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IOWA CITY — The “24-hour rule” has been a frequent topic inside the media interview room in the bowels of Kinnick Stadium.
Usually, it comes up because of the need to move on after enjoying an exciting win.
“We’re going to enjoy the win for the next 24 hours, but after we watch the film tomorrow, it’s straight to business,” Iowa wide receiver Nico Ragaini said after the Penn State win.
But the Hawkeyes found themselves bringing up the rule in a much different way Saturday — a way they haven’t needed to use it in almost a year.
Iowa, No. 2 until the new polls come out Sunday, needs to move on from its first loss of the season, Purdue’s 24-7 manhandling of the Hawkeyes.
“Losing sucks,” quarterback Spencer Petras said repeatedly in a more soft-spoken manner than usual. “It’s not fun.”
Big losses don’t come very often for the Hawkeyes. The last time Iowa lost by at least 17 points was its 38-14 loss to Wisconsin in 2017. That loss also came a week after a top-five win at home.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said it’s “hard” to emotionally move to the next week after a big win like the Penn State one.
“That's why the teams don't go undefeated too often,” Ferentz said. “That's everybody. Alabama went down. I'm not comparing us to Alabama by any stretch, but that's a tough thing, especially about conference football play.”
Even with Ferentz’s experience, the bitterness of a loss like Saturday’s to Purdue isn’t much easier.
“They never taste good or feel good,” said Ferentz, who is in his 23rd season at the helm of Iowa’s program. “But you have to get back on your feet, go back to work.”
Ferentz said it’s a matter of mental toughness.
“If you're not mentally tough, you'll dwell on it and let it fester,” Ferentz said. “The whole trick is to get your eyes back on what you're trying to do and work to improve. Not worry about what went wrong.”
The good news for Iowa? It has a bye week, which Ferentz said the team will use to “regroup.”
Iowa likely won’t run out of learning opportunities after its first three-possession loss since 2017.
“There were so many things that we didn’t execute,” safety Jack Koerner said. “There’s so much on the tape to improve on.”
The extra week gives Iowa some much-needed rest, too.
Starting cornerback Riley Moss, who led the FBS with four interceptions through the first six weeks, remains out with a knee injury.
Matt Hankins, the starting cornerback on the other side of the field, left the Purdue loss with an injury and went to the locker room before returning later in the first half.
“I know it would take an extreme amount to get Matt off the field,” Koerner said. “So I’m sure he was struggling a little bit.”
Koerner said he didn’t know any specifics of the injury, though. Ferentz expects Hankins to be “OK.”
Offensive lineman Cody Ince, tight end Luke Lachey and defensive lineman Deontae Craig all missed Saturday’s game.
Ince suffered an injury in the Oct. 9 Penn State win. Ferentz said he “leveled off” in his recovery process during the week
Lachey and Craig both had players fall on them in practice, Ferentz said.
“We need rest right now, certainly with those injuries,” Ferentz said. “Get some guys recharged, and come out a week from now hopefully ready to go.”
Even for players who haven’t missed any time to injuries like center Tyler Linderbaum, the bye week is coming at a good time.
“It’s been a rough seven-game stretch just from a body standpoint,” Linderbaum said.
Petras is confident Iowa will be better-prepared mentally too after the week off.
“When we get back to work, we’re moving on,” Petras said.
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