IOWA CITY — Health questions continue to linger for Iowa, which had several players banged up two weeks ago against Michigan State.
The Hawkeyes were idle last week, which was a good thing, Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
“We would have been in a little bit of trouble if we played Saturday,” Ferentz said. “Fortunately, we didn’t. Based on what we saw over the weekend, looks like everybody’s ready to go. We’ve just got to get through the week now.”
Running back Mark Weisman suffered a foot injury against the Spartans but said he’s ready to compete this Saturday at Ohio State. Others who left the field against Michigan State include defensive end Dominic Alvis, wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley, tackle Brandon Scherff, linebacker Christian Kirksey and linebacker James Morris.
Canadian wide receiver Tevaun Smith hails from Toronto, so there’s no chance of the Hawkeyes playing in his hometown anytime soon.
But trips to the eastern Big Ten enable Smith to meet with his family, who make the drive across the border. Last year, they traveled to Michigan and Michigan State to watch him compete. This week, his mother and younger brother are heading to Columbus.
“Just knowing your mom’s watching — they’re watching on TV — but knowing they’re actually there definitely helps out,” Smith said.
Smith won’t have much time to see them on the business trip, but he’ll be able to say hello to them after the game.
For six consecutive years Iowa has beaten either a Bowl Championship Series qualifier or an 11-win team.
In 2007 and 2008, the Hawkeyes upset Rose Bowl representatives Illinois and Penn State, respectively. In 2009, the Hawkeyes beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. In 2010, Iowa knocked off 11-win Michigan State. Two years ago, Iowa knocked off Michigan, which advanced to the Sugar Bowl. Last year, Iowa topped Orange Bowl-bound Northern Illinois in the opener.
Over that six-year span, Iowa is 5-3 against BCS-qualifying squads. The losses were by a combined seven points — three points twice to Ohio State, 31-30 to Wisconsin.
Iowa-Ohio State on hiatus
Iowa boasts 12 players on its roster from Ohio, and Saturday’s game is the only time they are scheduled to play in their home state.
Big Ten expansion has changed the frequency of several series, such as Iowa-Ohio State, which competed six times over an eight-year period through the 2010 season. Iowa last played in Columbus in 2009 and are not scheduled for a return trip until at least 2018. Likewise, Ohio State’s last trip to Iowa City was in 2010 and the Buckeyes’ next venture to Kinnick is in 2017.
“I could argue it takes something away from the players not being able to go home for Thanksgiving,” Ferentz said. “But they’ll never see that again. You know, it’s the same thing with the expansion. Expansion, it’s a different world than it used to be. Like it, don’t like it, it doesn’t matter because you have to deal with it.”Iowa and Ohio State currently are in opposite divisions with the Hawkeyes in the Legends and Ohio State in the Leaders. Next year when Maryland and Rutgers join the league, Iowa moves into the newly created West Division, while Ohio State competes in the East.