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Hawkeyes might ban punt returns

AP - Sports
Hawkeyes might ban punt returns
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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz looks on from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan State, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Iowa City, Iowa. Michigan State won 26-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Everyone thought Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was joking last weekend when he said the Hawkeyes might never return a punt again.

Ferentz wasn't kidding.

Ferentz says he's leaning against sending blockers downfield to help set up returns after Iowa was burned by a fake punt in Saturday's loss to Michigan State.

Ferentz indicated Iowa might always use a punt safe formation in the future, with a returner charged simply with keeping punts from hitting the ground.

The Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) have allowed a number of successful fake punts in recent years, including one each in losses to Northern Illinois and the Spartans this season.

Iowa next plays at No. 4 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) on Oct. 19.

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