QB weathers criticism storm (Football)

David Kalan

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday he is unconcerned with the Hawkeyes’ perceived lack of success this year.

“It doesn’t affect me,” Ferentz said. “I don’t know why it would. I would have to be an insane person to worry about what anyone else thinks.”

After being a trendy preseason pick to go to a BCS bowl and compete for the national championship, Iowa has stumbled to a 6-4 record, not clinching bowl eligibility until last Saturday against Wisconsin. The high expectations seemed to be dashed from the start after a stunning upset loss to instate rival Iowa State in the second week of the season.

Ferentz insists he does not put faith in any preseason “prognostications,” comparing the process to blindly throwing darts.

“You pick the usual suspects and then throw some new names in the mix, and we were one of them based on our recent success,” Ferentz said. “People on the outside don’t often know a lot about a team at a given university.”

Ferentz pointed out on Tuesday, Iowa has lost two of its last three games on the last play and in the last minute of regulation against Michigan and Northwestern.

Had those games gone the other way the Hawkeyes would be 8-2 and very much in contention for the conference title.

“Our challenge was to do the best we could with the given circumstances,” Ferentz said. “This season hasn’t been different from any other from my vantage point.”

Paterno wants to bed Michael Robinson

One win away from securing the Big Ten championship, coach Joe Paterno cannot stop singing the praises of quarterback Michael Robinson.

“Mike’s been a good football player for us,” Paterno said. “I don’t mean good, I mean great.”

The Nittany Lions were not expected to have much of an impact on the conference before the season began. But now the No. 4-ranked team in the country, Penn State will be headed to a BCS bowl if it knocks off Michigan State on Saturday.

In past years, Robinson, a senior, had played both running back and wide receiver so the Nittany Lions could take advantage of his athleticism while Zach Mills was under center.

“I’ve used him everywhere I’ve needed him and he’s never hesitated and stepped in there and done a good job,” Paterno said. “We were confident we were going to have a good year, primarily because of Michael Robinson.”

Although Penn State’s two freshman wideouts have received most of the publicity, Paterno said the focus was deferred from his real star.

“The guy that’s making the big difference for us is Michael Robinson,” Paterno said. “And he’s not getting the kind of credit he ought to get.”

Minnesota finds yet another running back

It’s almost unfair. With Laurence Maroney sidelined with an ankle injury, Minnesota still managed to accumulate more than 300 rushing yards for the seventh time this season.

The already established Gary Russell rushed for 85 yards, but the Gophers had a third back up their sleeve in Amir Pinnix. The unknown sophomore totaled 206 yards on 32 carries against Michigan State on Saturday.

“I was really happy for Amir,” coach Glen Mason said. “He comes from New Jersey, he’s a good football player, but he’s an even better kid.”

Pinnix has spent most of the season on the bench as starters Maroney and Russell have garnered national recognition, while racking up impressive numbers every week.

After Maroney had to stay on the bench this week Pinnix got his chance to show off his skills as another of Minnesota’s seemingly never-ending series of talented running backs.

“It was tough for him waiting around behind Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell,” Mason said. “But when he got his opportunity he made the most of it.”

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