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Tuesday, May 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Hoosiers face Big Ten’s best defense

Football

IU senior cornerback Nick Polk is not scared of facing No. 4 Iowa on Saturday.
In fact, he relishes the idea of going into Kinnick Stadium with a chance to upset the only undefeated team remaining in the Big Ten.

“You are going into a very nice environment, and on Halloween, its definitely going to be wild,” Polk said. “I love playing at Iowa. We just have to go in with excitement and be ready to play.”

The Hawkeyes (8-0) are led by a veteran defense that is among the nation’s best.
This season, Iowa is top-20 in the country for total defense, passing defense, scoring defense and turnovers gained. It also leads Bowl Championship Series teams in interceptions with 15 on the year.

Linebacker Pat Angerer has the most tackles for the Hawkeyes with 77 on the season. Iowa also boasts four different players with at least two interceptions.

Safety Tyler Sash has five of the 15 total picks and is especially dangerous after the ball gets into his hands. He averages 23.4 yards per return after causing a turnover.

Iowa rarely blitzes the quarterback and likes to drop back its secondary in hopes of causing an interception.

IU junior wide receiver Terrance Turner said the Hoosiers must not allow the Hawkeyes to dictate the pace of the game.

“You just go at them,” Turner said. “You don’t backtrack or wait for them. It’s about executing and doing the little things. If we do that, it will all work out.”

But while Iowa is exceptional on defense, its offense is a different story.

The Hawkeyes rank 10th in the Big Ten in total offense (No. 87 in the nation).
Last week against Michigan State, Iowa needed a last-second touchdown pass in East Lansing to win 15-13 and preserve its national championship hopes.

Though Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi may not be as prolific as some other Big Ten quarterbacks, he is efficient.

This season, he has a passer rating of 126.9 after throwing for 1,715 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Iowa’s ground attack is made up of running backs Adam Robinson (78.6 average yards per game) and Brandon Wegher.

But, Robinson and offensive lineman Dace Richardson will not be playing on Saturday because of season-ending injuries suffered against the Spartans last week.

Despite the injuries, IU coach Bill Lynch said preparation for the Hawkeyes remains the same.

“They just seem to reload,” Lynch said. “The really good programs have depth where the next guy always steps in and plays. They have done that throughout the years.”

The Hoosiers are looking to rebound from a 29-28 loss to Northwestern last Saturday. In that matchup, IU gave up 26 unanswered points to the Wildcats and dropped to No. 10 in the conference standings.

And if IU wants to play in a bowl game, there is no better time to win than against the Hawkeyes on Saturday.

“We have to go in confident and really just execute,” IU junior quarterback Ben Chappell said. “The key thing is making plays when they are there. We have to seize the opportunity when it’s given to us.

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