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IOWA CITY — After going on the road and getting a win at Minnesota, it looked like the Iowa football team had found its formula for the offensive line. A move to right tackle for Cole Croston, left tackle for Boone Myers, left guard for Ike Boettger and right guard for Sean Welsh made for a cohesive effort.
Fast forward a week later and that cohesion is back up in the air thanks to injuries the Hawkeyes (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) can ill-afford with Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2) coming to town on Saturday.
Croston was forced to miss last Saturday’s 49-35 win at Purdue dealing with the ankle injury he played through against the Gophers, and that shifted Boettger back out to right tackle and promoted Keegan Render to left guard. Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz had hoped to get Croston back this week, but when the Hawkeyes released their depth chart on Monday, Croston still was listed as out, with Render still in the lineup.
Myers, who started again at left tackle at Purdue, went out during the second half with a sprain, but still is listed as the starting left tackle against the Badgers. Tight end George Kittle also was listed in his starting role Monday after finishing Saturday’s game in a walking boot.
Ferentz told UI sports information Sunday night tests on both were negative. Even as the depth chart was listed, there still are no guarantees for Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
“It’s a matter of how they’re feeling,” Ferentz said to hawkeyesports.com. “You’re always concerned when guys have sprains; hopefully we can get them to respond. I don’t know if we’ll have all three of them, but hopefully we’ll have one or two of them ready to go.”
While the rest of the offense stayed the same on Iowa’s two-deep, there was a noticeable change on defense Monday.
Up until this week, linebackers Aaron Mends and Amani Jones had been listed as either/or as the backup to Bo Bower at the weakside linebacker spot for the Hawkeyes’ defense. Neither were listed on Monday’s two-deep at any position. Sophomore Jack Hockaday, who had been listed as Josey Jewell’s backup at middle linebacker — and played the majority of the Miami (Ohio) game after Jewell was ejected — is listed as the backup at both positions.
Mends and Jones have seen action in all seven games so far this season, with Mends compiling three total tackles and Jones one.
Iowa-Wisconsin on ESPN
The last remaining question for the broadcast of Iowa and Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium was answered Monday. The game will be televised on ESPN and kickoff is set for 11:01 a.m. ESPN’s Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Todd McShay are the scheduled announcers.
The Hawkeyes have an open date, on Oct. 29, following the matchup with the Badgers.
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