I was just going to kick off the day with 300 or so words on Iowa running back. That subject is kind of a dead end until the Hawkeyes play another game.
Of course, you know where the Hawkeyes left off. Sophomore Jordan Canzeri, a player many of you wanted to get a better look at this season, got his shot and made the most of it, rushing 20 times for 165 yards and a TD. The running game, which had been bottled up for four games, broke loose for 313 yards in the 38-14 victory at Purdue. This was Iowa's best day running the ball since going for 365 yards in a 45-21 win over Minnesota on Nov. 16, 2002.
Some of you might remember that game (my annual excuse to find and roll this video, courtesy of @storminspank):
I can't sit here and say Canzeri will be the guy against Michigan. I think he might be, but let's do the physical math of the game ahead.
Michigan has a better rush defense than Iowa and it's not close. The Wolverines allow just 111.2 yard a game to Iowa's 130.0. We are at game 10, so stats have a definite pattern. The pattern for UM is a stern rush defense, one that held Northwester to 143 yards last week. Northwestern touched Iowa for 225.
The point here is that Michigan is physical up front and so, possibly, this sets up for more of a Mark Weisman kind of game. Let's refresh on Weisman here: Foot injury vs. Michigan State, also a horrific-looking bruise on his upper-right biceps vs. MSU and then a sprained elbow against Wisconsin. He carried nine times for 30 yards against Purdue and seemed to find some rhythm in short-yardage situations.
Here's a quick chart of his carries: 1) second-and-10 for 9 yards; 2) First-and-10 for 5 yards; 3) Second-and-5 for a loss of 4; 4) Second-and-4 at Purdue 9 for 3 yards; 5) Third-and-1 at Purdue 6 for 4 yards; 6) Third-and-1 at Purdue 4 for 4 yards and a TD; 7) Second-and-2 at Iowa 28 (fourth quarter) for a gain of 4 yards; 8 ) First-and-10 at Purdue 14 for 3 yards; 9) Third-and-1 at Purdue 5 for 2 yards.
So, six of his nine carries came on downs where Iowa needed 5 or fewer yards. He converted first downs on four of those carries.
Canzeri broke out against Purdue (not the worst rushing defense in the Big Ten, but 10th), but who weighs about 190 pounds. And then here's Kirk Ferentz from the bye week news conference: “It’s a matter of ball security and that’s the only issue that he had,” Ferentz said. “That’s more a byproduct of him not being tackled a lot over the past two years. I’m not concerned about that at all."
Canzeri has two fumbles this season (Wiesman has one, but that's not the point). Canzeri didn't log carries against Michigan State, Ohio State and Northwestern. It got to late in the third quarter against Wisconsin before he got a shot. Fumbles? Not sure how Canzeri would deal with the physical pounding?
You have to believe based on performance Canzeri gets a shot this week to see if what he did against Purdue, a team that barely beat Indiana State at home for its lone victory, is for real.
I wasn't going to write about running backs and I did.
Here's some stuff:
-- Let's guess RBs for 2014: Quinton Alston will be in the middle, Travis Perry will be the OLB and, I think, Reggie Spearman gets first shot at No. 1 WLB. He's been implanted there now. We'll see if he takes to it and doesn't grow out of it.
-- Let's guess on the bowl: I'll go as far as "south." Too many Legos out there.
-- Guess on OT Brandon Scherff (THIS IS JUST A GUESS!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hold your e-mails): Draft.
-- 2014 OTs: Andrew Donnal and Ryan Ward.
-- 2014 left guard: Sean Welsh (maybe).
-- Walk-ons I'll predict who butt up against scholarship not named Travis Perry (who has got to be on scholarship if not now then next semester): K Marshall Koehn (he'll be the FG guy next year and still probably backup punter, unless incoming freshman from Texas Mick Ellis is a regular rocket leg), OL Boone Myers (heard good things), OL Jalen Chambers (hanging in there and that's a good thing with a ready-made OL body), OL Tommy Gaul (he'll be a senior and he's been a great program guy), OL Cole Croston (there's a chance he's the reason Iowa has snagged more tackle bodies in crootin', but KF did say on the radio last week that they do want at least two more OL in this class), LS Tyler Kluver (he'll be the long snapper for four years).
-- Top three WRs against Michigan: 1) KMM, 2) Damond Powell and 3) Don Shumpert. Feeling Powell. Big plays Saturday will go a long way.
-- Here's the weather for Saturday: Partly sunny, 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here's Brady Hoke from B1G teleconference:
On Iowa -- Balanced offensively. Run the ball well. Good football players. LBs active. Just four rushing TDs all season. Physical game.
Fg scenario (speed-up drill, worked last week) -- Practice intensely in fall camp. Part of the script during the season. Once or twice on Friday. Can't get enough of it. Glad to see kids and coaches put everything together.
On Iowa QB Jake Rudock -- No. 1, we think mechanically, technical, good as anyone in conference. Move up in pocket. Goes through reads, finds checkdown. Nice spin on ball. Makes all the throws. Good job at LOS, makes all the checks. Nice job of developing. Really a guy who does a nice job handling their football team.
Fitz Toussaint health -- He'll be fine. Not enough practice to play last week.
Jacket? (Hoke goes short sleeves for the most part, it's going to be 25 or so on Saturday) -- We'll see how it goes. If I were a smart guy, I probably would. We'll see how it goes.
Going for something at NW -- Playing good D. They had the wind. We had two timeouts. We wanted to go win the game then.
Assess Jake Ryan progress (junior LB who suffered a torn ACL in spring practice but has made it back) -- He continues to feel more comfortable, the more snaps, surfaces and impacts he takes. Every day he feels more comfortable. Doesn't say the knee is sore or stiff. Excited about progress.
What does it mean to have him -- Voted by teammates as a captain. Only junior captain on the list. That speaks volumes. Went out in spring ball in first week, speaks volumes how he did rehab. Team watching him and his leadership.
Iowa's toughness, how does that work its way into a team's DNA? -- Combo of a lot of things. Coach Ferentz being an OL coach, he knows something about it. What they do in offseason is part of it. What they do on offense is a big part of it.
What characteristics do you want to see in your team -- Same. Are we exactly where we want to be? No, but those are the traits we want to have.
What makes Iowa's LBs good -- Besides athleticism, I think they're smart players. DL does a good job frictioning the LOS. Lets them to flow to the football. intelligence and dissection of offense and plays stands out. They don't ask them to do a whole lot, but they're bringing more pressure than last year. They're locked in their scheme and they believe in it.
Here's Kirk Ferentz:
Intro -- Different having a bye week. Came at a good time. Guys healed. Ready to get back on the field.
Senior day -- Been talking about these guys since August. It's a bittersweet day for coaches and teammates. Celebration of good things that have happened in the past. Special day. Good group of guys. Proud of them all.
On Devin Gardner, feet and arm (second in the league in passing) -- We are [concerned]. Can hurt in a couple of different ways. Responsible for 350 yards last year. [Michigan won 42-17 at UM in a "name the score" situation.]
Conor Boffeli's family UI childrens hospital -- Yeah, we had a bye week last week, so we had some visitors over. Having the Children's Hospital just a couple hundred yards for us seems like a natural connection. Not everybody is as fortunate, so it is great when you can put a smile on their faces and a great reminder to our guys to keep things in perspective hopefully.
On UW tailbacks -- They're different. I thought we did a good job stopping the run for 50 minutes. Last 10 was a different story. Offense didn't help defense. They'll break through on you. UW is understated on defense, so offense keeps cracking at you. White has had an interesting career. Last four years, extremely productive. Does a lot of great things for them and does them well. On Gordon: Excellent backs. Credit to them.
Most improved unit on your team -- The first thing that pops into my mind is our defensive line. We were inexperienced last year and had a hard time with just about everybody last year. This year we only have one senior and he's missed most of our Big Ten schedule, but we have guys like Louis Trinca-Pasat that have stepped up. He took his lumps last year, but right now he's playing really stout and providing a lot of leadership. When you think of him, you think of a guy like Matt Kroul. We're not flashy at all, but those guys have been productive and that's a positive.
DL going forward -- We're thin there like we are every position. Just kind of the nature of our team typically, even some of our best teams. We're constantly trying to bring guys along. It never ends
What do you see in Michigan -- Talented. Don't have to look too far to see their ups. Didn't put up a fight at UM last year. Potent and well-coached on D. Young players doing a good job. Look at the RB last week. Watch the tape. Good young players progressing. We're going to have to be at our absolute best to have a chance here.
Ferentz transcript. Video will be coming ASAP:
Captains, last year's Michigan game. A question on blitzing and Ferentz says Iowa has a lower blitz percentage than most teams (it's true, Iowa does, but I wish I could put a percentage on it). Can't let Devin Gardner get outside. Last year's Michigan game video from a defensive perspective. When did UM prep start? Canzeri question. RBs fresher. Question on Braxton Miller. Senior linebackers.
Question on senior days (someone trying to tug on some heart strings). Question on Greg and James Morris' journey with the program (good answer here from KF, especially on stealing moments with your kids, the kinds of moments where neither of you has to live up to anything and where there just might be comfort). Question on the senior guys who toil behind the headliners and if KF hears from them five or 10 years later. The whole class is committed. Question on Nolan MacMillan. "It's probably easier to be motivated when you're a starter." Mentioned some "heart break" on MacMillan's career.
Best games have come on the road (luck of the draw as far as schedule goes, no?). Iowa D's use of a spy. KF said Iowa doesn't do that, not really since Bob Sanders on Antwaan Randle El (he's right and goes on to say that they haven't used that this season). Jake Rudock's development. Dominic Alvis health question. Sounded more positive, but I don't think it sounded as though he'd be back this week. Gardner's height. Anthony Hitchens' road to LB. Different personalities. Question on kicker and the strong will it takes to survive that position.
A little more on K Mike Meyer. Bowl destinations: "Nobody knows anything about anything." Question on Big Ten. Waka waka. Question on Weisman's usage against Purdue. Ferentz said he was beat up for that game and is much fresher coming off the bye. Did KF care if Michigan won last week? Waka waka. Secrets. KF's feelings on old coaches in the booth, specifically BTN's Glen Mason and Gerry DiNardo. Something about conference and everyone knowing what Iowa does on O and D (zone blocking and 4-3 under). Special season still up for grabs. The player KF mentioned last week who wasn't Alvis but who would've been iffy if Iowa had a game last weekend? He was fine Sunday. James Morris question.
B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY - Jan. 1, 1958 - Ohio State 10, Oregon 7: The Buckeyes entered the Rose Bowl Game No. 1 in the country, needing a victory to secure the national championship. The teams traded touchdowns in the first and second quarters and remained tied entering the fourth. A 34-yard field goal by Don Sutherin with 14 minutes remaining in the game would be the deciding points.
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT - Illinois’ Thomas Dwight “Dike” Eddleman: Eddleman was named Illinois’ Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient in 1949 after earning a combined 11 varsity letters for the Illini in the sports of football, basketball and track and field. Eddleman led the Big Ten in punting in 1948 and also punted for the Illinois team that played in the 1947 Rose Bowl Game. Eddleman also holds the school records for longest punt and punt return. Beyond the football field, Eddleman was a Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball winner as the Big Ten MVP, a two-time NBA All-Star, and competed in the high jump in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. His name appears on the Big Ten’s Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year award.
Earning Their Share: With a road victory at Nebraska, Michigan State secured at least a share of the Legends Division title. The Spartans improved to 6-0 in the Big Ten and 9-1 overall to register their second division crown in the last three seasons. The Spartans won the outright Legends Division title in 2011 to advance to the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.
Looking at the Legends Division: Three teams remain in the running to earn at least a share of the Legends Division title, and two still have an opportunity to represent the division in the Big Ten Football Championship Game . . .
Leaders Division Breakdown: The race for the Leaders Division title and Big Ten Football Championship Game berth is down to Ohio State and Wisconsin with two weeks to play . . .
Keep Rolling: Ohio State tied a program record with its 22nd consecutive victory last Saturday, which is tied for the fifth longest streak in Big Ten history. The Buckeyes hold the nation’s longest active-winning streak and the longest winning streak by a conference team in more than 40 years. Ohio State is among a group of six undefeated teams in the nation and one of just four squads in the country with a 10-0 mark . . .
Hyde Tide: Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde had a career day against Illinois on Saturday, rushing for 246 yards and combining for five touchdowns in the Buckeye win. Hyde rushed for four touchdowns and was on the receiving end of another to become the first conference player to score five touchdowns in a game since Illinois’ Mikel Leshoure achieved the feat on Nov. 6, 2010 . . .
Running Season: The month of November has been highlighted by superb rushing performances as six of the season’s top eight single-game efforts have come in the last three weeks . . .
Trophy Time: Two more annual trophy games will be contested this week as Wisconsin and Minnesota battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, while Illinois and Purdue compete for the Purdue Cannon . . .
Thanks to the Fans: For the ninth consecutive year and the 11th time overall, the Big Ten surpassed the five-million mark in total attendance among all games. After welcoming better than 350,000 fans to five contests last Saturday, the conference has seen more than 5.2 million patrons attend its games this year. In 74 games this season, Big Ten stadiums are welcoming an average of 70,615 fans per game, which is on pace to rank sixth in conference annals.