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Northwestern Preview Football

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson is the Wildcats’ starting quarterback.

Another veteran quarterback, young cornerbacks and missing Northwestern starters all find a home in today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10.

Your daily dose of Iowa football news and notes is delivered each weekday at 10 a.m. at, your home for all things Iowa.

Here is today’s Hawkeye 10 @ 10:

1. Only one quarterback in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Washington’s Jake Browning, has started more than the 48 consecutive games Clayton Thorson has started under center for Northwestern.

His abilities have the attention of Iowa defenders who are preparing to face a veteran senior quarterback for the third straight game.

“He’s the guy who makes their offense work,’’ safety Amani Hooker said. “He makes good decisions, does a lot of things to put them in a position to have the kind of success that they’re having. They’re leading the division for a reason and he’s a big reason why.’’

Thorson enters the Iowa game having rushed for two touchdowns in back-to-back games for the first time in his career and coming off of a 16-for-29 passing performance for 141 yards and a touchdown last week against Notre Dame.

He enters the Iowa game needing 187 yards to pass Purdue’s Mark Herrmann for sixth on the Big Ten’s all-time passing list.

2. The growth of freshmen cornerbacks Julius Brents and Riley Moss has impressed Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.

The pair continues to top the depth chart this week and will likely add to their collection of five starts in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game against Northwestern.

Ferentz said both positioned themselves for the type of seasons they’ve had with their work in fall camp.

“They really handled camp well, competed well, did some things, it wasn’t perfect but they did some things that showed up and gave us the encouragement to keep working with these guys and see where they go,’’ Ferentz said.

Brents has 13 tackles on the season, one interception and shares second on the team with three pass break ups while Moss has 23 tackles, two picks and also has broken up three passes.

3. Defensive end Parker Hesse said the objective for Iowa at this point is to play solid football and not let two straight losses lead to a third.

“This is November, the time of year when you want to be playing your best ball and that’s been the big thing this week, making sure that we are playing the best that we can,’’ Hesse said. “We only have three games left in the regular season, why not make them the best they can be?’’

4. Northwestern will be without two of its defensive starters Saturday.

Listed as questionable earlier this week, safety Jared McGee and cornerback Trae Williams will miss the Iowa game because of injuries according to an injury report released by the school Thursday.

McGee is the Wildcats’ fourth-leading tackler with 49 stops on the season while Williams has 24 tackles on the year.

5. With the weather taking a turn this week, Iowa’s morning practices have been accompanied by a November chill in the air. Coach Kirk Ferentz said that is one of the areas where the Hawkeyes lean on veteran players to lead.

“For the older guys, it’s no big deal, but for some of the younger guys, it’s a good chance for them to get acclimated and just get used to being out there,’’ Ferentz said.

“If it’s a bit breezy and a little bit chilly, that kind of stuff, the older guys are helping with that, too. ‘Come on, let’s go,’ that type of thing.’’

6. At 6-3, Iowa players realize the ultimate outcome of the season could still take a number of twists and turns.

Center Keegan Render said making the most of the opportunities Iowa has left is important to the legacy of the Hawkeyes’ 13-player senior class.

“No question 9-3 sounds a lot better than 6-6,’’ Render said. “Things can go one way or the other and that is in our hands heading into this week.’’

7. Expecting Iowa to show up in alternate uniforms at one its last two home games?

Forget about it.

Coach Kirk Ferentz said it isn’t happening this season.

“Well do our best for next year, but right now we’re going to try to win the next three games,’’ Ferentz said. “That’s what I’m more focused on now. I hope our players are, too.’’

8. Former Iowa punter Jason Baker will be the Hawkeyes’ honorary captain for Saturday’s game against Northwestern.

Baker is Iowa’s career leader in punts an punting yards, ranking fourth in the Big Ten in both categories.

He averaged 41.6 yards while punting 272 times during his career at Iowa before taking his game to the NFL, where his career lasted from 2001-11.

Baker will join Iowa’s captains at midfield for the coin flip Saturday and will be with the team before and after the game.

9. Linebaker Aaron Mends, a fifth-year senior who suffered a torn ACL in April, continues to work to try and salvage something from his final season in a Hawkeye uniform.

Coach Kirk Ferentz said he is hopeful Mends would be able to participate in a bowl game. “It’s tough,’’ Ferentz said. “You feel for the players involved.’’

10. As part of Military Appreciation Day activities at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, a number of military vehicles will be on display in the Krause Family Plaza prior to the kickoff of the 2:30 p.m. game.

A group of Iowa ROTC members and Iowa veterans will hold a large American flag on the field prior to the game and a senior ROTC recognition will take place during the game.

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