It’s a pig thing. Iowa and Minnesota take the field to play for the prized porker Floyd of Rosedale a little over 24 hours from now on the 100th anniversary of the Hawkeyes’ first homecoming game. To help you prepare, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your 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. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg is seeing growth in the Iowa offense, although that didn’t translate into enough growth for a win last weekend.
“Bottom line is we scored 31 points and we needed 33,’’ he said. “I think we’re taking steps in the right direction and we’re looking forward to doing that again this weekend against a tougher defense.’’
The Hawkeyes were a bit sluggish in the second and third quarter Saturday, something that didn’t escape starting center James Ferentz.
“If you look at those two quarters, we didn’t execute at some critical moments that could have affected the outcome of the game,’’ he said.
2. If he had been offered a scholarship, it’s likely that Minnesota starting quarterback Max Shortell would be suiting up for the Hawkeyes this weekend.
The 6-foot-6 native of Mission Hills, Kan., attended camp at Iowa for two years and the Hawkeyes were the first program to show much recruiting interest in Shortell, according to a story this week in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
“I thought I might end up there and now I’m so glad I’m here and get a chance to go up against them,’’ Shortell told the publication.
Shortell thought Iowa coaches might offer him a scholarship after a strong performance at Iowa’s junior day for recruits in 2010.
“I started talking to coaches and they said, ‘We don’t know what we want to do with you.’ I was like, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to look elsewhere. Thanks for making that decision for me,’’’ Shortell said.
Iowa signed Jake Rudock as the quarterback in that year’s recruiting class.
3. Iowa’s honorary captain for Saturday’s homecoming game will be Sedrick Shaw.
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leading rusher gained 4,156 yards and scored 33 touchdowns on 837 attempts during a career which ran from 1993-96. Shaw also finished with 438 receiving yards, 380 yards on kickoff returns and 35 total touchdowns.
At the completion of his final season in 1996, he held Hawkeye records for rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns and was tied for third in career scoring.
The only player in Iowa history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three different seasons, the Austin, Texas, native was a third-round selection of the New England Patriots in the 1997 NFL draft. He went on to have a three-year career at the professional level.
4. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is no fan of the college rules on punt returns.
Micah Hyde has led the Hawkeyes in the category, averaging 5.5 yards per return with a long of 11 yards on his six returned punts this season.
“I think college has a bad rule in punting, the fact that everybody is allowed downfield when the ball is snapped,’’ Ferentz said. “I think that’s a terrible rule college football, but that’s the rule. With the rule the way it is, I don’t know how many great returns you’ll see.’’
In the NFL, players on the line are not allowed downfield on punt returns.
For what it’s worth, Iowa opponents aren’t exactly piling up yards on punt returns either. They’ve averaged 7 yards on four returns.
5. It only seems like Minnesota’s Troy Stourdermire has been competing for Floyd of Rosedale since the time when the prized porker was a living, oinking being.
The Gophers’ cornerback and return specialist is fifth-year senior, returning this year after breaking his forearm early in the 2011 season and redshirting.
“He’s given us a real experienced veteran to put on the back end of our defense and we’re glad he’s on our team,’’ Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said.
When healthy, the Dallas native has been a thorn in the side of the Hawkeyes.
As a freshman in 2008, he had a 58-yard kickoff return and tied a Minnesota record with nine kickoff returns for 283 yards against Iowa.
He caught a couple of passes for 22 yards and returned two kickoffs for 38 yards the following year in a 12-0 loss at Kinnick Stadium before leading the Gophers’ defense in a winning effort in 2010 at Minneapolis, forcing two fumbles, recovering one, breaking up a pass and recording four tackles.
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Stoudermire currently holds the Big Ten record for kickoff-return yardage with 3,189 yards and his average return of 25.5 yards ranks sixth in Big Ten history.
6. Hawekeye receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley says offensive coordinator Greg Davis has been telling his unit this week to build on recent improvements, but to not be satisfied with the outcome of Saturday’s loss to Central Michigan.
“He tells us, feel good about your improvement, but don’t feel good about the loss,’’ Martin-Manley said. “That’s the one thing we saw on film. We did a lot of things well, just not enough of them.’’
7. The Golden Gophers have had three games decided by a touchdown or less, reaching 4-0 for the first time since 2008 with a 17-10 win over Syracuse. The Gophers also won at UNLV by three in triple overtime and defeated Western Michigan by five points.
8. Iowa coaches will join football coaches from across the nation who are participating Saturday in the American Football Coaches Association Coach to Cure MD by wearing a logo patch on their game-day clothing.
Fans will be asked to donate either online at CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word CURE to 90999, where a $5 donation will be charged to your phone bill.
The five-year-old program has raised more than $1 million dollars to help battle muscular dystrophy and last year, more than 10,000 college coaches at 505 institutions participated.
9. Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery is scheduled to speak Monday at the Davenport Grid Club’s weekly luncheon.
McCaffery will join football coaches from Quad-City area colleges and Mississippi Athletic Conference prep programs at the podium during the noon luncheon at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1111 W. 35th St., Davenport.
Tickets, priced at $9 apiece, include a buffet lunch and can be obtained at the door.
10. The Newton Road parking ramp on the Iowa campus will not be available for football parking on Saturday.
Located to the east of the Veterans Administration Hospital and across the street from the UI College of Medicine, the ramp on Newton Road will be closed to the public due to a function at the medical school.
Fans looking for another parking option are reminded that the Hawkeye Express commuter train will leave its depot adjacent to U.S. Highway 6 in Coralville beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Round-trip tickets are priced at $12 for adults and are free for children ages 12 and under. Fans with game-day reserved parking passes can exchange them for two free train tickets.
Return trips begin at the start of the fourth quarter and run for 90 minutes after the game concludes.