Pushing toward Purdue together, a handful of depth chart moves and more are part of today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10.
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Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. They’re in it together. Iowa football players figure they’ll move beyond their current two-game losing streak as a team, not by pointing figures at one unit or another.
“If you start blaming people, that’s when the team starts to fall apart. We move as one,’’ Iowa safety Geno Stone said. “This is a team sport. We’ve just got to move forward.’’
Defensive end A.J. Epenesa echoed those sentiments.
“We’re a team. We’re a family. We’re a brotherhood,’’ Epenesa said. “We’re going to come back every week and attack it the same.’’
Epenesa said the defense shares some responsibility for the offense’s lack of point production against Michigan and Penn State, pointing to the inability of Iowa to get off the field on third down, leading to poorer field position for the offense when a drive does begin.
“We’re doing the right things. We just have to do them better,’’ Epenesa said. “On the ‘D’ line, we’re playing hard and being where we’re supposed to be. We have to get off the ball a little quicker.’’
2. Changes in the Iowa depth chart for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Purdue generally reflect the injury that will sideline Cole Banwart for the remainder of the season on the offensive line and the return of healthy Brady Reiff and Matt Hankins on defense.
On offense, Mark Kallenberger moves into the starting right guard position he made his starting debut at in Saturday’s Penn State game and that move has led to multiple changes on the second-team offensive line.
This week, Jack Plumb shifts into the back-up left tackle position Kallenberger filled and Levi Paulsen replaces Plumb as the back-up right tackle.
Justin Britt, who was listed as a third right guard a week ago, is now the lone listed back-up to Kallenberger.
On defense, Brady Reiff returns to the starting role at right tackle and Austin Schulte moves to the second-team slot there and Matt Hankins returns to the starting slot at left cornerback, shifting Michael Ojemudia into the starting spot on the right side and moving D.J. Johnson from starting at right corner to backing up Hankins on the left side.
The only other change on this week’s chart is at right defensive end, where grad transfer Zach VanValkenburg moves from the third line to the second, trading places with Amani Jones behind starter A.J. Epenesa.
3. Discounting yardage lost because of sacks, Iowa’s rushing attack has averaged 2.8 yards per carry over the past two games after averaging right at 5 yards per attempt in the previous four games.
As much as anything, that is what frustrates Iowa offensive linemen.
“It stings,’’ offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs said. “It’s a big thing for us, establishing the run game. I think it’s kind of like a snowball. Once we get the run going, everything else kind of goes. That’s how it is for the ‘O’ line. If we’re rolling, everybody else is rolling, too. It’s on us to come out and set the tone and get it going on the ground.’’
4. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley continued his climb up the Iowa record books with his work last weekend against Penn State.
Stanley threw the 61st touchdown pass of his career against the Nittany Lions, moving him into a tie with Drew Tate for second on Iowa’s all-time list.
Chuck Long holds the Iowa school record with 74 touchdown passes.
5. Illinois’ move of a 2021 football game against Nebraska to Dublin, Ireland, will give the Fighting Illini a bye week before visiting Iowa.
It was announced Monday that Illinois and Nebraska will open the 2021 season in the Aer Lingus College Football Series, shifting a game originally scheduled to be played in Champaign on Nov. 13, 2021 to Ireland on Aug. 28, 2021.
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The move to week zero on the schedule will give the Fighting Illini a second bye week during the 2021 season, one week before playing at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 20, 2021.
The game is the second in a series of games that begins with a match-up between Notre Dame and Navy next season.
Illinois and Nebraska will travel to Ireland early in game week, giving teams a chance to practice there and acclimate to the time difference in addition to participating in several cultural experiences.
6. Coming off of concussion protocol, T.J. Hockenson returned to action for Detroit in its 23-22 loss to Green Bay in Monday night NFL action.
Hockenson caught four passes for 21 yards for the Lions.
7. Penn State punter Blake Gillikin was named Monday as the Big Ten special teams player of the week for efforts against Iowa.
The senior from Smyrna, Georgia, punted seven times against the Hawkeyes, downing three inside the 10-yard line and five inside the 20.
His efforts helped leave Iowa’s offense with an average starting spot of its 17-yard line. Iowa is now preparing to face two other players who received weekly honors from the Big Ten.
Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer was named the league’s offensive player of the week and the Boilermakers’ David Bell was selected as the Big Ten freshman of the week for their work against Maryland.
Plummer completed 33-of-41 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns, an 80.5 percent completion rate that is the third-best among Big Ten quarterbacks attempting 40 passes in a game since 2000.
Bell, an Indianapolis receiver who Iowa attempted to recruit out of Warren Central High School, caught a career-high nine passes for the Boilermakers for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Minnesota linebacker Kamal Martin was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week.
The senior recorded a career-high 15 tackles in the Golden Gophers win over Nebraska.
8. Running back Gavin Williams had a huge game for West Des Moines Dowling last weekend, highlighting the work of Iowa commitments at the prep level.
Williams rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries in a 61-7 rout of Sioux City East in Iowa 4A district play.
Elsewhere, wide receiver A.J. Lawson caught seven passes for 32 yards for Decatur MacArthur in its 40-7 win over Springfield Lanphier in Illinois, tight end Elijah Yelverton caught four passes for 55 yards for Cedar Hill Trinity Christian in Texas and quarterback Deuce Hogan completed 18-of-28 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns for Grapevine Faith Christian in Texas.
On defense, linebacker Jay Higgins totaled 18 tackles for Indianapolis Brebeuf, defensive end Yahya Black had six tackles for Marshall (Minn.), defensive end Lukas Van Ness finished with five tackles for Barrington (Ill.) and defensive lineman Logan Jones recorded five tackles for Council Bluffs Lewis Central.
9. Carson King, whose GameDay plea for beer money on a sign on ESPN’s College GameDay at the Iowa-Iowa State game last month raised just over $3 million for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, is being immortalized on a bobblehead.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee announced Monday that King is the latest subject in its Bobblehead for a Cause series.
The bobblehead features a likeness of King hold his sign above his head. It is being available for preorder through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum online store and $5 from every bobblehead sold will be donated by the museum to the King Family Fund at the Iowa City children’s hospital.
10. This is homecoming week at Iowa and Hawkeye men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery and his wife, Margaret, will be the featured guests at the Iowa Center for Advancement’s fall philanthropy talk.
The McCafferys will talk about their work with the American Cancer Society and their role in creating a new cancer center for adolescents and young adults at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The moderated discussion will be held at 7 p.m. today in the Main Lounge at the Iowa Memorial Union. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.