Iowa’s final tune-up before the start of Big Ten play comes Saturday against Central Michigan, a three-win team in each of the last two seasons which is off to a 1-1 start this year. We’re tuning up for conference play at the Hawkeye 10 @ 10 as well, but first here is today’s daily dose of Iowa football news, notes and information.
The 10 @ 10 appears weekdays at approximately 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, updating you on the Hawkeyes, the Big Ten and Iowa’s upcoming opponents.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10:
1. With an 18-of-28 performance against Northern Iowa, quarterback James Vandenberg continues a string of success when he completes more than 60 percent of his passes.
The Hawkeyes are 9-1 when Vandenberg has reached that mark over the last two sesaons.
Vandenberg currently ranks sixth in the Big Ten with a passing average of 197.7 yards per game, completing 59-of-103 passes for 593 yards this season.
He sits fifth in the league in pass efficiency and is currently eighth on Iowa’s career passing charts with 4,130 yards. He trails Kyle McCann by 219 yards for the seventh spot on the list but trails Matt Sherman by 2,269 yards for the sixth spot.
2. Iowa’s depth chart included only minimal changes this week beyond the running back position, where Mark Weisman is listed as the starter and Mike Malloy is the second-team back.
They replace injured Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon, who coach Kirk Ferentz has said both have a chance to play in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game with Central Michigan although their status won’t likely be determined until the middle of the week.
Brad Rogers and Jonathan Gimm bump up to the starting and back-up role at fullback with Weisman’s shift to running back.
On the defensive side of the ball, the way Iowa has started the past two weeks with Steve Bigach at left tackle and Dominic Alvis at right end is now reflected on the depth chart. Carl Davis backs up Bigach and Melvin Spears is listed as the back-up to Alvis.
3. Players from Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern and Indiana were named Monday as Big Ten players of the week.
The Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller was named the offensive player of the week after throwing for a career-high 245 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for a 55-yard touchdown in OSU’s 35-28 victory over California.
Linebacker Michael Mauti of Penn State is the defensive player of the week. He had 12 tackles, including two tackles for losses totaling 26 yards in the Nittany Lions’ 34-7 win over Navy.
Special teams honors went to Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien, a junior placekicker who tied a school record with five field goals and scored 16 points in the Wildcats’ 22-13 win over Boston College.
Nate Sudfeld of Indiana and Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes shared freshman of the week honors. Sudfeld, a quarterback, came off the bench in the fourth quarter to throw for 172 yards and two scores in the Hoosiers’ loss to Ball State while Barnes had five tackles and forced a fumble in the Nittany Lions’ victory.
4. Central Michigan coach Dan Enos said his team’s experience of playing Michigan State on Sept. 15 should benefit the Chippewas to a degree as they prepare for Saturday’s visit to Iowa.
“I felt like we did some decent things in the run game against a pretty good defensive team,’’ Enos said. “I would hope that we would gain some confidence from the way we were able to block them.’’
Still, he believes the Hawkeyes will be an entirely different beast.
“Iowa does a great job with its schemes and has for many years,’’ Enos said. “They’ve played the same schemes for a long time and they are a sound, physical football team. This will be a whole new challenge for us.’’
5. Michigan State’s loss to Notre Dame on Saturday added to the Big Ten’s early-season woes.
For the first time since Sept. 24, 2001, there are no Big Ten teams rated in the top 15 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
6. Central Michigan’s roster includes an Iowa State transfer, defensive back Anthony Young.
However, the California native suffered a knee injury in the Chippewas’ season-opening win over Southeast Missouri State and is listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game in Iowa City. Coach Dan Enos said Young will likely return on Sept. 29 when Central Michigan opens Mid-American Conference play with a game against Northern Illinois.
“Anthony’s done a tremendous job for us since he’s been up here,’’ Enos said. “He had a good summer in the classroom, and has showed tremendous intensity on the field. We’re happy to have him in our program and it was disappointing that he was injured so early in the season.’’
7. With three extra-point kicks against Northern Iowa, Mike Meyer has moved to within one PAT kick of matching Nate Kaeding’s Iowa record of 60 consecutive PAT kicks without a miss.
The junior from Dubuque Wahlert also improved to 8-of-9 in field goal attempts this season with a pair of kicks against the Panthers.
His work has moved him to 11th on Iowa’s career scoring chart and Meyer will enter Saturday’s game against Central Michigan six points shy of tying Tim Dwight and Ronnie Harmon for ninth on that spot.
8. After going 0-for-6 in red zone opportunities in the first two games of the season, the Hawkeyes reached the end zone twice on four trips inside the 20-yard line Saturday against Northern Iowa. Iowa also scored a pair of field goals.
9. On this date in 1976, Iowa scored on its first seven possessions and routed Syracuse 41-3, the Hawkeyes’ most lop-sided win in eight seasons.
10. Television plans for the Hawkeyes’ Sept. 29 Big Ten opener against Minnesota have been somewhat determined.
The game will kickoff at 11 a.m., which was announced previously, and will be aired by ESPN or ESPN2. The network will determine which channel it will air on following this weekend’s games.