Iowa Football

Wisconsin says 2 injured starters will be game-time decisions against Iowa

Big Ten football notes: Nebraska schedules 12th game

Wisconsin linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel (17) and T.J. Edwards (53) celebrate after the Bagers score a touchdown on an Iowa fumble during the second half of game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Saturday, November 11, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Wisconsin linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel (17) and T.J. Edwards (53) celebrate after the Bagers score a touchdown on an Iowa fumble during the second half of game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Saturday, November 11, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — While Iowa appears headed into its Big Ten Conference football opener Saturday mostly healthy, the same can’t be said for its opponent.

Wisconsin Coach Paul Chryst told local reporters after Thursday’s practice that injured starting outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and starting tight end Zander Neuville will travel with the team to Iowa City, but both are considered game-time decisions, as far as it they will play.

Van Ginkel, in particular, would be a huge absence for the Badgers. The only Iowan on the team (Rock Valley), he is a disruptor who had 10 tackles for loss last season.

He injured a leg in Wisconsin’s upset loss last week to Brigham Young. So did Neuville, who has one catch this season but who is known more for his blocking prowess.

“I think they’re both close to where we can say they’d be a game-time decision,” Chryst told reporters. “Both have done some things this week. Certainly not equivalent of what a game would be, but we appreciate (that) they both want to play and (have) done everything they can to give themselves that chance. We’ll get on the bus, go down, and truly be able to find out pregame where they’re at.”

Wisconsin still has the pair listed as starters on its depth chart. Backups are Kyle Penniston (tight end) and Christian Bell (outside linebacker).

Fun with numbers

Wisconsin has won nine straight road games, the nation’s second-longest streak (Oklahoma has 17). The Badgers have won 15 consecutive Big Ten games and are 35-7 in conference play over the previous five seasons.

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Wisconsin is 47-11 overall the previous five seasons, an .810 winning percentage that trails only Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson nationally.

Since Chryst took over as head coach in 2015, the Badgers have allowed just 13.9 points in road games. That’s the lowest average of any FBS team in that span.

Around the Big Ten

There are five conference games this week, beginning with Friday night’s Penn State-Illinois tilt in Champaign. Minnesota is at Maryland and Nebraska at Michigan in Saturday’s 11 a.m. games. Michigan State plays Saturday night at Indiana (6:30 kick), then it’s Iowa-Wisconsin at 7:30.

Purdue, Rutgers and Ohio State have non-conference home games Saturday, with the opponents being Boston College, Buffalo and Tulane, respectively.

The league went 6-7 last week, with losses inflicted upon Wisconsin (Brigham Young), Illinois (South Florida), Maryland (Temple), Nebraska (Troy), Purdue (Missouri), Rutgers (Kansas) and Northwestern (Akron).

Nebraska adds 12th game

Nebraska announced Thursday it has come to an agreement for a makeup game Oct. 27 at home against Bethune-Cookman. The Huskers had their season opener Sept. 1 against Akron canceled by persistent thunderstorms and lightning.

Bethune-Cookman is a FCS school from Dayton Beach, Fla., with a record of 1-2. The Wildcats defeated NCAA Division II Virginia-Lynchburg and have losses to FCS Tennessee State and FBS Florida Atlantic.

Nebraska will pay Bethune-Cookman $800,000 to make the trip to Lincoln.

Iowa names honorary captain

Iowa announced Thursday that longtime college and pro coach Tom Moore will be its honorary captain Saturday. Moore was a quarterback and kicker for the Hawkeyes in 1959-60.

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He won three Super Bowls as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts. He also served stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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