Paul Chryst still likes the Iowa quarterback he tried to recruit, Kirk Ferentz downplays the idea of Josh Jackson leaving early for the next level and the NFL season comes to an early end for a former Hawkeye.
All that and more are part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes.
Delivered each weekday at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. Nick Easley leads Iowa receivers with 39 catches this season — 16 more than anyone else on the team — but watching Iowa’s tight ends wrap their arms around nine targets in last week’s win over Ohio State was something the junior didn’t mind one bit.
“Those guys did a great job of making plays,’’ Easley said. “In different weeks against different opponents, we have different guys stepping up and getting it done and that’s the great thing about our team. We can find a lot of different ways to move the ball and score. Noah (Fant) and T.J. (Hockenson), they create some mismatches and that only helps all of us.’’
2. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz appreciated fullback Drake Kulick’s touchdown in the Ohio State win for plenty of reasons, but for one reason in particular.
“When you factor in Drake’s story, everything he’s been through (after suffering a broken leg in the opening series of the 2016 regular-season finale against Nebraska), it wasn’t that long ago when he was out there in a lot of pain,’’ Ferentz said. “You think about the rehab and all, and he’s been in pain – I think he’s doing pretty good now but early in the season was hard for him.’’
That made it all the more special, beyond the norm.
“Forget the touchdown, whenever (fullbacks) get to touch the ball, it’s a big moment,’’ Ferentz said.
3. Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst has no shortage of respect for Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.
He first tried to the recruit the Hawkeyes’ starter when he was the head coach at Pitt, and then attempted to get him waiver from his commitment to Iowa after he was hired for the Wisconsin job.
“I think he’s done a nice job,’’ Chryst said. “He’s talented and does a good job of running their offense and it appears he is playing with a good deal of confidence right now.’’
The Menomonie, Wisconsin, native currently ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th nationally with 22 touchdown passes.
4. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has seen the NFL draft prognosticators who list Josh Jackson as a potential first-round pick.
He’s also seen the junior cornerback on a daily basis as well as in games, where Jackson leads the country with 20 passes defended including five interceptions.
Ferentz downplays the notion that Jackson is ready for the next level.
“I’ve got to tell you, with all respect to those draft board guys, it’s always interesting that you check the draft boards in October to draft time, you know? It’s good stuff to throw out there, but luckily they don’t get paid for accuracy,’’ Ferentz said.
5. Iowa made its debut in the College Football Playoff poll announced Tuesday night, settling in at No. 20 this week following the Hawkeyes’ win over Ohio State.
Making its first appearance in the CFP poll since 2015, Iowa is 6-3 and is working for a 2:30 p.m. game Saturday at Wisconsin that will be the Hawkeyes’ sixth against teams in this week’s CFP top 25.
Iowa is currently 2-3 against those teams, losing 17-10 to No. 12 Michigan State, beating No. 13 Ohio State 55-24, losing 21-19 to No. 14 Penn State, beating No. 21 Iowa State 44-41 in overtime and losing 17-10 in overtime to No. 25 Northwestern.
The unbeaten Badgers are currently eighth in the CFP poll.
6. Saturday’s win over Ohio State was Iowa’s fourth in its last five games against opponents ranked in the top five in the Associated Press poll.
Coach Kirk Ferentz believes his team’s success in those situations has a lot to do with the game-day atmosphere at Kinnick.
“The stadium has always been great and our fans have always been great and they seem to rise to the occasion,’’ Ferentz said. “Ultimately, you’ve got to do a good job of filtering through everything and really stay focused on what’s important. And then realizing that is going to happen, it’s got to be start to finish. You can’t leave the door open. We suffered that fate six, seven weeks ago, whenever it was (in a 21-19 loss to Penn State).’’
7. Iowa’s win over Ohio State attracted plenty of attention.
The ESPN telecast of the Hawkeyes’ 31-point victory over the Buckeyes was the second-most watched college football game across 10 networks and was the fourth most-viewed game on cable television this season.
An audience of 4,112,000 watched Iowa overwhelm the nation’s third-ranked team, making it ESPN’s largest audience for a 2:30 p.m. game this season.
8. Accolades continue for Iowa following last week’s win over Ohio State.
Cornerback Josh Jackson was named Tuesday by the Maxwell Football Club as its Bednarik Award national defensive player of the week and coach Kirk Ferentz was named the Bobby Dodd Trophy coach of the week for their efforts in helping the Hawkeyes to a 31-point win over the Buckeyes.
Jackson, named earlier the Big Ten co-defensive player of the week and the Walter Camp Foundation national defensive player of the week, was honored for his three-interception effort by the organization which presents the Bednarik Award to college football’s top defender.
Ferentz’s award was presented by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
That award is presented to a coach whose program displays integrity, leadership and scholarship while achieving success on the field.
9. A knee injury has ended the season for former Hawkeye Bryan Bulaga of the Green Bay Packers.
Coach Mike McCarthy announced Tuesday that Bulaga would be sidelined because of the injury suffered on a 46-yard reception by Randall Cobb during the fourth quarter of a loss Monday to Detroit.
The injury the second of the season for Bulaga, who missed three of the team’s first four games because of an ankle injury suffered in preseason training camp.
10. The season continues for four Hawkeye recruiting commitments whose high school teams advanced last weekend in the playoffs.
One of those teams, Prairie Ridge in Crystal Lake, Illinois, advanced because of the work a future Hawkeye.
Samson Evans scored on a 66-yard run with just under eight seconds remaining to give his team a 17-13 win over Cary Grove in the Illinois playoffs.
Elsewhere in Illinois, Noah Shannon had four tackles for Oswego in its 24-20 victory over Glenbard West.
In Iowa, Dillon Doyle had 10 tackles including one for a loss as Iowa City West advanced with a 27-9 win over Cedar Falls and Solon’s Tyler Linderbaum recovered a fumble and had four tackles in the Spartans’ 54-14 win over Decorah.