With Wisconsin's loss in the final seconds to Northwestern, coupled with Iowa's victory over Purdue on Saturday afternoon, the Iowa Hawkeyes have won the 2015 Big Ten West division outright. Nobody picked Kirk Ferentz and his squad to hold the trophy at the end of the season but they defeated all odds and with a week to spare.
A large contingent of the Hawkeye team voiced their pleasure and excitement over the accomplishment following Saturday's effort.
"I'm going to wear it for a little bit," safety Jordan Lomax said of his new championship gear. "I'm not going to get too attracted to it. We're looking to get another."
"It was definitely (thrilling) to share that moment with this group of seniors," center Austin Blythe stated. "They provide good leadership for this team. It's a moment I'll remember for the rest of my life."
"We knew we had one job coming in," tight end Henry Krieger Coble shared. "It's a credit to our guys. We went out and did it. It's a big thrill to go out and win the division title."
"It's an amazing feeling for everybody," sophomore Josey Jewell commented.
"Excitement and joy," running back LeShun Daniels offered up on his feelings. "Everyone is excited to come out and get a victory, especiall on senior day for our seniors. To come in and clinch the Big Ten West was big. We'll enjoy it through tomorrow."
Enjoying it through tomorrow. That's been one of the signature mantras for this team; the 24 hour rule. It's still in affect this week as many chimed in that there's more goals to accomplish.
"It's a great feeling but we're not satisfied," Lomax admitted. "There's more games. There's more work to do."
"The biggest thing is just staying the course," Blythe pointed out about the Hawkeyes. "Staying focused. We have to understand what got us to this point and understanding that were playing for something and for each other."
"We know we have work left to do," Krieger Coble mentioned. "We're looking forward to getting after it."
"There's a couple games left," Jewell made sure to clear up. "We have to finish strong."
"Once Sunday night hits, we'll turn the page and get ready for Nebraska," Daniels said. "We know we have to go and play a tough ball club in Nebraska. They beat us last year, and that left a sick taste in our mouth at the end of last season. So we'll focus on our preparation. We don't want to finish 11-1 when we have a chance to go 12-0. We have to be prepared and do things in practice through the week to be ready to go on Saturday."
Iowa is 11-0 and the journey is not over. But it is nice to think about what the "experts" were saying at the beginning of the season and proving them wrong.
"We're a humble football team," captain Jordan Lomax shared about he and his teammates. "A lot of people have counted us out from the beginning. Even though we're 11-0 and getting a lot of fame and recognition, we're still staying to ourselves. We're a humble and hungry defense. We're a humble and hungry team as a unit. For us to continue to come in week in and week out and get these wins is great."