The Iowa Hawkeyes will try to make it five straight wins this weekend when they host Michigan State. The Hawks improved to 4-1 with a 23-7 win at Minnesota. “We turn the page on Sunday and have a big challenge this week playing a Michigan State team that looks very, strong, very powerful,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says.
The Hawks are developing an identity as a physical football team. That identity will be challenged by the Spartans. “In a perfect world you certainly if you can run it and stop the run, that’s a good thing,” he says. But Ferentz says the Spartans’ running game is starting to get going and their defense is not giving up many rushing yards.
Ferentz says the offensive line is playing well but needs to be even better by Saturday as he says looking at the video there are a lot of things that need work to get better. Ferentz says the Hawkeyes and Spartans have similar identities and he doesn’t expect Michigan State to change their attack a whole lot.
The receiving corps was a weak spot a year ago and Ferentz says that group is making progress. “Making some tough plays on third down, things like that or runs after catch, those are positives that we have struggled with in the past,” Ferentz says. But he says the pressure on defense will be turned up and the yards will come a lot tougher Saturday.
The Hawkeyes did give up two long kickoff returns at Minnesota but Ferentz says that can be fixed as he says they have been covering things pretty well and have the right guys on the special teams and can get them to continue to improve.
After using three different quarterbacks during a 3-1 start Spartan coach Mark Dantonio says he has settled on a starter in Connor Cook. Dantonio says they are looking for him to grow and gain experience in his second start after gaining “invaluable” experience against Notre Dame.
Dantonio says he has been impressed by the decision making of Iowa sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock and he says that’s been the way Iowa quarterbacks have played in all the years he has seen them play.