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Ferentz recalls tough LSU QB who took reins vs. Iowa in 2005

[ 0 ] December 9, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Louisiana State will be without starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger when it meets Iowa in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. And that makes Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz cringe a little bit.

“I’ll go back to our last game,” Ferentz said of a 30-25 victory over LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. “The only thing I was sure of, that’s how smart I am, is if we got down to their third guy we’d be in good shape. And he came in and lit us up. That’s when the game got interesting.”

JaMarcus Russell throws a pass against Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. (Getty Images)

JaMarcus Russell throws a pass against Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. (Getty Images)

The Tigers started Marcus Randall in that game, then coach Nick Saban inserted Matt Flynn. LSU trailed the Hawkeyes, 24-12, early in the fourth quarter when Saban inserted JaMarcus Russell as a third option at quarterback. Russell rallied LSU with a pair of touchdown passes to take a lead that was erased when Iowa quarterback Drew Tate hit Warren Holloway on a 56-yard touchdown strike on the last play of the game.

“Playing a backup quarterback at LSU might not be a good thing based on recent past experience,” Ferentz said.

Mettenberger, a senior who passed for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions, tore his ACL in the regular-season finale against Arkansas.

Anthony Jennings, a 6-2 freshman and four-star recruit who enrolled at LSU last December and went through spring practice with the Tigers, came in and completed 4-of-7 passes, including the winning touchdown in the 31-27 triumph over the Razorbacks.

“I’m just guessing their No. 2 guy doesn’t look like the No.2 guy at Maine when I was there for three years (1990-92),” Ferentz said. “I’m guessing he was probably pretty highly recruited. I bet he’s very talented.”

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, himself a college quarterback at North Dakota State, said, “I was just thinking about the poor guy who was the backup quarterback at Maine when you were coach, right now, as soon as he hears that.”

Responded Ferentz: “I can’t remember. Hopefully he doesn’t, either.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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