Hawkeye swag and Buckeye memories from the only Iowa player who has competed against Ohio State.
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. Defensive tackle Nathan Bazata cuts right to the point.
The Ohio State offensive line that Iowa will face this weekend is far from ordinary.
“By far, it’s the best offensive line we’ve seen so far this season,’’ Bazata said. “They’re physical, they’re fast and they’re solid in what they do. They are the biggest test we’ve had so far. I don’t think we’ve played against guys who have the athleticism that they do, that move as well as they do.’’
2. While Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz prefers the look of Iowa’s traditional uniforms, most Hawkeye players like the change in attire the team will wear for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game against Ohio State.
“I love the uniforms,’’ running back Akrum Wadley said. “I told coach, ‘That’s the swag.’”
Receiver Matt VandeBerg and linebacker Josey Jewell could take them or leave them.
“I like what we usually wear,’’ VandeBerg said.
A handful of players participated in a photo shoot during Iowa’s bye week for work that was used a video the university released Sunday night to debut the uniforms.
Quarterback Nate Stanley said players were sworn to secrecy before entering the room.
“We had to turn over our phones before going into the room,’’ tight end Noah Fant said. “They thought we’d take photos and send them out.’’
3. Welcome to November, a month that has belonged to Iowa in recent seasons.
The Hawkeyes are 7-1 in November games over the past two years and something Iowa players are well aware of.
“Coach always talks about us playing our best football in November,’’ running back Akrum Wadley said. “Teams either go up or go down and we talk about us going up, not the roller coaster where you go up and down. We just try to be consistent.’’
Wadley said he has no idea why Iowa has traditionally played its best football during the final month of the regular season.
“I guess we know what it takes,’’ he said.
4. Iowa and Ohio State have not played since 2013 and just one current Hawkeye, Matt VandeBerg, saw action in the Hawkeyes’ 34-24 loss at Ohio Stadium.
“I remember it was an exciting environment,’’ said VandeBerg, who played but had no statistics in the game. “We took the game into the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite pull it off.’’
The Hawkeyes surprised the Buckeyes with by utilizing three tight end sets and that helped Iowa to a halftime lead at the “horseshoe.’’
Jake Duzey led that effort with six receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown as part of a 19-of-34 passing effort by Jake Rudock that covered 245 yards and resulted in three touchdowns.
5. James Butler’s performance in his return against Minnesota was solid enough to earn a follow-up opportunity.
Butler rushed for 28 yards last weekend in his first action since suffering a dislocated elbow during a Sept. 16 game against North Texas, but beyond yards he brings something else to the Hawkeye offense.
“He’s a guy that I think gives us some energy and his leadership, we don’t have a lot of seniors in that huddle,’’ coach Kirk Ferentz said. “So you get another senior with good eyes stepping in that huddle. That’s a really, really positive thing for us.’’
6. Iowa offensive linemen Keegan Render and Ross Reynolds rotated at left guard during the Hawkeyes’ game against Minnesota.
Expect the offensive line rotation to continue.
“We’ve kind of got six guys right now I think are in that category,’’ coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You can see more of it or, you know, see it again.’’
The Hawkeyes’ depth issue on the offensive line shows up on this week’s depth chart, where Sean Welsh and Levi Paulsen are both listed at two of the 10 slots on the two-deep roster.
7. Urban Meyer hasn’t been to Kinnick Stadium since 1986 when he was working as a graduate assistant for Ohio State.
He does remember some things about what it’s like to play in Iowa City.
“I know their fans are right on you. I know they can touch your shoulder pads,’’ Meyer said.
8. The season continues for a number of Hawkeye recruits whose high school teams are currently in playoff competition.
In Illinois, Samson Evans used the blocking of Jeff Jenkins to rush for 125 yards and five touchdowns for unbeaten Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge in its 61-24 opening-round win over Crystal Lake Central.
Oswego’s Noah Shannon had two sacks and five tackles for a loss among nine tackles in his team’s 28-14 win over Naperville North.
In Indiana, Tyrone Tracy scored four touchdowns for Decatur Central in its 47-8 sectional semifinal win over Arsenal Tech and cornerback D.J. Johnson finished with five tackles in North Central’s loss to Pike.
Tight end recruit Jack Plumb was part of a four-overtime game in Wisconsin, blocking for Bay Port in its 57-51 win over Stevens Point.
In Iowa, Dillon Doyle had seven tackles and two sacks for Iowa City West in its 49-7 4A win over Cedar Rapids Washington and Tyler Linderbaum of Solon had four stops in a 34-2 3A win over Decorah.
9. Close games are part of the Hawkeyes’ DNA.
Since the start of the 2014 season, Iowa is 13-10 in games decided by one possession.
That includes a 2-3 record this season in games decided by seven points or less.
10. Ohio State’s leading rusher, J.K. Dobbins, is averaging 7.6 yards per carry.
That ranks seventh nationally and compares to the four yards per gain that Iowa’s rushing leaders Akrum Wadley and James Butler both average.
The freshman from LaGrange, Texas, has rushed for 863 yards this season.