A revamped Iowa offense that posted 17 points and 302 yards in the first half of the team's home opener against Northern Illinois was the result of a bad burrito that sent head coach Kirk Ferentz to the locker room. "After a couple of hours of seeing those Panchero's ads on the new scoreboard before the game, I had a hankering for a burrito. I sent Chris [White, the team's running backs and special teams coach] out to grab me one. He came back with some monstrosity from the Kum & Go."
"It did not end well," the 15-year head coach added.
Freed from the shackles of its staid head coach's dogmatic offensive philosophy, the Iowa offense flourished as it had not in nearly a decade. First-year quarterback Jake Rudock completed 13 of 21 attempts for 188 yards and a touchdown. Rudock and the Iowa running backs combined for an additional 114 rushing yards and a score. When combined with a defensive touchdown by linebacker Christian Kirksey, Iowa managed to score more points in one half than it did in eight games last season. The 47 snaps that the Iowa took in the half were just 16 short of the team's average number of plays in 2012.
Ferentz learned of the offensive explosion when he emerged from the bathroom.
"The players were in the locker room for halftime. Greg told me what had happened. I'm not going to lie: I almost fired him on the spot. Downfield passes, the read option, a FLEA FLICKER? It was all completely unacceptable."
"Forty-seven plays in a half?" the coach added. "What does he think this is, Oregon?"
With the head coach restored to the sideline, Iowa returned to an offense of Ferentz's liking. The Hawkeyes ran eleven offensive plays in a scoreless third quarter, then added a lone field goal in the game's final stanza, allowing Northern Illinois to methodically even the score and win on a last-second field goal. It was the third time in eleven months that Iowa lost at home on a last-minute kick.
"You're welcome," Ferentz told fans.
At one point during the second half, Ferentz's gastrointestinal issues again arose. Ferentz sent White for some Pepto. Northern Illinois used the opportunity to run a completely obvious fake punt, in which the Huskies' punter ran for 42 yards practically untouched.
Asked if he would make any changes in coming weeks, Ferentz admitted that adjustments to the staff could be coming. "I'm rehiring Lester Erb," the coach said. "He always knew what I liked at Panchero's."