CEDAR FALLS - While the temperatures and weather conditions outside continue to deteriorate, the Iowa Central football team will be playing in the comforts of the UNI-Dome here Sunday afternoon.
The Tritons (5-5 overall) won't need coats or gloves as they return to the Graphic Edge Bowl to face seventh-ranked (NJCAA?Div. II)?Rochester Tech.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
"We went to the UNI-Dome on Tuesday to practice and get used to being back in favorable conditions,'' said Iowa Central head coach Kevin Twait. "We got out of the cold, which was nice.
"I feel our guys are getting better and improving with every practice. The team is enjoying the extra time a little more and we're hoping to play our best in the bowl.''
Iowa Central will be making its 15th postseason appearance in the last 17 seasons against the Yellow Jackets (10-1). It was an up and down season for the Tritons, who did win three of their final four games to clinch a trip to Cedar Falls.
"We're not going to change much, but we've been improving in certain areas and are getting sharper,'' Twait said. "We've got some guys healed up that were banged up. Extra rest has helped. Now, we're ready to put the pedal to the medal.''
It will be a familiar opponent when the Tritons face the Yellow Jackets. The programs met in 2005 and 2010, with Iowa Central winning both games.
"With them being seventh, if we pull this one out, we could end up Top-20 by winning four of last five,'' Twait said. "We have everything to gain in this game, we're the underdog, but I really like our guys. I like this team."
This year's sophomore group will be playing in their second bowl. The Tritons lost to Hutchinson (Kan.) last year 41-21 in the Salt City Bowl.
"This is huge for the sophomores,'' Twait said. "They've done things right on and off the field.
"They have something to show to try and earn a bowl ring. This is tremendous for them."
Twait is well aware of what it will take to pull the upset.
"To beat them, we have to win the battle of turnovers and keep the field position in our favor,'' Twait said. "We lean on our special teams. We've counted heavily on (former West Bend-Mallard star)?Mitch (Bonnstetter, who is the punter) all year to do it and our placekicker (Nathan Criswell) has been solid.
"If we win those battles, we give ourselves a great chance.''