116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa running back Tyler Goodson already has his outfit picked out for Saturday, and it’s not quite the typical black-and-gold Nike gear he’d be wearing on the way to Kinnick.
“I’ll be dressing up like an ’80s character,” Goodson said. “I just got a baggy, little workout jumpsuit and a little headband, and I’m ready to go.”
Goodson’s unusual garb — it’s for his girlfriend’s sorority day party — is just one aspect of what is an unusual week for the Hawkeyes, with their first Big Ten road trip of the year coming on a Friday instead of a Saturday.
While it’s the first Friday game of 2021, it’s not a totally foreign concept for Iowa. Most recently, Iowa played Nebraska on the Friday after Thanksgiving last year.
“You try to steal notes from that,” Ferentz said.
The quick turnaround comes after a Colorado State game where Iowa was the 23.5-point favorite but was behind on the scoreboard in the second half before winning 24-14.
Now the team has to regroup before flying Thursday to face a talented Maryland team on Friday. Iowa still is the favorite, but this time by only 3.5 points.
“You still have the same amount of work you would normally do, just less time to get there,” Ferentz said. “You have to try to figure out quickly what it is you want to try to do.”
Maryland (4-0, 1-0), the only undefeated team in the Big Ten to not be in the AP Top 25, has averaged 37.3 points per game this season while only allowing 14.3 points.
Big wins against Kent State and Howard skew those numbers, though. Both of the Terrapins’ wins over Power Five foes came by six or fewer points.
Ferentz is anticipating a “hostile” environment that compares to Iowa State during the Cy-Hawk game.
“I imagine the environment we were in a couple weeks ago is as tough as it’s going to get,” Ferentz said. “We expect this to be the same way. The trick is to somehow block that out and concentrate on the task.”
It’ll also come with plenty of TV attention. The only other two options for college football fans on Friday night will be two non-Power Five matchups — Houston vs. Tulsa on ESPN and No. 13 BYU vs. Utah State on CBS Sports Network.
That leaves the battle between two undefeated Big Ten foes, one of which is ranked, as the likely favorite among neutral fans.
Ferentz said the earlier game affects how the team practices, too.
“You want to get as much work as you can get done, but you don’t want to use up the same amount of energy on a game week,” Ferentz said, “because there’s not that recovery time from Wednesday on that we typically enjoy.”
For some players, not going at full-tilt is easier than others.
Linebacker Jack Campbell showed up to Tuesday’s media availability with a cut on his face and scabs on his right leg.
“Some players you have to pull back or pull out of practice sometimes,” Ferentz said. “Those are good players. We like to recruit those guys.”
All in all, Ferentz isn’t exactly the biggest fan of the Friday night games. He’s “OK” with them.
“I’m OK with October on,” Ferentz said. “I certainly wouldn’t like it early season unless it was the first game. Then you just start camp a day earlier.”
His players have spoken more glowingly of the games, though.
Quarterback Spencer Petras is looking forward to the chance to watch more college football live on Saturday.
“We rarely get to see much of any games on Saturday, so it’s nice, but it’s only nice if we prepare really well and get a win,” Petras said.
There might not be any Iowa player with more to gain from the Friday evening time slot than punter Tory Taylor, though.
Taylor, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, finally has a start time that accommodates his family.
With a 15-hour time difference, the 2:30 start times for Iowa’s first four games came at 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday in Melbourne.
“It’s been a bit of a rough time for them,” Taylor said.
That still hasn’t stopped his friends and family from watching.
“Obviously no one’s really doing anything on a Sunday, especially considering they’re still in lockdown back home,” Taylor said.
The 7 p.m. Central Time start in Iowa likely won’t require an alarm clock this weekend in Melbourne, though. Kickoff will be at 10 a.m. Saturday there.
“I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to sleeping,” Taylor said.