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Defense on display when Iowa faces Rutgers

Do not expect a high-scoring shootout when Iowa meets Rutgers in both teams’ Big Ten opener Saturday at Piscataway, N.J.

Not only do both teams rank top-10 nationally in total defense and top-25 in scoring defense, but both also have struggled to produce consistently on offense.

The Hawkeyes (2-1) started the year by barely defeating FCS foe South Dakota State 7-3 with two safeties and a field goal rather than one touchdown. After falling to Iowa State 10-7, Iowa’s offense finally struck the right chord in last week’s 27-0 win over Nevada, as Kaleb Johnson ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.

Then there’s the Scarlet Knights (3-0), who dropped 66 points on FCS Wagner two weeks ago but squeaked by Temple 16-14 last Saturday without an offensive touchdown. Rutgers only managed 59 passing yards, instead winning with three field goals and a pick-6 by Shaquan Loyal.

“Part of it was technical. Part of it was schematic … and part of it was cultural,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said of the offensive struggles. “So throw all three things together, and you had kind of a perfect storm. But we are moving. We are learning from it and we are moving forward and we need to because we have an opponent with as stout a defense as there is in the country.”

Rutgers must cope with a Hawkeyes defense tied for second in FBS with 13 total points allowed, including just one touchdown. And Iowa — which ranks last among 131 FBS teams with 217.7 yards per game — now faces a Rutgers defense allowing 240.3 per game, 10th in the nation.

“You watch film on them — I don’t want to say they’re the same as us, but there’s a lot of parallels, I think,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “In terms of, they’ve got a system defensively and offensively they believe in. They’ve got big physical guys that are athletic and play hard and they…


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Author : The Associated Press

Publish date : 2022-09-20 22:14:22

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