Here's what Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said in his press conference before the Penn State game

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY — An Iowa football season already full of big moments delivers another one Saturday.

The No. 3 Hawkeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten Conference) host No. 4 Penn State (5-0, 2-0) this week inside Kinnick Stadium, offering Iowa a chance to add more substance to a budding postseason resume. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz spoke to the media Tuesday about the matchup ahead.

Here are his most noteworthy comments.   

On absorbing the big-game feel without letting it overwhelm. 

"There's certain games, you can feel it when you walk in the stadium,” Ferentz said. "Especially when the crowd gets in there. That part's really neat, and you've got to be prepared for that. But again, the fans aren't going to play the game. They're going to be there to help us. They're not going to play the game. 

"Every game counts, and every game is important. But there are obviously certain games where there is a little bit more visibility. And the more you can stay centered on what you're trying to accomplish, (the better). You better keep your eyes on the target. The more you get wrapped up in all that other stuff, the harder it is to be successful."

Leistikow's thoughts: Is Saturday's game vs. Penn State the biggest Iowa football home game since 1985?

On Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson.

"He's a really good athlete, which is great," Ferentz said. "There's a lot of really good athletes out there, but he's a football player, just the way he does everything. I'm not an expert in the passing game or receiver play, but you just watch him play -- there's no wasted movement. He's concise. I've got to think the pro guys watching him really like him because he's a really decisive player. He's a talented player but also a good football player. He plays really hard. That's the thing about him, they've got a lot of guys who are just really good players. ... That's what you've got to realize. We're playing a team that can close a gap really fast because they've got some guys."     

On facing Penn State.

"You're playing an established program," Ferentz said. "If you're talking about programs that don't really need much explanation, Penn State is in that handful of national teams. So it's a challenge when you play them. The one thing for sure, like I just alluded to, if you're not ready to play, it could be embarrassing. So you better get ready to play."

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On what will be learned about Iowa football Saturday.

"Whatever way it goes, we'll learn about our team afterwards too," Ferentz said. "Whether it goes good, bad or indifferent, how do you handle that the next week? And then how do you keep moving forward? That's why you play 12 games and then whatever's afterwards. 

"As a coach, you can't get too caught up in that stuff because you never know. Like, so many things could change in the next five days right? Just on the surface. So you just never know.  This is the sixth game, it's awfully important to both teams, but life's going to go on afterwards. And we've all got to realize that. We've got a window just like last week. You want to maximize everything you can."   

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.