Nov. 27, 2010
- Iowa Football Game Day Central
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By RICHIE ZAWISTOWSKI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — One shutout is impressive for a defensive unit, but two consecutive shutouts over that same team? Simply outstanding.
That’s what the University of Iowa football team has done during its past two contests against Minnesota. Iowa crushed the Golden Gophers in 2008, 55-0, and a year later handed Minnesota another goose-egg, 12-0.
That equaled back-to-back years for Iowa football that it has not allowed a single point against Minnesota. The Hawkeyes look to do the same this afternoon. Iowa has never shut out the same Big Ten Conference opponent three years in a row.
“You get that mindset that we can shut people out like we did last year,” said UI cornerback Micah Hyde. “But it’s a new year, we’re just going to go into this game and try to play the best we can — swarm to the ball, and if we do that we’ll be fine.”
UI strong safety Tyler Sash echoed Hyde’s words, saying that every game is different and that it doesn’t matter what you did the year before, you still have to come out and play well the next game. Listening to Hyde and Sash’s comments, it’s clear the level of focus Iowa has on the upcoming game. While it may be a new season, Iowa is a school known for its defense. The Hawkeye defense comes into the season finale ranked second in the Big Ten in both total defense and run defense. Iowa has the ability and potential to lock down the scoreboard again and put up another zero on Minnesota’s side of the scoreboard.
So what has been Iowa’s recipe for defensive success against Minnesota?
“It’s just about every week going out and playing the best football that you can. You want to go out on the right note. You want to leave it out on the field, knowing that you’re going to have some time off before you play your next game.”
UI strong safety
“Just playing as a team,” said Hyde. “(With Minnesota) being our last game the last couple years, we know we have to come out and play well. It’s the last game we play before the bowl game, but basically just play with passion and play together.”
The Hawkeye defensive unit will need to play together and with passion to slow Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber. Weber became the just the fifth quarterback in Big Ten history to amass 10,000 yards passing, and is second in Big Ten history in total yards, trailing only Drew Brees.
“I think he’s their all-time career leader in about every statistic you can think of,” said Sash. “He knows his offense like the back of his hand, so he’s going to know the checks. He’s played against us multiple times so he’s going to present a lot of challenges for us, so we’re going to have to be on top of our game.”
A Return Home
Iowa junior defensive end Broderick Binns looks to be on top of his game and continue the Hawkeye defensive domination against the Golden Gophers. Binns, a native of Saint Paul, played a key part in both the 2008 and 2009 shutouts of Minnesota. In those wins, Binns combined for six tackles — including two tackles for loss — and 2 ½ sacks.
While it may be nice for Binns to play against the Gophers, he said that it is exciting, but mostly he’s excited to try and get Iowa’s eighth win of the season.
Minnesota’s Shady Salamon and Zach Mottla went to Cretin-Derham in Saint Paul, the same high school as Binns. Mottla is a redshirt freshman, and Salamon is a junior who graduated one year after Binns.
“The guys I know, I’m sure there will be a little trash-talking going on back and forth, but at the end of the game we’re still going to be friends and say what’s up to each other,” said Binns.
While they may be friends after the whistle, it goes without saying that during the game Binns and the Hawkeyes are focused on improving to 8-4 before the postseason.
“It’s just about every week going out and playing the best football that you can,” said Sash. “You want to go out on the right note. You want to leave it out on the field, knowing that you’re going to have some time off before you play your next game.”
While the cold temperatures in the outdoor TCF Bank Stadium will likely be a contrast to the weather in Iowa’s upcoming warm-weather bowl game, the Hawkeyes are just ready to play.
“It’s going to be freezing out there, but that’s football,” said Binns. “When I think of football, I think of playing in the cold outside. It’s going to be exciting. First time in the new stadium, so it’s going to be a good game.”