Will Iowa be bringing home the bacon? Or, will Minnesota make a dash to the Hawkeye sideline tomorrow for Floyd of Rosedale?
The Big Ten season kicks off tomorrow for both teams as an age-old rivalry is renewed and today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10, serving up a daily dose of Hawkeye news and notes each weekday at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, is here to get you ready.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10:
1. Iowa offensive lineman Brett Van Sloten grew up in Decorah, Iowa, and he understands that this game is important to Hawkeye fans living near the northern border of the state.
“But we can’t look at it that way,’’ Van Sloten said. “We have to see it as just another game. Minnesota is a good football team and we respect that. The chance to play another good team is what excites us, not where they are from.’’
2. Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns in his starting debut for Minnesota last week, but the freshman said there is more to his game than that.
He believes he can make the Golden Gophers’ passing game work as well.
“I feel really comfortable with the deep ball,’’ Leidner said following Minnesota’s win over San Jose State. “I don’t hesitate at all because we have good receivers out there so I just have to throw it out there and give them a chance to make a play.’’
3. With 33 completions this season, Minnesota has been one of the more run-oriented teams in the Big Ten.
That has safeties such as Iowa’s Tanner Miller preparing to help out a bit in run support as needed in Saturday’s game in the Twin-Cities.
“They like to pound it between the tackles and the record shows they have some success doing that,’’ Miller said. “We’ve had some success stopping the run but we’re going to have to be ready to step up this week.’’
4. There will not likely be a single player on the field Saturday playing against a team from his home state.
Iowa has just three Minnesota natives on its roster this year and all are freshmen who have not played, Malik Rucker, Connor Keane and Luke Lindahl.
The Golden Gophers have no Iowa natives on their roster this season.
5. Iowa opponents have rushed 128 times without a score, a streak which covers the entire 2013 season.
Minnesota has relied on the ground game to reach the end zone, rushing for 16 touchdowns on its way to a 4-0 start. The Gophers have scored on 19 of the 20 times they have moved inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, while the Hawkeyes share the Big Ten lead in red zone defense.
6. Coaching staffs from Iowa and Minnesota will wear patches on their shirts during Saturday’s game to show support for the Coach to Cure MD program.
Nationally, the program involving college football coaches nationwide and the Muscular Dystrophy Association has raised more than a million dollars in its six-year existence to battle Duchenne muscular dystrophy by encouraging fans to donate online at CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.
7. Although he only carried the ball 10 times last weekend, Mark Weisman continues to lead the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 95 carries.
Iowa’s junior running back also ranks 18th nationally with 468 rushing yards and his 117 yards per game ranks second in the Big Ten to Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, who leads the NCAA with an average of 156 yards per game.
8. Iowa’s ground game is piling up yards as fast as it has since Bettendorf’s Tavian Banks was in the Hawkeye backfield in 1997.
The Hawkeyes has topped 200 rushing yards in each of their four games this season, totaling 976 yards on 218 carries during a 3-1 start.
The last time Iowa topped 200 yards in four straight games came during the first four weeks of the 1997 season, when the Hawkeyes rushed for 379 against Northern Iowa, 408 vs. Tulsa, 233 at Iowa State and 219 against Illinois.
9. The National I-Club and UI Alumni Association will host a Hawkeye Huddle for fans traveling to the Minnesota game.
This week’s huddle will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at The Commons Hotel, 615 Washington Ave. SE in Minneapolis.
The event is free and open to the public and includes snacks, cash refreshments, door prizes and appearances by Herky and the Iowa cheerleaders.
10. Wrestling icon Dan Gable will be the featured speaker at Monday’s Davenport Grid Club luncheon.
Gable will speak at the noon luncheon at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1111 W. 35th St., Davenport. Quad-City area college football coaches and coaches from Mississippi Athletic Conference high schools will also speak at the event.
Grid Club luncheons are open to the public and tickets, priced at $9, are available at the door and include a buffet lunch.