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Ferentz expects discussion over unusually frequent 'injuries'

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | NOVEMBER 16, 2011 7:20 AM

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Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday he wasn't planning on sending game tape to the Big Ten office in response to the late rash of injuries Michigan State suffered against Iowa on Nov. 12.

The 13th-year Hawkeye coach said he's "more focused on the things we didn't do well enough" in his team's 37-21 loss at Kinnick Stadium.

"Bottom line is they played better, executed better than we did," Ferentz said. "That's really the issue to me."

Suspicions arose when Spartan after Spartan went down with injuries as Iowa tried to rally late in the second half. Some suggested those players faked injuries in an attempt to disrupt the rhythm of the Hawkeye offense.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said after the game the injuries were "severe" and his players "weren't going down," something he iterated during Tuesday's Big Ten coaches' teleconference.

"Believe it or not, they were legitimate injuries," Dantonio said.

But similar to Ferentz, Iowa players were less concerned with the legitimacy of Michigan State's injuries and more concerned with their lack of execution.

"I can't really comment on why they were going down. I have no idea," right tackle Markus Zusevics said. "Just because someone goes down doesn't mean you can't execute the next play. That's on us."

Ferentz called it a "really complex issue," highlighting the challenge of how one would determine if an injury is real and exactly who would make such a determination. He expects the topic to be discussed in the off-season.

"They'll probably come up with some formula," Ferentz said. "Probably hold a player out for a play or two, something like that. But it's just one of those things."

Staggs fills in

Steven Staggs appeared in Saturday's game as Iowa's latest edition of the "Next Man In" philosophy.

The junior receiver had made only one catch all season before recording three receptions for 36 yards against Michigan State. Staggs entered the game in place of Keenan Davis, who left in the third quarter after appearing to reaggravate an sprained ankle he originally sustained Oct. 22 against Indiana.

"I was just ready to step in when my number was called," Staggs said. "We talk about Next Man In all the time. I've just been preparing like I'm a starter."

Staggs, a native of Oskaloosa, had no receptions in his career until this year.

"He's been doing a nice job for us for a while," quarterback James Vandenberg said. "He does a really good job of catching the ball and understands our offense real well."

Davis expected to play

Despite needing help from the Hawkeye training staff to exit the field at one point Nov. 12, Davis eventually returned to the game. He is expected to start this week at Purdue.

Players will often reaggravate that type of injury upon returning from them, Ferentz said.

"It's part of the process, and the good news is he was doing well on Sunday," Ferentz said. "Unless you take about eight weeks off, it's really hard to come back full speed. Hopefully, he'll get totally well in December."

Follow DI Pregame Editor Jordan Garretson on Twitter.


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