Saturday’s game will end with a trophy dash for the winning team.
The battle for the Heartland Trophy, the only traveling trophy among the four Iowa plays for each year, is among the items in today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa football news and notes.
1. Wisconsin’s offense may be without its leading receiver Saturday, but the Badgers are still giving the Hawkeyes plenty to work on.
“Their run game is as good as it has been since I’ve been here,’’ linebacker Ben Niemann said. “The running backs are good, their tight end (Troy Fumagalli) is as good as we’ve seen and it all starts up front with a good offensive line. They’re a handful and they’ve got our attention this week.’’
2. The only empty spot in the Iowa trophy case at the Iowa football complex is the one that houses the Heartland Trophy, the likeness of a bull that Iowa and Wisconsin have played for since 2004.
That’s a big deal for the Hawkeyes this week.
“We’re going to go in there hungry,’’ fullback Drake Kulick said. “They have our trophy and we don’t plan on leaving there without it.’’
Since losing all four trophy games Iowa plays during the 2014 season, the Hawkeyes have had success in reclaiming hardware.
Iowa is 9-1 in trophy games since the start of the 2015, losing only a 17-9 game at Kinnick Stadium to Wisconsin last season.
The Badgers have had their share of recent success in trophy games as well.
Wisconsin has won 15 of its last 16 trophy games against Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.
The lone loss?
To the Hawkeyes in 2015 when Iowa won 10-6 in Madison.
The Badgers currently lead the Heartland Trophy series 6-5.
3. James Daniels saw room for improvement as he watched tape of the Hawkeyes’ win over Ohio State.
“I’ve had better games than I had last week,’’ he said. “It was a good game, but not my best.’’
Daniels will continue to work toward that this week against a Wisconsin defense that is allowing 87.8 yards per game on the ground.
“They’re good, but it seems like they’re always good,’’ Daniels said. “We have to be at our best again this week. We don’t have a choice.’’
4. Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell was named Wednesday as one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, presented by the NCAA to one Football Bowl Subdivision players who has notable achievements in four areas, community, classroom, character and competition.
Nationwide fan voting is part of the selection process and vans can vote for a winner at seniorCLASSaward.com through Dec. 4.
The award’s recipient is announced in early January. Jewell currently leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally with 92 tackles.
Previously named a semifinalist for both the Butkus Award and Bednarik Award, the Decorah, Iowa native has led the Hawkeyes in tackles the past two seasons.
5. Iowa’s punting game remains a work in progress.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said playing time for sophomore Colten Rastetter and freshman Ryan Gersonde is being determined “punt to punt.’’
Rastetter has been used primarily for rugby-style punts lately but both punters have struggled with consistency issues.
“We’ll just kind of keep going back and forth,’’ Ferentz said. “We’re trying to find a winning combination.’’
6. Last Saturday’s win over Ohio State was the 141st for Iowa during Kirk Ferentz’s 19 seasons as Iowa coach, moving him within two wins of Hayden Fry and the program’s career record for victories.
Ferentz touched on the subject in response to a question during his weekly radio call-in show Wednesday, saying he remains appreciative of the opportunity Fry presented him to become the Hawkeyes’ line coach in 1981.
“For nine years, to be part of that staff, I enjoyed life, enjoyed coaching and when I returned here 19 years ago, I hoped to create the same type of situation where the staff enjoyed and respected each other’s company,’’ Ferentz said. “Coach Fry put together the entire team, not just the players on the field. So much of what I’ve learned, I learned from him.’’
7. Wisconsin may be without one of its top reserves on the defensive line Saturday.
Nose tackle Garrett Rand, who has played in nine games this season, has been seen on campus on crutches this week after reportedly suffering a torn ligament in a foot.
8. The polecat play that Iowa executed with its field goal unit for a first down against Ohio State wasn’t executed to perfection.
“There was one guy who wasn’t where he was supposed to be, but Colten (Rastatter) got the pass off and (Tyler) Kluver got his arms around it, so we’ll take it,’’ Ferentz said.
9. Three Hawkeye commitments have been awarded all-regional honors by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.
Running back Henry Geil of Green Bay Preble, offensive lineman Cody Ince of Balsam Lake Unity and tight end Jack Plumb of Bay Port all were named to the all-region teams, making them eligible for selection to all-state teams that will be announced next week.
Geil rushed for 1,479 yards on 224 carries and scored 16 touchdowns during a 6-4 season for Preble.
Ince finished with 21 tackles for a loss among 101 stops for a 9-3 team.
Plumb, working primarily as a blocker, finished with five catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns on an 11-1 team.
10. The Greater Quad-Cities I-Club is hosting a game watch for the Wisconsin game on Saturday.
The event is scheduled to be held at Rudy’s Tacos, 2214 E. 11th St., Davenport.
Door prizes and a silent auction will be held at the game watch, which is open to the public.