Saturday Quotebook: Ferentzs Are There For Young

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz arrives at Kinnick Stadium before Saturday's game. (Jeffrey Becker/USA Today Sports)
John Bohnenkamp

Devonte Young's parents could only make it to one Iowa football game this year.

Young's parents, Angela and Jude, live in Waldorf, Maryland. So Devonte, a senior defensive back, told them to come to Iowa's bowl game, wherever it might be. 

"I would rather have them at the bowl game. It would be my last game," Young said.

So, before Saturday's Senior Day, Young was greeted at midfield during the pre-game ceremony by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and his wife, Mary, who was wearing a jersey with Young's number 17.

"I asked for Coach Ferentz to come out," Young said. "I thought it would be a great experience for that. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

"Unfortunately Devonte's folks couldn't get here, so I was thrilled that he asked," said Ferentz, who then joked, "Scraped the bottom of the barrel on that one."

Young started his Iowa career as a wide receiver, then moved to defensive back. Most of his game experience has been on special teams.

"I think, Devonte, it's fitting because of his story ... every player that comes here, hoping to start every game, have an NFL career, but the best bet is getting your degree and just bringing a good attitude and a good work ethic every day, and that's exactly what he's done," Ferentz said. "He runs routes every day against our defense, wears them out. He's done a great job, found his niche as a special teams player and he's one of our core guys.

"So just so proud of him and the way he's handled everything that's happened in his career, and he's on track for graduation. He's contributing to us having a good year. It was a special honor for us to be out there and greet him at the end there."

"I actually think it is a special moment," Young said. "Going through the whole program, it basically is my adopted family."

Tied with Fry

Saturday's 19-10 win over Illinois was Ferentz's 96th Big Ten victory, tying him with former Iowa coach Hayden Fry for fourth all-time in league history. 

Ferentz was part of Fry's staff as an assistant from 1981-89.

"If you had asked me in 1981, I didn't know where Iowa was, why anybody would live there, and I think if you asked Coach Fry the same thing in 1970, he'd probably tell you the same thing," Ferentz said. "It's interesting how life goes sometimes, but I think ... I don't want to speak for him, but I think what he found here was pretty good, and I know how he feels about this state, this university today, and ditto with me. I just feel very fortunate."

Ferentz told how he was turned down for assistant coaching jobs before Fry hired him.

"But there's never been a master plan," he said. "It's just kind of dumb luck, and I'm glad I'm lucky."

Game notes

• Linebacker Kristian Welch led Iowa with 12 tackles. He has led the Hawkeyes in tackles six times this season.

• Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette had a career-high 121 receiving yards.

• Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 308 yards, his fifth career 300-yard passing game.

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