Special special teams work, honors for defensive backs and preparing for the a pair of Big Ten players of the week all find a home in today’s Hawkeye 10@10.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. The success that Iowa specialists Caleb Shudak and Tory Taylor have enjoyed this season have been in part because of the work of the players around them.
Hawkeye special teams coordinator LeVar Woods said that freshman snapper Luke Elkin and senior holder Ryan Gersonde have performed consistently as well.
He also praised the contribution Iowa continues to receive from senior Austin Spiewak, who began the year as Iowa’s long snapper before Elkin moved into the role.
Woods said Spiewak continues to help Elkin in every way he can.
That’s part of the collaborative work of Iowa’s special teams.
“I’ll talk about Tory, who is punting the ball very well, but he’s not doing that without the snap. With the snap comes great coverage from our coverage unit and guys protecting them on the front,’’ Woods said.
“I think they’ll be the first to tell you – the same thing with Caleb, kicking the ball well, scoring points, putting the ball in the net. However, he can’t do that without the smooth operation of the snap or the holder and then the protection.’’
2. Iowa seniors Matt Hankins and Riley Moss were named Monday among 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to the top defensive back in college football.
Hankins has recorded three interceptions and 25 tackles through seven games for the Hawkeyes, while Moss is tied for second nationally and leads the Big Ten with four interceptions in six games.
The Hawkeye cornerbacks join Penn State senior Jaquan Brisker as the only Big Ten players named to the group of finalists.
Other finalists are Coby Bryant and Ahmad Gadner of Cincinnati, Lewis Cine of Georgia, Jaylan Foster of South Carolina, Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame, Brandon Hill of Pittsburgh, Verone McKinley of Oregon, Ja’Quan McMillan of East Carolina and Jalen Pitre of Baylor.
A group of three finalists for the honor will be announced on Nov. 23 with the recipient named on Dec. 9.
3. Moments after Iowa’s loss to Purdue on Oct. 16, quarterback Spencer Petras was looking forward.
The junior pointed out that with the exception of having an unbeaten regular season, all of the Hawkeyes’ team goals remained in front of them.
Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Wisconsin is an important one for maintaining those goals, including winning the West Division in the Big Ten.
Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz pointed out last week that Iowa’s remaining games are all against division rivals.
“The goal is always to play relevant football in November,’’ he said. “Right now, that’s all in front of us and it’s up to us.’’
4. The bye week did not produce any changes in the Iowa depth chart for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Wisconsin.
This week’s two-deep roster is identical to the one for the Purdue game on Oct. 16.
Cornerback Riley Moss, out since injuring a knee in the Penn State game on Oct. 9, is not listed and tight end Luke Lachey and defensive end Deontae Craig, who both missed the Purdue game with injuries are listed as back-ups at their positions this week.
5. Even after a loss that denied Iowa a 7-0 start, coach Kirk Ferentz found some things to like about his 6-1 team through its first seven games.
“We’ve done a lot of positive things since January, so we take the first seven games for what it is. It would be great to be sitting here 7-0, but that’s not the reality,’’ Ferentz said.
“… I think we’ve done a lot of good things. We do better when we play as a team and can create some energy, and we never got that going (against Purdue).’’
6. Two reigning Big Ten players of the week will be on the opposite sideline from Iowa during Saturday’s game at Wisconsin.
Badgers linebacker Leo Chenal and kicker Collin Larsh were named Monday as the Big Ten defensive and special teams player of the week.
Chenal, a junior, was recognized on defense after recording nine tackles and a career-high 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss in Wisconsin’s win at Purdue last weekend.
His sack and tackles for a loss total are the most by a Big Ten player this season. Larsh, a senior, earned special teams recognition after converting on all three of his field goal attempts.
He hit from 23 and 37 yards in the second quarter to tie the game and then matched a career long with a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Illinois’ Chase Brown was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week.
Brown topped 200 rushing yards for the second time this season, establishing a Beaver Stadium record with 223 yards in the Fighting Illini’s 20-18 nine-overtime win at Penn State.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was named the league’s freshman of the week.
Stroud completed 21-of-28 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters of action in the Buckeyes’ 54-7 win at Indiana.
Stroud, who has earned freshman of the week honors five times this season, has thrown 14 touchdown passes and no interceptions in Ohio State’s last three games.
7. Freshman running back Braelon Allen has topped 100 yards rushing in each of his last three games for Wisconsin.
The 6-foot-2 Fon Du Lac, Wis., native had his first multi-touchdown game last weekend in the Badgers’ 30-13 win at Purdue, scoring twice on 12 carries covering 140 yards.
Allen has scored a touchdown in each of Wisconsin’s last three games and caught his first career pass for a nine-yard gain against the Boilermakers.
8. Iowa and Northwestern will play under the lights at Ryan Field on Nov. 6, but what time the game will begin remains undetermined.
The Big Ten announced a pair of starting times for that day but kickoff times for the other five games will not be determined until after this weekend’s games.
The Iowa-Northwestern game will start at 6, 6:30 or 7 p.m. with the television assignment attached to different networks based on the starting time. Translation – stay tuned.
9. An Iowa running back commitment topped 1,000 yards for the season last weekend, highlighting limited work by members of Iowa’s 2022 recruiting class on the field over the weekend.
Kaleb Johnson topped that plateau for Hamilton (Ohio), rushing for 97 yards on 18 carries and scoring twice. He now has 1,003 yards for the season.
Aaron Graves and his Southeast Valley team began Iowa Class 2A playoff action with a 46-7 win over Sheldon. The defensive end finished with eight tackles, including two for a loss in the victory.
Quarterback Carson May rushed for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22 carries for Jones (Okla.), but connected only 8-of-19 passes for 107 yards in a win.
10. The Badgers will take the field Saturday without a pair of tight ends.
In Wisconsin’s early-week medical report, Hayden Rucci and Cam Large are listed as out for the Iowa game as is outside linebacker Aaron Witt.