It’s unusual to rank a loss as one of a coach’s greatest games coached. But Iowa’s two-point loss to Texas deep in the heart of the Lone Star State showed Ferentz wouldn’t let his most disappointing season waste away without a fight.
Iowa lost its last five 2006 Big Ten games in a freefall that still rankles Ferentz when he’s asked. Iowa finished the regular season 6-6 but still was picked for the Alamo Bowl. Rather than prepare for a monumental embarrassment against the No. 16 Longhorns on ESPN, Ferentz forced the team back to boot camp for its 15 bowl practices. The team that began the season 5-1 before dropping five of its final six games overall returned to form against Texas.
Iowa, which finished the season 6-7 overall, built a 14-0 lead and could have led 21-3 but a penalty wiped out another touchdown. Ultimately, 10-2 Texas won the game 26-24, but Ferentz re-set the tone of Iowa football and brought it back under his control on the field. After 1 1/2 seasons of growing pains (2007, early 2008), the team returned to Ferentz’s style of ball.