Hawkeyes Talk Illinois Challenge

Iowa travels to Illinois Saturday for its second in a four-week stretch of battle opponents from boarding states. The Hawkeyes talk about the Illini and bouncing back from last week's embarrassment at Minnesota.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Few teams nationally want to get back on the field more than Iowa. The Hawkeyes are coming off an absolute beat down at the hands of Minnesota last Saturday.

"We've got to move on and get ready for the next challenge. And so if you do a good job of that, you'll give yourself a chance to compete well Saturday. If you don't, you know, it's like when you're a kid you can't let the same match burn twice. If you do that, then fool me once on that one," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said.

The Hawkeyes head to Illinois Saturday (11 a.m. CT, BTN) after they were throttled, 51-14, at Minnesota last week. Iowa sits at 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten and could win the West Division by sweeping their last three games. The Illini (4-5, 1-4) needs two victories in their final three contests to become bowl eligible.

Maryland handled the Hawkeyes earlier this season in a game that was not as close as the 38-31 final score would indicate. They bounced back with a 48-8 thumping of Northwestern after the bye week.

"There was definitely a bad taste in our mouths (after Minnesota)," defensive tackle Carl Davis said. "We're just not used to getting beat like that. But, hey, it happened. The only thing you can do is to learn from it and try to get the positive out of it. That's what we try to do, eat-the-meat, throw-the-bones-away type thing."

Iowa will be playing the Illini for the first time since 2008. It's a scheduling quirk brought about by conference expansion and division realignment.

"Every Big Ten game is intense when you get on the field so to me they all feel like rivalies," Hawkeye Linebacker Quinton Alston said.

Illinois looks a lot like Indiana in that the Illini boast some dangerous weapons on offense but are very susceptible to allowing a lot of points. They rank last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (36.7 PPG) and stopping the run (262.8 YPG).

See what else Ferentz and his Hawkeyes had to say about this week's match-up with another border rival in this HI compilation video:


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories