Hawkeyes focused on putting Wolverines behind them

The Iowa offense struggled in its loss to Michigan, and the team is focused on moving on from that game quickly as it prepares for another tough Big Ten opponent.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley drops back during a football game between Iowa and Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 5, 2019.

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

After dropping an ugly, tightly-contested game this past weekend against Michigan, the matchup won’t be any easier for the Iowa football team this week.

No. 10 Penn State will face off against the Hawkeyes in Week 7, but the Nittany Lions won’t be the only challenge for Iowa. For the first time this season, Iowa is looking to bounce back coming off of a loss.

The team is focused on moving past what happened in the Michigan game and setting its sights on the next challenging Big Ten opponent on the schedule.

“I think it’s the same as when you win,” fullback Brady Ross said. “Look at the film on Sunday, and then you learn from it, and then you’re on to the next week. As players, there’s no time to sit around and sulk in defeat. That’s just going to guarantee that you have more than one [loss].”

The film wasn’t pretty, but it offered a glimpse into what stopped Iowa — particularly on offense — from executing against the Wolverines. The good thing for Iowa, and possibly the most frustrating thing, is that most of the Hawkeyes’ errors were self-inflicted.

“I think we had five, six drives that ended in between the 40 and the 35-yard line,” quarterback Nate Stanley said. “Just barely out of field goal range. We pushed ourselves back with penalties and sacks. We feel like we were close, we moved the ball in other areas of the field, but we just kind of stalled ourselves out when we got down on their side of the field.”

The Michigan defense found a lot of success against the Iowa offense. The Wolverines sacked Stanley eight times, and suffocated the Hawkeyes in the running game, allowing only a single yard.

The offensive line will have its hands full yet again this week. Penn State has had success getting to the quarterback this season, leading the nation with 25 sacks.

To Stanley, the tough matchup against the Nittany Lions is exactly what Iowa needs to get back on track.

“That’s honestly the best thing that could have happened for us,” he said. “We know that these guys are a great defense, they are tops in the nation in a lot of statistical categories. We know that there’s no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves.”

Penn State quarterback presents challenge

Nittany Lion quarterback Sean Clifford has exceeded all expectations as the successor to Trace McSorley as Penn State’s signal-caller.

Clifford has 1,443 yards passing and 12 touchdowns through the air in five games this season, and he will present a challenge to the Iowa defense.

“I can’t say enough good things about him,” defensive back Geno Stone said. “He’s really shown a lot of improvement. They’ve put up big points throwing the ball, gaining a lot of yards throwing the ball. We know what type of team this is, so trying to contain them as a defense is going to be a hard thing to do, but I think we’ll be able to do it.”

After McSorley continuously found ways to beat Iowa, the Hawkeyes hope it won’t be the same story this year, even though Clifford has continued Penn State’s solid play.

“Seems like things are going right along,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s what you want your quarterback to do is to lead the offense first and foremost.”

Night game at Kinnick

The Penn State-Iowa matchup will kick off at 6:30 at Kinnick, making the highly-anticipated matchup even bigger as a night game.

It will be an electric environment for all involved, and Iowa knows that.

“You can always feel a little bit extra there [at night],” Ross said. “I’ve played in a handful of them, and it’s fun. I’ve never done it as a visitor, luckily. I think it’s a really good environment, no matter who you are you like playing in that stuff. Sometimes it’s more fun to be in an environment where everyone hates you. But that’s just my twisted opinion.”

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