10 @ 10: Kirk, the gum chewer
Badger backs, Hawkeye honors and something to chew on, Kirk Ferentz’s gum-chewing habits, are all a part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10.
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Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. Akrum Wadley suggests that any success Iowa has in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game at Wisconsin will start in a familiar place.
“It’s always about those guys up front,” the Hawkeyes’ senior running back said. “If those guys have a day, the whole team has a day.’’
Working to become the first Iowa running back to top 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons since Fred Russell in 2002 and 2003, Wadley enters this week’s game with 761 yards on the season.
He is currently averaging 84.6 yards per game.
2. Wisconsin freshman Jonathan Taylor leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally in rushing, averaging 152 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry.
The New Jersey native has rushed for a Big Ten-leading 12 touchdowns this season.
His work carries on a tradition of productive performances by Badgers running backs.
“Whoever is back there seems to be good, and they’ve had different types of guys,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “… What a remarkable thing he’s done already for them. If he stopped right now, which would be OK with me, he’s already had a great season for anybody, let alone a true freshman. Just really, really impressive.’’
3. Points may be hard to come by for Iowa this week if Wisconsin turns in an average performance this season.
The Badgers rank fourth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 13.3 points per game, and are fifth in the country in allowing 267.8 yards per game.
Wisconsin has been particularly stingy in the red zone, leading the Football Bowl Subdivision in allowing touchdowns just 29.6 percent of the times when an opponent has snapped the ball inside the 20-yard line.
4. Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell was named Thursday as one of nine semifinalists for the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy, presented annually by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation to the nation’s top defensive player.
Jewell was previously named a semifinalist for the Butkus and Bednarik awards and is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.
5. Quarterback Nate Stanley collected one more award for his work in the Hawkeyes’ 55-24 win over Ohio State, named Thursday as the Manning Award national quarterback of the week.
Stanley was selected from among a group of eight candidates for the award after tying a Kinnick Stadium record with five touchdown passes in the Hawkeyes’ rout of the Buckeyes, completing 20-of-31 passes for 226 yards during a turnover-free start.
6. There’s only one brand of gum. In a response to a question during his weekly radio call-in show on Wednesday night, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he chews gum at practice in addition to his more public chewing during games.
“It’s all the same brand,” Ferentz said. “I don’t have practice gum or game gum, it’s all the same.’’
7. If Wisconsin gets an early lead, it has held it this season.
The Badgers join Alabama and Central Florida as the only teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision which have not trailed during the second half of any game this season.
8. Hawkeye tight ends Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson have been productive this season.
The pair have combined for 42 receptions this season and all but five have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.
The pair have combined for 10 touchdowns and have allowed Iowa to gain a first down on 27 occasions.
Fant has seven touchdown receptions, the most in a single season ever by an Iowa tight end.
9. One of five remaining unbeaten teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Wisconsin is 9-0 on the year but has won its last 10 games dating to a win over Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2.
That matches Georgia for the nation’s second-longest active win streak. Only Miami (Fla.) has a longer active streak at 13 games.
The Badgers have also won 12 consecutive Big Ten games, including six this season. The conference win streak is the longest in Wisconsin history.
10. The National I-Club and UI Alumni Association are hosting a Hawkeye Huddle on Saturday in Madison.
The event is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Wisconsin Union South and will be open to the public free of charge.
Door prizes will be given away and the Iowa spirit squads and mascot Herky typically make appearances at Hawkeye Huddle events held prior to all Iowa road games.
Cash refreshments will be available.