Iowa football: After that beating, all you can do is move forward
No one should be shocked by Iowa falling to Purdue on Saturday — it has happened four out of the past five seasons.
But the way it happened? That’s another story.
“Basically they outdid us in every category,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said after his team’s 24-7 setback at home against the Boilermakers.
Purdue put it a little differently on social media.
We just beat the No. 2 out of Iowa.
— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) October 16, 2021
They are out of line, but they’re right. The Hawkeyes are no stranger to a little trolling after a big win. They can handle it.
“This is a game for mentally tough people. If you’re not mentally tough, you’ll dwell on it and let it fester,” Ferentz said. “Anytime you don’t have success, everybody’s got an opinion about it. So if you’re not careful, you start second-guessing yourself and doubting this or that and whatever.”
“You can waste a lot of time and energy thinking about the past,” said Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras, who had four interceptions in the loss.
“When stuff like this happens you can’t freak out,” Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum said.
“The whole trick is to get your eyes back on what you’re trying to do and work to improve,” Ferentz said. “Not worry about what went wrong.”
And there was a lot that did not go right for the Hawkeyes.
“We’ve done a lot of good over the past seven weeks and a lot of bad — probably most of that today,” Petras said.
Still, while any national championship aspirations were always ambitious for this team — if you weren’t impressed by a win over a No. 4 team with two quarterbacks, you’ll really be underwhelmed by a loss to an unranked team using three — there are still a lot of accomplishments sitting out there for these Hawkeyes.
“Our goals are all in front of us,” Petras said. “One thing we can’t do is be undefeated. Everything else is out there for our taking.”
That includes an elusive Big Ten Championship in the title game era — and there are still three rivalry trophy games to go. And who knows, there is a lot of losing going on among the ranks of the ranked.
“It is hard,” Ferentz said. “That’s why the teams don’t go undefeated too often. That’s everybody. Alabama went down. I’m not comparing us to Alabama by any stretch. But … it’s tough to do.”
So is moving past that first loss since Oct. 31, 2020.
“It’s no fun losing,” Petras said.
“This one’s gonna hurt,” Ferentz said on the Hawkeye Radio Network postgame show. “It should hurt. It’s really a matter of choice now. How we choose to handle this.”
He echoed that statement in his postgame news conference.
“For our football team, it’s the first time we’ve had to deal with a loss in a while. We’ll get a lesson in that. The biggest thing right now is we choose to move forward.”
Of course, after a game like that, most teams — especially one that had 12 consecutive wins before the letdown — would want to get right back out on the field.
“We’re moving on,” Petras said. “The past is behind you. The future doesn’t exist. It’s all just about the present moment when we get back to work.”
But the Hawkeyes get a bye next week before facing Wisconsin on Oct. 30.
“When we reflect back, going 6-1 into the bye week, there’s something to be happy about that,” Linderbaum said. “There’s a reason why we have six wins.”
“We have some time to stew and sit on it. But there’s nothing we can do about it,” Ferentz said. “We just can’t flip our sights to the next opponent Monday morning. We’ll have to deal with that. … It’s tough to do, but you still want to do it. Doesn’t ease the pain at all. Doesn’t make you feel any better. They never taste good or feel good but you have to get back on your feet, go back to work. But that’s how it’s supposed to feel when you go down. Not fun. No way to make it go away.”
Or dwell on what could have been.
“It would be great to be sitting here 7-0, but that’s not the reality,” Ferentz said.
The story of 2021 still has a lot of chapters to be written.