Jake Rudock’s steady play impresses Michigan coach Brady Hoke, talk of bowl games and a former Hawkeye becomes a champion. All are part of today’s Michigan’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes.
1. Opponents have had success blitzing against Michigan this season, but coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t convinced that can work for Iowa although the Hawkeyes have shown increased pressure in recent games.
“The issue for us is that we are not a big blitz team,’’ Ferentz said. “Our percentages are probably way lower than most people. Typically for us to get there, we have to do it with the front four and that is an area we have to improve on.’’
2. The steadiness in the play of Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock has impressed Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
“We think mechanically, technique-wise, he plays the position as well as anybody in the conference,’’ Hoke said. “That shows in the way he moves up in the pocket, goes through his reads and if he doesn’t like what he sees, the way he goes through his check downs. ... He does a really nice job of handling that football team.’’
3. Kirk Ferentz leaves the bowl talk to fans.
“I read all that last week and put it down, and clearly nobody knows anything about anything right now,’’ Ferentz said. “The landscape looks different today than it did a week ago, and it’ll probably keep changing. That’s my guess, especially at the top.
“Every November is panic season. We’ve got five or six teams that should be in the championship game, and it’s amazing how that number gets pared down a little bit as things go, so we’ll just see where it goes. Bowls are the same way. We’re not too worried about that.’’
4. Expect Jordan Canzeri to be a more significant part of Iowa’s running game this week.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said his 165-yard rushing performance at Purdue, following a solid late-game effort vs. Wisconsin, has positioned Canzeri to see more time.
“The other good news is with the bye week, I think our backs will be fresher,’’ Ferentz said, referring to Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock.
He said both were rested during the bye week in hopes of giving them “fresh legs’’ for the final two regular season games.
5. Tight end Devin Funchess, as expected, has been among quarterback Devin Gardner’s primary targets this season for Michigan.
Funchess’ 684 receiving yards are the most all-time by a Wolverines’ tight end in a single season, surpassing the previous record of 662 set in 1969 by Jim Mandich.
He has averaged 89.8 receiving yards over Michigan’s last six games and leads tight ends in the Big Ten with 42 catches this season.
6. Watching Michigan and Northwestern take things to triple overtime last week, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz had no strong feelings about the potential outcome.
“If I did, it didn’t matter like most of my stuff,’’ Ferentz said. “I was kind of watching to see what happened.’’
7. Iowa has a new champion among its football alumni.
Former Hawkeye defensive lineman Ettore Ewen became a World Wrestling Entertainment champion on Monday after beating Joseph “Curtis Axel’’ Henning for the WWE’s intercontinental championship in Nashville.
Wrestling under the name Big E Langston, the 27-year-old dealt with a number of injuries which cut his football career short, leading him to shift his attention to powerlifting in 2009. He made his WWE debut three years later.
8. The Hawkeyes’ toughness has always impressed Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
“Whenever I’ve coached against an Iowa team, that has always stood out,’’ Hoke said. “Some of it is coach (Kirk) Ferentz, he’s a line coach who knows the way the game needs to be played and how to go about it, some of it is the way they are set up. They’ve always been that way.’’
9. C.J. Fiedorowicz, B.J. Lowery and Anthony Hitchens all left Iowa’s game at Purdue with injuries, but should be good to go this week.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said all were expected to be on the practice field Tuesday.
Defensive end Dominic Alvis remains the biggest question. Ferentz said he has seen limited work in practice as he attempts to return from a back injury. He said Alvis’ ability to play for extended periods and be effective when he is on the field will determine if the senior has a chance to play in his final home game.
10. There will be plenty of room at Kinnick on Saturday.
Iowa has approximately 4,000 tickets remaining for its game with Michigan.