Bringing the heat, climbing the career charts and an honor for Micah Hyde 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. Anthony Nelson continues to bring the heat.
The sophomore defensive end is tied for second in the Big Ten with six sacks, matching his season total from a year ago.
As a team, Iowa has sacked opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season. Ohio State’s offensive line has surrendered 14 heading into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game at Kinnick Stadium.
“We’ve been able to get some pressure on the quarterback and moving forward, that is something we’re going to need to continue to do,’’ Nelson said. “It’s been a group effort.’’
Nelson likes the eight-player rotation Iowa has been using across its front four defensively.
“It’s keeping everybody fresh,’’ Nelson said.
2. Matt VandeBerg is two receptions away from moving into sole possession of a spot in the top 10 on Iowa’s career list.
The senior who has caught passes in each of the last 27 games he has played has 125 career catches, one behind Marv Cook who is currently in 10th with 126 receptions from 1986-88.
3. Athleticism sets Ohio State apart from many of the defenses Nate Stanley has prepared for this season.
“They’re super physical and fast, and they do a lot of things that other teams can’t do on defense because of how athletic they are,’’ Stanley said.
The defensive line is the strength of that segment of the Ohio State team and like Iowa, the Buckeyes are using a rotation up front.
Six defensive linemen have started at least five games for Ohio State as it mixes and matches personnel based on the opponent.
4. Iowa’s will present the Ohio State defense with something it hasn’t seen much of this season — a pro-style offense.
The Buckeyes have faced a steady diet of spread attacks on their way to a 7-1 start, making Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game a different type of challenge for the nation’s third-ranked team.
“It’s an NFL offense, so when you watch a game on Sunday, that’s what you see,’’ offensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “It’s very different, an inside and outside zone team. They’ll throw the ball down the field.’’
Schiano has been impressed with the work of Nate Stanley in his first season at quarterback and freshman receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette has caught his attention, too, calling him “electrically fast.’’
5. Kirk Ferentz doesn’t mince words in heaping praise on the abilities of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett.
“He’s a winner. When I watch film, I see the guy’s a winner,’’ Ferentz said. “He’s a really accomplished football player and to lead your team back the way he did (last week against Penn State) … that doesn’t happen by accident.’’
Barrett has completed his last 16 passes entering Saturday’s game, including all 13 he attempted in the fourth quarter to rally the Buckeyes to a 39-38 win over the Nittany Lions.
6. Ohio State hasn’t scored less than 31 points in a game this season and has topped 50 in four of its last five games, limited to 39 last week by Penn State.
The Hawkeyes haven’t given up 40 points at home since a 40-24 loss to Illinois on Oct. 30, 1999 in coach Kirk Ferentz’s first season and last allowed 30 points at Kinnick last season in a 38-31 loss to Northwestern.
7. There will be a premium on making plays against Ohio State and Iowa receivers get that.
Junior Nick Easley, who leads the Hawkeyes with 36 receptions, said Iowa must eliminate the drops that have been an issue in recent weeks.
“Nobody goes out there wanting to drop a pass. It comes down to focusing, making those plays. It’s a mental game,’’ Easley said. “You’ve just got to focus, and then you’ve got to really be able to forget about it. Thinking about it isn’t going to help you get to the next play.’’
8. Ohio State arrives at Kinnick Stadium on an offensive roll.
The Buckeyes have piled up at least 500 yards of offense in their last six games and had thrown for at least 300 yards during that same timeframe.
9. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer expects his team to face the toughest road environment it has faced so far this season on Saturday.
Ohio State has played at Nebraska, but quickly took the crowd out of that game and a trip to Michigan remains on the schedule.
“Iowa has a rich tradition, like Nebraska,’’ Meyer said. “These kind of places – I remember being there years ago. It’s a strong tradition and we anticipate a really big Big Ten crowd.’’
10. Former Hawkeye Micah Hyde of the Buffalo Bills was named Thursday as the AFC Defensive Player of the Month.
Hyde recorded four of his NFL-leading five interceptions during the month of October.
A free agent signing of the Bills last spring, Hyde has 26 tackles and six pass break ups so far this season.
His work includes four tackles and one assist in last night’s loss to the New York Jets.