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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Iowa's Ferentz guards against letdown

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz learned a lot about his team Saturday night, when the Hawkeyes rallied from a 10-0 deficit in the rain, on the road and in front of a whiteout crowd at Penn State to score a huge victory.

Ferentz is about to learn a lot more about his troops this week.

As pleased as he was to see his players achieve success, Ferentz is extremely cognizant of how they handle it. Iowa went from unranked to No. 13 nationally. The Hawkeye State is buzzing after the Penn State win. There's talk of a Big Ten title push and perhaps an even loftier goal.

All Ferentz can think about is the Sun Belt team coming to Iowa City with nothing to lose this weekend.

"It’s just human nature," Ferentz said. "We’re all a little more vulnerable when people are patting us on the back and telling us how good we are and how smart we are. … It’s not only in sports, but it's also in life, too. People tend to sometimes forget how they got where they are or not pay attention to some details when things are going a little bit better.

"We're certainly doing better now than we were a month ago, so we're going to have to guard against that."

Ferentz has seen his team grow in the season's first month, from nearly losing to FCS power Northern Iowa to taking care of business against Iowa State and Arizona to outworking Penn State. The next step calls for maintaining the focus against Arkansas State, a team that might not get the players' attention so easily.

"No matter who we were playing this week, you have to worry about it," Ferentz said. "We had a late trip, as you do when you play a night game on the road. It was an emotional win, obviously, and I don’t want to take away from that at all. They deserve to enjoy it. That being said, we’ve got to get back to work because Arkansas State could really care less what we did last week.