeyes get a 'must win'
October 1, 2012 - Mike Donahey
Only four games into the 2012 season Iowa was confronting a “must win” situation.
Their opponent — undefeated Minnesota. And credit coach Ferentz, staff and team for a decisive 31-13 victory against the Golden Gophers. The pressure was on Iowa to play well and they did.
History was not on Iowa’s side. Minnesota had earned come-from-behind victories against Iowa in their previous two games. And Iowa was still smarting from the improbable 32-31 loss to Central Michigan in Iowa City, no less, the week before. Penalties and the on side kick fiascos doomed the Hawkeyes against the Chippewas, which bears out the sports axiom more games are lost than won. Add the 9-6 loss to Iowa State, also in Iowa City and realizations were present Iowa was rebuilding this season and nobody was saying so. The ISU loss was the first time a Ferentz team picked up an “L” in a game when holding the opposition under 10 points.
And Hawkeye faithful knew they were lucky going into the Minnesota game 2-2 instead of 1-3, as they barely beat Northern Illinois, a team that was superior to Iowa except on the scoreboard. But after capturing Floyd of Rosedale, all is well in Hawkeye land, at least in the short term. They’ve found a tailback in Mark Weisman, offensive coordinator Greg Davis is off the hook after calling some trick plays, the offensive line is jelling and the defense stopped Minnesota cold.
As Ferentz said in the post Minnesota game interview, his squad did not want to be going into a bye week with a two-game losing streak, especially having to play a strong Michigan State team in East Lansing on Oct. 13. However, Iowa still may finish its third straight season 4-4 — or worse — in the Big Ten unless they play well consistently. Northwestern and Michigan are teams that have given Iowa trouble and are on the road. Iowa should beat Indiana at Bloomington. Remaining home games are against Penn State, Purdue and Nebraska, with potential victories against Penn State and Purdue. Iowa will have to be at the top of their game to beat Nebraska.