10 @ 10: Another physical battle in East Lansing?

September 29, 2017

In four of the eight games Iowa has played against Michigan State since Mark Dantonio arrived in East Lansing, neither team has scored 20 points.

That may provide a hint of things to come in the final Hawkeye 10@10 warm-up for Saturday’s 3 p.m. game at Spartan Stadium.

That and more are part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes.

Delivered each weekday at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:

1. The Hawkeyes expect a typical physical battle with Michigan State in Saturday’s 3 p.m. game.

Offensive lineman Boone Myers said that just seems to be in the DNA of both teams.

“They’re always a strong, physical football team and we work all year to be the same,’’ Myers said. “We’re pretty similar in a lot of ways and it should be a good battle.’’

2. Josey Jewell’s grit doesn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

“It’s his competitive spirit,’’ defensive end Parker Hesse said. “It’s just his will to win. He doesn’t lose at any cost.’’

That extends beyond the confines of the football field. Hesse has seen it first hand — while competing against Jewell in a bags game.

Even as he tosses a beanbag, Jewell expects to win.

“His focus is unbelievable,’’ Hesse said. “Every single bag, he’ll repeat the score and stuff like that. That’s how he’s wired.’’

3. Looking to rebound from a 3-9 season, Michigan State is a young football team.

The Spartans list 11 sophomores and one redshirt freshman among its projected starters on offense and defense and have 14 sophomores, eight redshirt freshmen and 14 true freshmen on the two-deep depth chart.

Coach Mark Dantonio has played 18 freshmen, including 12 true freshmen, so far this season.

That is the most in Dantonio’s 11 seasons, three more than the previous high set a year ago.

4. Michigan State’s defense will test the Iowa passing attack.

The Spartans lead the Big Ten in limiting opponents to 132.3 yards per game through the air and are fourth in the league in total defense at 254.0 yards per game.

“They make it tough on teams to move the ball,’’ Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley said. “We’re into the Big Ten now. We know that it’s not going to be easy for us. We’ll see good defenses every week.’’

5. Amani Hooker said keeping Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke contained and limiting his rushing abilities will be important for the Hawkeyes.

Lewerke averages just over 68 yards per game on the ground and after allowing Penn State’s Trace McSorley to run for 61 yards last weekend, limiting the damage quarterbacks do with their feet is a point of emphasis.

“Every week we focus on containing the quarterback, no matter who we play,’’ Hooker said. “This week, Michigan State has a really good quarterback. He can move, so we have to do the same thing.’’

6. Iowa back-up running back James Butler continues to wear a sling on his right arm as he deals with the dislocated elbow that will sideline the graduate transfer at least until an Oct. 21 game against Northwestern.

Coach Kirk Ferentz said healing so far has been slow.

“He’s still in a brace and still has swelling in there, so we’ll see,’’ Ferentz said.

7. The only thing more even than the all-time series between Iowa and Michigan State — the Hawkeyes lead 23-21-2 — is how the head coaches of both teams have fared against each other.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has a 7-7 career record against the Spartans while Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio is 4-4 against the Hawkeyes.

8. The first points on Iowa is able to put on the scoreboard on Saturday will be a milestone of sorts for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa enters the game at Michigan State having scored in its last 199 games dating to a 31-0 loss at Illinois on Oct. 14, 2000, the last time the Hawkeyes endured a shutout.

Only one Big Ten team, Nebraska at 259, has a longer streak of games without a shutout.

Indiana at 188, Penn State at 187 and Purdue at 44 are next in line behind the Hawkeyes.

9. When Cole Croston earned a spot on the New England Patriots’ 53-man roster to open the NFL season after signing as a free agent, it meant something for the Iowa football program as well.

The Hawkeyes have had at least one future NFL offensive lineman in their lineup in each of Kirk Ferentz’s first 18 seasons.

Iowa has had 15 offensive linemen drafted by NFL teams during Ferentz’s tenure.

10. Barbara Burke, named this spring as the deputy director of athletics at Iowa after Gene Taylor was hired as the athletics director at Kansas State, will be the featured speaker at Monday’s Davenport Grid Club luncheon.

Burke will join Quad-City area college and high school football coaches in speaking at the event, which is held at the Knights of Columbus, 1111 W. 35th St., Davenport.

Grid Club luncheons are open the to public and tickets, priced at $10 each, include a buffet luncheon and can be purchased at the door