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September 19, 2015

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa City, Iowa

Pittsburgh - 24
Iowa - 27

COACH FERENTZ: You know, tonight was certainly just a great effort by our football team. It was an important win for us, an emotional win and we knew coming into this ballgame, I was concerned with the night environment, the crowd, having Brett Greenwood as our captain, worried about where the team would be emotionally. I thought they did just a super job and can't say enough about the crowd, first and foremost. It was just a fantastic environment right through the end and afterwards obviously.

To have Brett with us was a really special treat, also. I think the will, the determination, that Brett Greenwood has exemplified since 2011, I think some of that rubbed off on our team tonight, because we knew this would be a really tough football game. They are an excellent football team. We knew it would be the full 60 and you couldn't go any further.

Just want to give both teams credit for the way they fought and the way they bounced back through the ups and downs of the ballgame but it was just a hard-fought win. We are really, really proud of our football team and just really pleased with the outcome.

Q. The last 30 seconds?
COACH FERENTZ: First of all, looked like it could be disastrous, they squirted the ball down there. That could have been a bad deal. Desmond did a great job of getting the ball back out to the 30, I think it was.

C.J. Beathard played a super game all night long. He had full control, did a wonderful job there. Obviously we were hoping that ball to Tevaun would have been ruled a completion. But then C.J. on the next play got it and we were at least in makeable distance. Would have liked to have been a little closer but what a job by Marshall Koehn, too, just a fantastic effort on his ball. To keep his composure the way he did, just a fantastic effort.

Q. Was there an example -- with the kicker?
COACH FERENTZ: I guess. There was, you know, whatever you do, it doesn't work, then you're wrong, I guess, one of those deals. But didn't seem to faze him at all. It looked like a Rob Houghtlin moment, quite frankly, out there when he looked over at our bench. It looked like he was pretty confident.

Q. Defense showed outside containment.
COACH FERENTZ: I think it's a team effort and I think I could say that about our whole football team. But big problem with our run defense last year was on the perimeter. I think that's well documented. And we've worked hard on that like we've worked hard on a lot of things. It showed up too many times last year.

So we tried to do a better job there. We felt like offensively and defensively, we had become a tougher team on the outside. We are only three games into it, but I think we've made good strides.

Q. When Brett led the team out, can you share with us what that was like?
COACH FERENTZ: That's just -- words can't describe that whole thing. And then I would back it up to last night. Dave spoke, his dad, Dave, spoke to the football team, and then Pat Angerer followed up. And you know, as good as tonight was, and this is as good as it gets, winning this football game.

But what this whole thing is about are the people involved. You talk about the Brett Greenwood family. You talk about Pat Angerer; you talk about a teammate and a friend. You talk about guys like Tony Moeaki, Jeff Tarpinian, A.J. Edds being here yesterday with them throughout this whole thing, the whole time to support them. That's the essence of what we do. That's the best thing about what we do, and you know, tonight's icing on the cake, but it's all about the people.

Q. And the practice kick --
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, he did. He had a practice shot. I think he knew what was going on there, so he didn't put it all into it.

It's kind of ironic. I just told Ed and Gary on the phone -- our two-minute drill this week in practice was awful. We were three downs and out. Defense did a great job. We didn't do so well offensively. But fortunately we saved it for tonight. It was a little bit better execution.

Q. Fourth quarter pushes in the last two weeks, what does it tell but the resiliency?
COACH FERENTZ: I talked about us -- we were weak on perimeter last year. I guess weak's a strong word. Is that an oxymoron? What is that?

Anyway, we weren't very good. We weren't good enough on the outside last year and we didn't finish well last year, either. So as a coach, I've got to tell you, I'm really happy and pleased with that.

And I can't say enough about the fight of our guys. They have been outstanding to work with, especially since August. I think that's when we started to see some leadership develop on our football team.

So that's a big part of it. We've got guys really taking ownership, and I think the younger guys are following the lead. We've got a lot of guys on the field that have not played a lot of football on both sides of the ball and special teams, so I'm really pleased with that.

I'll circle back to special teams, too. Obviously the blocked punt was a huge play tonight. But outside of that, I think we've really made strides in our kicking game. I'm pleased about that, as well. I think Dillon is doing a fantastic job. Our coverage has been good, and hopefully that's something we can build on, too, as we move forward.

Q. An emotional win over Iowa State, Greenwood tonight -- it's just like the team has to be -- is there a rallying thing with this collection of guys?
COACH FERENTZ: No. I explained to them last night. We have got 12 scheduled. If we want to make excuses -- maybe it was this afternoon I guess I told them that. Because I had heard something about Michigan State had just played the Oregon game, and us playing Iowa State.

We have got 12 scheduled. So if we want to make excuses, we're welcome to do that. We've got 12 scheduled. We've got to show up and play and be ready to play and our guys have done a good job preparing for the week, really pleased about that.

This week they did a super job. You've still got to bring it at game time, and obviously we did that. But both those teams were competing. I can't say enough about that; they are a tough, competitive football team. They played really at a high level tonight. We threw a couple punches at them, too, and they answered. It's just a great football game.

Q. Desmond had two interceptions early.
COACH FERENTZ: Got us off to a great start, absolutely. We threw one, and I think that's the first one C.J.'s thrown in three games. But we fought back from it and obviously C.J., he kept playing.

Q. C.J. stood in and took some shots tonight. Does that answer any questions about his confidence?
COACH FERENTZ: I tell you, if anybody's ever had questions about that, I want to talk to them. He looks like a nice guy and he is a really nice guy. He's a nice young man. But I'll tell you, he's hard as nails.

Drew Ott is a tough kid on the other side, and I would say the same thing about C.J. He knew that was coming. They are a pressure defense. They are very aggressive. They are very physical. And if you're going to beat these guys, that's what you have to do. You have to be able to stand in there and get the ball where it's got to go and he did a great job with that.

Q. How much was he able to throw this rhythm tonight?
COACH FERENTZ: I thought -- there is no rhythm when you play a team like that. They are extremely aggressive.

I thought one of the highlights of the game, quite frankly, we missed Tevaun deep on that one. Defense came back, got a stop and then we came back and answered after that. And we could have gone in the tank right there because that was a close call. Great call and a great game. But C.J. and the rest of the guys really executed it well.

Q. Injury-wise, things look good right now?
COACH FERENTZ: I think we are as far as I know, and I don't think our two guys went backwards, so that's a positive.

Q. Do you know how important -- inaudible -- for the defense?
COACH FERENTZ: He's another -- he's an Iowa story if you will. For us, I say it every year, for us to win, we have to have good stories merge, and what a great job he's done. He's played well on special teams the last two years, came in as a backup linebacker. I just mentioned Pat Angerer in 2008 and he was a backup linebacker and ascended from there.

But Cole just kept working. He's had a great attitude, outstanding student, engineering major. And it's a real credit to his perseverance and stick-to-itiveness and he's playing his best football, also. We are thrilled about that. We are playing good defense right now and Cole is a big part of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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