Kirk Ferentz felt like today's Iowa-Wisconsin matchup was an outstanding game for the first 50 minutes, but the Hawkeyes could not finish and the Badgers did, pulling away for a 28-9 victory. After the game, Ferentz talked about what went wrong for Iowa, quarterback Jake Rudock having to leave the game with an injury, how C.J. Beathard did replacing him, and much more.
First of all, just two things, congratulations to Wisconsin on the victory. And secondly, I just want to thank our fans. I thought the stadium we knew it would be pretty electric when we got in there, and it certainly was. It was an outstanding football game from our perspective for at least 50 minutes. But we couldn't finish the game. They did a heck of a job doing that. They're a very good football team. I thought our guys competed hard, played hard. Theirs did as well. And bottom line is we just didn't play well enough to get the victory. And some of the things that happened early in the ballgame really came back to make it tough for us in this fourth quarter.
Q. The first quarter you had a chance?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: We had a pretty good field position. We had the wind behind us and ended up with three points. And I think the first half, came down to us being in the red zone twice, not being able to come out with the touchdown, and had a couple of self-inflicted wounds on both possessions.
And the flip side is we gave up the one drive. And to their credit they hit two good runs on us and a great pass. Looking back, they're going to make some plays. These guys have been scoring a lot of points, moving the ball. And we had that opportunity to be down there and come away with touchdowns, to come up short it was a big factor in the game.
Q. What happened to Jake there at the interception, and how do you feel C.J. was able to handle it?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: I think C.J. did a fine job. It's a tough situation to go into. We're not in a desperation mode, but it's a pretty uphill climb at that point, and playing against an excellent defensive football team. It's a tough way to go. He's been practicing well, and I thought he did a good job out there, given the circumstances.
Jake got twisted around there a little bit, so he's got a sprain, and it didn't seem like a good idea to put him back in. He could have gone back in, but it didn't seem smart to put him back in at that point.
Q. If you're pinpointing anything offensive, to help you guys in those situations, is it on the ground, through the air, what can you identify there?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: It was tough to run the ball today for us. And it was really tough for them, too, for about 45, 50 minutes. That's going to happen sometimes. Defense is - there are still some people playing defense. And both teams were playing really good defense for 50 minutes today. Obviously I'd like to have run the ball better, I wish we could have, and would have been more productive. But they made it tough on us.
But I think the big thing is when you play a team like that, they're an excellent football team, and you get that opportunity down in there, we had a drop that you never know what's going to happen, and it didn't help you. And then with a couple of penalties on the other possession. When you play a team that's very tough it makes it tough on you, if you make it tougher on yourself, it's just not a good thing. And that's probably the lesson we're going to have to learn if we're going to push it up over the top here.
Q. The last play in the first quarter, you had the wind at your back, you pushed out your punt team. Were there any doubts of making a field goal?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: Not really. The percentages weren't great there. So not really. And really our thought process, we were playing pretty good field position at that point, the way the game was going. If we could give them a long field, I thought that was our best deal. But you can go back and look at that one, and flip a coin, I guess.
Q. Is it possible for Canzeri to become more in the picture?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, just - he's been practicing, as I've said. Going back to last fall, even though coming off an injury, in the spring and summer, it's hard to get four backs in the game, really hard.
Maybe some people are doing it, I'm not sure they are. Mark was nicked up today and couldn't finish the game. So the other thought was there to just maybe give Jordan a chance to give us a spark, which he did, he made a really nice run, and hopefully we can get him integrated. But it's tough when you've got four guys.
Q. Seemed like defense played well enough to win the game, do you feel the same way?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: Well, they did, because you've got to hold them to five there when we had six. But they played well, they really played well. That's what I was referring to a minute ago, seemed like for 50 minutes we really played the way you want to. We did give up the one drive in that are first half. You play a team like that, we're going to get some action too, they were a good football team. I thought we were competing hard. That team has got great statistics in terms of yardage, and points per game. And we were competing very well with them.
Again, I don't think we're that far away, it's hardly a hopeless case here. But we still have to finish a game on defense and then, again, I go back to the offensive part of things, if you're going to play teams like that, you're going to have to, when you get down in there you've got to come away with points, field goals or better than nothing, but they're not going to win in a game like this.
Q. What are the biggest offensive hurdles to climb to get to the point where you can score points in the second half?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: I'm not so sure, we weren't exactly ringing them up there in the first half, either. So today it wasn't one of those deals as much. But I'm kind of fixated on the two times we're down there in the first half. We weren't detailed enough to get it done. But they made it tough on us, they're a good defensive football team.
Q. Was part of the game plan to get the tight ends involved in the receiving game, that Wisconsin just wasn't letting it happen?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: Well, that's part of our plan every week. To their credit they did a good job. They made it hard for us, we weren't moving the ball consistently, we weren't throwing or running with great proficiency, that's a credit to them. There's been a lot of talk about their offense coming into the game. And I looked at their defensive stats and more importantly you watch their tape, and it's not like people were getting a lot of points off these guys. They're a good defensive football team. Utah State was a good defensive team a year ago. Watching them against Wisconsin, they held Wisconsin to 16 last year. You take a good coaching staff and good players, that's what happens.
Q. Did you see anything different about Jake?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: I'm not sure we helped him enough. It's better if we can get the running game going, certainly. And our protection could have been better, too. Offense is such a team thing, typically. Unless you've just got one guy that can run around or you can throw it up and just have one guy catches it, circus catches. There aren't many of those players out there so it's usually a team thing, and that's one thing we'll continue to work at. I don't think we're that far away.
Q. The interception were costly.
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, their pressure, and when the ball goes up in the air that's not a good thing, ever. It's a good thing if you're on defense. But we were 0-for-2 on those.
Q. You said Jake is okay.
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: I think he'll be fine. I think he and Mark both should be back with us on Tuesday. Jake could have gone back in the game, but it didn't seem a prudent thing to do at that point.
Q. Brian made a comment on social media, about the experience, do you know what he meant by that?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: You know how much I love the social media, and that's probably a good illustration. And I don't want to speak for him, but to me lacking would be - it's kind of like our facilities right now, we've got as good indoor practice facility as you're going to find. And I think nationally, in next July, you'll say that about our entire facilities. We're kind of going through that with our stadium a little bit. We go into venues where the sound system and the scoreboards are pretty good. And we got the first phase up right now, the scoreboards are outstanding. And a year from now the sound system will be I think where we all want it to be. And to me I think it's just a matter of us trying to be where everybody else is at, not everybody, but we go into some tough venues and make it even better. That's no suggestion that our fans aren't into it. And that's no suggestion it's our job to generate the electricity and energy, Iowa fans have been great forever and will continue to be so.
Q. Did he run that past you?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: I told you I'm not a big fan of social media. I'm not sure it came out the way he wanted it to, quite frankly, or anybody wanted it to. If that's the case, I apologize as the guy in charge of the program. It will be better. It will be better when we play better, too. It was pretty darned good in there today.
Q. Was it the music, the band?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: Just in general. You guys are on the road with us, you go into different stadiums. Our goal is to amp it up a little bit more. We're on that path right now, we'll be there next September.
Q. Would you prefer that he not Tweet that or do you really care?
HEAD COACH FERENTZ: I think I know what his intentions were. And I'm okay with those, I'm not sure it came out if he was trying to start a fire storm, which apparently it did.