UI Defensive Line is After Another Solid Effort

Nov. 24, 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. — University of Iowa coach Rick Kaczenski said his defensive line played its best game of the season Nov. 19 at Purdue. Now the Hawkeyes could be facing the best quarterback on their schedule tomorrow in Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez.

“He’s probably the best we’ve seen,” Kaczenski said Thursday during a walk around Memorial Stadium. “When this guy gets his hands on the ball it could be a touchdown if you’re not correct. The most important thing is to execute our technique and execute the assignments. It’s really no different than week 1; you just hope that by week 12 you’re executing a lot better than you were 11 weeks ago.”

Martinez, a sophomore, is fourth in the Big Ten Conference in total offense (238.8 yards a game), sixth in passing yards a game (164.5) and eighth in rushing (74.3). Iowa has already faced elusive quarterbacks this season in Dan Persa and Kain Colter (Northwestern), Tre Roberson (Indiana), MarQueis Gray (Minnesota) and Denard Robinson (Michigan). Next up is Martinez, along with Cornhusker running back Rex Burkhead, who averages 100.7 rushing yards a game.

“We’re going to have a tough opponent,” Kaczenski said. “By watching the video over the week, our guys understand the challenge. If we have a chance in this game it’s going to start up front with the defensive line and the offensive line — both sides of the ball. It’s important for us to execute and be in the right spots because against this team, if you let one of their specialists out, they can go a long way and you’ll be following them into the end zone.”

Statistically, the Hawkeyes are coming off the best game of the season, allowing just 282 yards and forcing four turnovers during a 31-21 win at Purdue. Senior defensive tackle Mike Daniels recorded nine tackles, five for a loss and three sacks against the Boilermakers, and senior end Broderick Binns added seven tackles and a sack.

“We go into every week looking to improve,” Kaczenski said. “Last Saturday was probably the best we’ve played all season and yet when you look at the tape on Sunday, there are so many things we could have done a heck of a lot better. Those are the things we concentrate on every week.”

Iowa and Nebraska kick off Friday at 11:07 a.m. (CT) from a sold out Memorial Stadium (81,091). This is the 42nd game in the series with the Cornhuskers holding a 26-12-3 edge. Iowa’s last win came in 1981 (10-7) in Iowa City and its last win in Lincoln came in 1943 (33-13).

Iowa is 7-4 overall, 4-3 in the Big Ten; No. 22 Nebraska is 8-3, 4-3.

According to Kaczenski, the Hawkeyes will need to get 11 guys to the ball — and more importantly — keep their linebackers “clean,” and the Nebraska linemen off the second level.

“It’s going to take more than one to get their quarterback or any of their backs down,” Kaczensi said.