TAMPA, Fla. – Kirk Ferentz and Joe Moorhead have competed against each other before, but Tuesday’s Outback Bowl will be the first time it has happened with both as head coaches.
Ferentz is in his 20th season as the Iowa head coach, while Moorhead is in his first season as the head coach for Mississippi State.
Iowa and No. 18 Mississippi State will meet for the first time in the Outback Bowl on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. Both teams finished the regular season with 8-4 records.
The 45-year old Moorhead, who like Ferentz grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., came to Mississippi State after spending the previous two seasons as Penn State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Penn State was 2-0 against Iowa with Moorhead on the staff, winning by scores of 41-14 in 2016 and 21-19 last season at Kinnick Stadium.
And though Moorhead has climbed the coaching ladder as an offensive coach, Mississippi State’s defense ranks among the best in the country, allowing just 12 touchdowns in 12 games.
Moorhead and Ferentz both met with the media on Saturday in Tampa to discuss Tuesday’s game, which starts at 11 a.m. and will be televised by ESPN2. The Bulldogs are favored by seven points.
The two head coaches share the same hometown, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Ferentz is 63 years old and the longest tenured college football coach in the country, while Moorhead is nearly 20 years younger than Ferentz and a first-year head coach.
Ferentz also explained why starting right tackle Tristan Wirfs worked with the second-team offensive line during practice on Friday, saying it was nothing more than a rotation thing in practice.
Some in the media posted on Twitter that Wirfs was practicing with the second team and that led to speculation that he had been demoted or was possibly sick or injured.
The speculation grew to the point where Wirfs received a phone call from his mother back in Iowa wondering if there was something wrong.
Here are three videos from Saturday's press conference: