IOWA CITY, Iowa - There's a saying in sports that you can't let a loss beat you twice. It happens when a team dwells on an emotional defeat too long and isn't ready to play it's next game.
Iowa finds itself in that position following last week's crushing 20-17 home loss to rival Iowa State. The Hawkeyes head to unbeaten Pittsburgh Saturday (11 .m. CT, ESPNU). Anything less than full concentration on the Panthers likely would result in another setback.
"You can't stay in the game and compete if you're going to go home and cry every time you get beat. It doesn't work that way," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Ferentz has employed the 24-hour rule with his players since as far back as anyone can remember. Win or lose, they have a day to celebrate or morn and then it's on to the next opponent.
"The biggest thing is just guys rallying together, talking, staying positive, not going into the dumps. We have to ignore outside noise whether it's good or bad,' receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley said.
With all due respect to the Cyclones, Pitt presents the Hawkeyes with its biggest challenge to date. In addition to the Panthers being home, they boast the nation's 16th-ranked scoring offense (44.7 PPG) and scoring defense (15.0 PPG). They own two road wins this season, including a Week 2 triumph at Boston College, who last Saturday knocked off USC.
Pitt prefers to run the football. It averages 344.3 yards per contest on the ground (4th in the country), led by sophomore back James Conner (6-2, 250), second nationally with 544 yards on 81 carries (6.7 YPC) and eight touchdowns.
"He's really patient. He goes through the holes kind of slow. He really sees where the hole is. He's an extremely patient back, which you might not see with a lot of bigger backs. And once he sees the hole, he really goes and he's really physical. He gets on the second level fast," Iowa Safety Johnny Lowdermilk said.
The Hawkeyes hang their hats on stopping the run. They rank seventh in the country at stopping the rush (65.7 YPG).
"They're really an explosive offense and we need to be aggressive and get after them," Iowa Defensive Tackle Carl Davis said. "We want to be able to stop the run but we have to watch out because they also have some big-play receivers. (Conner) can come out of the backfield and make some plays (in the passing game) also."
Watch what else the Hawkeyes had to say about this weekend's open in this HI TV compilation video: