Dolphin: Iowa "Very Confident" Heading To Ann Arbor

The Hawkeyes fully expect to beat Michigan on the road this weekend

JRSportBrief
October 04, 2019 - 12:24 am
Kirk Ferentz Iowa

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Ever since losing to Wisconsin, No. 19 Michigan (4-0) has dominated much of the Big Ten chatter, as Jim Harbaugh and the program are seemingly at a crossroads. 

Well, Michigan had better put Wisconsin in the rearview mirror because No. 14 Iowa (4-0) comes to town this Saturday.

“This is a very confident Iowa team heading to Ann Arbor,” Iowa radio play-by-play voice Gary Dolphin said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They’re playing well on offense. The defense has been solid, if not spectacular, and I think they’ll turn it up a notch or two starting this Saturday morning.”

Quarterback Nate Stanley has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 965 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Three running backs – Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young and Tyler Goodson – have rushed for over 200 yards, and four difference receivers have caught touchdowns.

“They’re much more multi-dimensional on offense,” Dolphin said. “This is without question the deepest, most talented receiving corps. Isn’t it ironic that they lose two tight ends in the first round last spring? But they’ve got four or five receivers that have all had terrific games in the non-conference.”

Iowa, which went 9-5 last year, has opened the season with wins over Miami of Ohio, Rutgers, Iowa State, and Middle Tennessee. Kirk Ferentz, though, has bigger fish to fry. He wants to get back to Indianapolis, where the Hawkeyes last played for a Big Ten title in 2015.

“He’s as classy a coach as he is a good coach,” Dolphin said. “He’s been consistent. He doesn’t compromise his values. He doesn’t promise these young guys anything when they come here. He tells them, ‘We’re going to build you from a strength and conditioning perspective. We’re going to put you in a good position to be successful each and every week. You’re going to get your degree when you leave Iowa, and you’re going to be successful in your life, whether it’s in football beyond college or running a corporation.’ Kids buy into it, and it’s worked for Kirk.”

While it’s still early, the Big Ten West division could hinge on Iowa’s showdown with No. 8 Wisconsin (4-0) on Nov. 9.

“It could, but the bigger deal is this Saturday,” Dolphin said. “If you win Saturday, now you’re 5-0. Now you’re elevated into a potential New Year’s Six bowl. At least you’re in the conversation, and it starts in Ann Arbor. You know Kirk Ferentz: He doesn’t look past his nose, but I can promise you if the Hawkeyes get to Madison with zero losses, they’re going to be an awfully highly rated team because that means you’ll have beaten teams like Michigan, like Penn State. You certainly aren’t assuming anything, but that’s the Big Ten every week. It just happens that Iowa’s tough games this year, most of them are on the road. It’s a gauntlet, but the Hawks have never been intimidated on the road. I don’t see that happening at all this year, either.”