Iowa will likely be without two of its skill players on offense this week against Northern Iowa, an opponent coach Kirk Ferentz likes to see on the Hawkeyes’ schedule.
That and more are part of today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 0, 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. Expect running back Ivory Kelly-Martin and receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette to sit out Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. game against Northern Iowa.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said during his weekly call-in radio show on Wednesday night that both players are making progress as the work their way back from injuries but he doesn’t expect either to play against the Panthers.
“I don’t think they’ll be available this week,’’ Ferentz said. “We’ll see where they are on Sunday and go from there.’’
Kelly-Martin hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury during the second half of Iowa’s season opener against Northern Illinois.
Smith-Marsette left last week’s game against Iowa State with a shoulder injury he suffered following a 45-yard reception.
2. Nick Easley caught 51 passes last season for Iowa, but has wrapped his arms around just one ball through the Hawkeyes’ first two games.
The senior says he’s fine physically.
“I’m all good,’’ Easley said. “It’s just the way the games have played out. We’re running the ball pretty well and I’ll be there when I’m needed.’’
3. Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz believes in the idea of Iowa playing occasional games against Northern Iowa, seeing it as a beneficial situation for both programs.
“I really think we’re a very unique state of three million people. You’ve got two teams that won bowl games last year and you’ve got an FCS program that’s always in the playoffs,’’ Ferentz said. “They’re always chasing the championship. I think it’s something we should all embrace. I think that’s our plan, to at least continue that.’’
In addition to Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. game, Iowa is scheduled to open the 2020 season with a home game against the Panthers.
4. Players look forward to night games at Kinnick Stadium as much as fans do.
“It’s a pretty crazy atmosphere under the lights at Kinnick,’’ safety Jake Gervase said. “When our fans have all day to prepare for a game, it makes for a pretty good time. Our job is to hold up our end of the deal and give them something to get worked up about.’’
5. Iowa has started five linebackers at its three positions through two games and coach Kirk Ferentz doesn’t have an issue with that.
“As long as we keep people out of the end zone, I’m fine with that. I don’t care what the combination is,’’ Ferentz said.
“But the bottom line is that our production has been good and I think it’s healthy, it’s really healthy. I wish we had that type of competition at every position. You don’t always have that luxury.’’
6. Iowa guard Ross Reynolds finds Iowa’s 2-0 start to be very Iowa like.
“We’re doing what good Iowa football teams do, we’re running the ball and the defense is stopping the run,’’ Reynolds said.
He believes the Hawkeyes’ front five is making progress.
“We still need to get better at finishing,’’ Reynolds said. “There’s always something to work on.’’
7. Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson said he is “anxious’’ to watch the Hawkeyes’ offense come together.
“I think we all want it to be there so bad,’’ Hockenson said. “The last two games have not been representative of what we our offense to be. The last couple of days, we’re working to take that next step and get to where we need to be.’’
8 . Nate Stanley has thrown just one touchdown pass through two games this season, but the junior continues to climb on Iowa’s career charts in that area.
He enters Saturday’s game against Northern Iowa needing three touchdown passes to tie Brad Banks for 10th on the Hawkeyes’ career list.
9. Former Iowa quarterback Tyler Wiegers ranks second nationally behind Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with a 76.6 percent pass completion percentage through two games.
The Eastern Michigan graduate transfer has connected on 38-of-49 passes for 550 yards in the Eagles’ 2-0 start.
“Tyler has been a perfect fit for us the moment he walked on campus in early January,’’ Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton told the Detroit News. “It starts with who person is always since the quarterback is such a leadership position. He fits our program, was accepted on our team and again it just fit.’’
10. Moving the chains against the Iowa defense has proven problematic for opposing offenses.
The Hawkeyes have allowed 26 first downs through two games, the fewest allowed by any Big Ten defense.