Iowa had a strong season in 2018, but a couple of close losses kept them out of the B1G Championship Game.

The Hawkeyes won nine games, including the Outback Bowl to end last season. However, a string of one-possession losses limited Iowa and kept the Hawkeyes from playing for a conference championship.

During a three-game losing streak, Iowa lost to Penn State, Purdue, and Northwestern by a total of 12 points. Those losses eliminated them from the B1G West as Northwestern won the division with an 8-1 conference record.

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Heading into 2019, that is really the lone area Iowa failed in last season. For head coach Kirk Ferentz, those close losses come down to the details and perseverance. But sooner or later, someone just has to go make a play:

“I don’t think it’s any one specific thing,” explained Ferentz. “The biggest thing, it’s just a matter of detail, it’s a matter of perseverance, mental toughness. At some point, someone’s got to make a play. I’m sitting here thinking right now about the bowl game. We had to try to get a first down…I think we threw a short pass to (T.J.) Hockenson and he broke about four tackles…little things like that are huge when you are playing good teams.”

Hopefully, the Hawkeyes make all the little plays to put those close losses behind them. In a wide-open B1G West division, that could make all the difference in the world.