The Hawkeyes are getting down to business as they prepare to face one of the Big Ten’s most productive offenses this week, all part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Hawkeye news and notes that appears each weekday at 10 a.m. at hawkmania.com.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10:
1. The series between Iowa and Wisconsin is tied at 42-42-2 and Hawkeye free safety Tanner Miller expects this year’s game to be equally tight.
“It was a dogfight with them the last time we played (in 2010) and it’s going to be a dogfight again,’’ Miller said. “I think is probably going to be another game that is going to be decided in the fourth quarter.’’
2. Quarterback Jake Rudock said the Hawkeyes are finding ways to mix things up offensively in the right situations.
“What we’re doing is all predicated on what is going on across the line,’’ Rudock said. “If they’re going to gang up and put nine guys in the box, we’re going to look for a way to take advantage of that.’’
3. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said he has gained an appreciation for Iowa’s approach to the game while game planning for the Hawkeyes the past two weeks.
“They play the game the right way,’’ Andersen said. “They don’t put their players in a position where they ask them to do more than they are capable of schematically. Up front, on the back end, their kids are solid and the same with special teams. It’s an impressive crew that I’ve watched from afar over the years and when I’ve watched even closer now, it’s more impressive.’’
4. The fake punt which led Wisconsin to a 31-30 victory over Iowa in the most recent meeting between the teams hasn’t been forgotten.
“You don’t forget plays like that,’’ said Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey, who was on the field when the Badgers ran for a first down on the play.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz remembers it as well, but said the play in 2010 was simply part of a string of tough losses for the Hawkeyes.
“We had three in a row that were really tough,’’ Ferentz said. “It was a tough stretch. You can pick any play, any instance out there. It was a tough stretch. … Any time you lose, it’s a kick in the gut. It’s ancient history, though, really doesn’t have much to do with the game this year. A lot of these guys were in high school in 2010.’’
5. The winner of Saturday’s game will become bowl eligible.
The Badgers have went to a bowl game in each of the last 11 seasons, the longest active streak in the Big Ten and a string that is tied for the eighth-longest streak in the nation.
6. A quarter of the 12 passes Tevaun Smith has caught this season for Iowa came in last week’s win over Northwestern and he is now averaging 10 yards per reception.
Coach Kirk Ferentz likes the growth he sees from Smith, and has hopes that he can become as productive as the player who will be wearing the same number for the Badgers this weekend, Jared Abbrederis.
“If our No. 4 can be become like their No. 4, that would be a good thing,’’ Ferentz said. “I’d really like to see that happen. Tevaun is improving. That’s possible.’’
7. Wisconsin’s offense is built on its solid ground game, where the Badgers are averaging just under 300 yards per game, but Joel Stave can throw the ball around a bit as well.
The Badgers are one of seven teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision who have rushed for 2,000 yards and thrown for 1,500 so far in 2013.
The others are Oregon, Baylor, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, BYU and Auburn.
8. What type of a challenge does the Iowa defense face this week?
Wisconsin averages 7.47 yards per play this season, the sixth-best average of any team in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the best average among Big Ten teams.
Baylor leads the nation, averaging 9.03 yards per play.
Wisconsin has helped itself with 12 plays of 50-plus yards, ranking second only to Baylor nationally.
9. James Morris is the first Iowa football player in nearly a decade to be named Big Ten defensive player of the week twice in the same season.
Jonathan Babineaux was the last Hawkeye to achieve what Morris has done twice this year. The current Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week twice in 2004.
Morris won the award this week and also won it for his work in Iowa’s Big Ten opening win over Minnesota.
10. Saturday’s game is Iowa’s annual blackout game at Kinnick Stadium.
Fans are encouraged to wear black clothing for the 11 a.m. game against Wisconsin.