Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz loves talking about “complementary football,” which essentially refers to cohesion between the offense, defense and special teams.
There hasn’t been a better display of this than in Iowa’s win over Purdue, which Ferentz noted “was good complementary football.” No area of the team left the Hawkeyes behind in their 24-3 victory over the Boilermakers. The offense has now scored three touchdowns in back-to-back weeks for back-to-back Big Ten wins.
But quarterback Spencer Petras remembers when times were different… not too long ago.
“No offense to anyone in here but you guys had us dead two weeks ago,” Petras recalled. “We couldn’t do anything right — as did the whole outside world it felt like. But that’s not football, it’s a week-to-week game. You keep working and if you do things right and work hard then good results happen.”
Petras only had three passing touchdowns coming into the game, and almost doubled it by throwing two over a five minute span in the second quarter. Iowa’s offense totaled 258 yards and 17 points in the first half, before windy conditions prompted the Hawkeyes to go run-heavy in the second half. Petras finished the day completing 13 of his 23 pass attempts for 192 yards.
A reporter asked Petras why the offense didn’t “pack it in” and give up after that 54-10 massacre in Columbus.
“You’re a coward if you want to just pack it in and give up, and I don’t think we have any cowards on our team,” Petras said. “As hard as it gets sometimes you keep pushing through.”
Senior cornerback and team captain Riley Moss has had his offense’s back numerous time this year, as the leaders on the defense have. He talked about why he continued to defend his teammates on that side of the ball.
“Our entire thought process with the offense is we’ve kept trust in everyone,” Moss said. “Ohio State — we trusted them through the highs and lows, and I think that’s how a team can be successful going to every week, trusting that the other phases are going to do their job.”
Head coach Kirk Ferentz reflected on what his message has been during the tougher times, besides “that’s football”.
“Our problems are well documented and more than well rehashed,” Ferentz admitted. “Our only choice is to keep working as I’ve been saying each and every Saturday and every Tuesday. That’s all I know in sports or life. You go back to the drawing board and make sure you get the right people working and then hopefully give them a good plan. There’s no way to predict these last two weeks would have come out the way they did, but they did.”
And since that low point in Columbus, Iowa now sits at 5-4, needing just one more win to clinch a bowl game. The regular season wraps up with three trophy games, beginning with Wisconsin on Saturday, followed by Minnesota and Nebraska.