It was deja vu all over again for fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes this past Saturday against Michigan State, as the Spartans pulled off a key fake punt to set up a score in the fourth quarter. This marked the seventh time in the last seven tries against the Hawkeyes that a fake punt was executed successfully. It’s usually a call with a lot of risk associated with it, but not when you’re playing Iowa.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz caught everyone’s attention after the game by saying that he may never have his team return a punt again and apparently he’s not backing down from those comments. Here’s what he had to say Tuesday:
“If you pressed me today, I’d say we may never try to return a punt again. To do that, to block guys, you have to turn and go with those guys to shadow them. When you do that, you open the door. Michigan State did a good job of taking advantage of that.”
As crazy as that sounds, I don’t think you’d hear too many Hawkeye fans complain if that was the case. The fake punt is Iowa’s kryptonite at this point and there’s no denying that MSU’s execution of one in Saturday’s game was a huge turning point. The Hawkeyes had just forced a punt and were down six points to start the fourth quarter when the Spartans’ punter took off for 30 yards and put all the momentum back on his team’s side.
Ferentz’s comments are simply those of a frustrated coach. I don’t think there’s any way he’ll implement such a strategy, but if Iowa gets burned one more time this year, he may not have a choice.