Ferentz, Iowa stumbling as Big Ten play arrives

Associated Press Published: September 26, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz shook up his staff in the offseason because he believed back-to-back 4-4 finishes in the Big Ten simply weren't good enough.

Right now the Hawkeyes don't look like they can finish anywhere near .500 in the league.

Iowa's slow descent into mediocrity began just a few short weeks after Ferentz signed a 10-year contract extension ahead of the 2010 opener. It sped up on Saturday when Central Michigan scored nine points in the last 45 seconds for a 32-31 victory.

The Hawkeyes (2-2) on Saturday host Minnesota, which is off to a surprising 4-0 start.

Iowa doesn't just need the Floyd of Rosedale trophy back from the Gophers. The Hawkeyes need to reclaim the bronze pig and their confidence after one of the most stunning collapses in Ferentz's 14-year tenure.

"You have to get on your feet. Somehow, some way, you have to learn from what happened," Ferentz said. "We had a lot to discuss on Sunday. But once that's over, you have to move on."

The Chippewas scored a touchdown, missed a two-point conversion, recovered an onside kick and hit a 47-yard game-winning field goal in under a minute. But the Hawkeyes put themselves in position to be stunned with a litany of mistakes that good teams simply don't make.

Iowa committed at least four personal fouls — including a critical call on defensive lineman Joe Gaglione that put Central Michigan in line for the winning kick. The Hawkeyes also looked "frozen" on two onside kicks by the Chippewas, at least according to Ferentz, and they got their signals crossed on whether to go for a first down or kick the go-ahead field goal with just over eight minutes left.

Mike Meyer ultimately connected on the kick, a beautiful 46-yarder into a stiff wind that reaffirmed his status as one of the Big Ten's best special teams players. But that it came after such a stretch of confusion — at home, no less — speaks to how disjointed Iowa has looked this season.

Iowa made changes at nearly ever coaching spot under Ferentz, including both coordinators. But Ferentz staunchly defended his staff in the wake of last week's performance.

"I'm happy with our staff. But I'm not happy we're 2-2. Nobody is," Ferentz said.

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