Just how good is Iowa’s defense?
One Hawkeye thinks it is as elite as its midseason statistics, among the topics in today’s Hawkeye 10@10.
All that and more are part of your daily dose of Iowa news and notes. Delivered each weekday at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. Daviyon Nixon isn’t downplaying the potential of the Iowa defense.
“Our defense can be the best defense in college football,’’ the sophomore tackle said. “We’ve just got to make sure we focus on every little detail that we can. And, we need to continue to play our hardest every game, every snap.’’
The Hawkeyes currently rank fourth in the Big Ten and fifth nationally in total defense, allowing 260.8 yards per game.
Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State rank ahead of Iowa among Big Ten teams.
Iowa’s defensive scoring average of 10.2 points per game ranks fourth nationally, trailing Wisconsin, Penn State, Oregon and Ohio State.
2. Through the first half of the week, coach Kirk Ferentz has liked the attitude he has seen from Iowa players as they work to push beyond the back-to-back losses that have left the Hawkeyes with a 4-2 record heading into Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Purdue.
“I’m just impressed with our whole football team. It’s a team-oriented deal. Everybody is accepting responsibility and ownership,’’ Ferentz said. “It’s like Chauncey (Golston said following Saturday’s loss), if it takes a shutout, we’ll get a shutout. That’s the right attitude.’’
3. Asked if Iowa planned to deploy personnel at the “cash’’ hybrid linebacker/defensive back position more frequently against pass-happy Purdue as opposed to keeping an additional linebacker on the field, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz that would likely lead toward the use of more younger personnel on the back end of the Iowa defense.
“There’s a tradeoff there,’’ coach Kirk Ferentz said. “When you play a guy like (Penn State’s KJ) Hamler or (Purdue’s Rondale) Moore last year, really tough out to get. You’ve really got to be smart about how you approach those guys because you have to respect. I said that last week. This guy is a home run hitter.’’
4. Riley Moss returned to action and lined up as part of the nickel package in the Hawkeye secondary last weekend against Penn State.
“Technically, he’d be a nickel,’’ Ferentz said. “Nickel and cash look a lot alike in my mind. If you’re confused, so am I.’’
5. Purdue will test the Iowa defense with a collection of five healthy receivers who are averaging 10 or more yards per reception – numbers that do not include injured Rondale Moore and Jared Sparks.
The Boilermakers’ receiving corps has been led by David Bell, a freshman who has averaged 16.8 yards on his 26 receptions this season.
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6. Offensive lineman Justin Britt is among true freshmen who will continue to play this season and not preserve a redshirt year.
“We’ve made the decision that he’s playing,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s definitely a guy we are going straight ahead with.’’
Britt is currently listed as the back-up to Mark Kallenberger at right guard on the Hawkeye depth chart.
7. Iowa senior quarterback Nate Stanley moved into fifth place on Iowa’s career list for passing yardage and total yardage during Saturday’s game against Penn State.
Stanley threw for a season-high 286 yards against the Nittany Lions, raising his career total to 6,862 and passing the 6,725 yards Matt Rodgers passed for during his Iowa career.
Stanley also had 281 yards of total offense, moving him to 6,720 yards and past Chuck Hartlieb for fifth on that all-time list.
8. Iowa has an all-time record of 59-43-5 in its 107 homecoming games.
The Hawkeyes have won seven of their last nine homecoming games and are 15-5 on homecoming during coach Kirk Ferentz’s tenure.
9. Purdue tight end Brycen Hopkins was named as the John Mackey Tight End of the Week for his work last weekend against Maryland.
The senior recorded 10 receptions for 140 yards in the win over the Terrapins to earn the award for the second time this season.
Against Maryland, Hopkins had the most catches for a Boilermakers tight end since Tim Stratton had 12 catches in the 2001 Sun Bowl against Washington State and the most yardage for a Purdue tight end since Dustin Keller had 150 against Central Michigan in the 2007 Motor City Bowl.
Hopkins is the son of Moline native and former Illinois offensive lineman Brad Hopkins.
10. A corn monument has been an Iowa homecoming tradition for decades.
This year’s monument is a tribute to Hawkeye Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick.
His retired jersey number, 24, is made out of ears of corn and stands on the west side of the Old Capitol on the Iowa Pentacrest with a base of photo likenesses of Kinnick.
The tribute celebrates the 80th anniversary of Kinnick becoming Iowa’s lone Heisman recipient.