IOWA AT RUTGERS
WEEK 4: 6:10 P.M., SHI STADIUM
RADIO: WOC (1420 AM), WMT (600 AM)
LINE: Iowa by 7
SERIES: Iowa 2-0
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Who’s the QB: Sixth-year senior Noah Vedral was expected to start under center for the Scarlet Knights but hasn’t taken a snap yet this season. Rutgers has had three players — quarterbacks Gavin Wimsatt and Evan Simon and tight end Johnny Langan in a wildcat formation — take the first snaps in games this season. Simon is the only quarterback who began this week as healthy but the availability of Vedral and Wimsatt will be a game-time decision.
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Fully stocked backfield: For the first time this season, Iowa is expected to have a full complement of running backs available. Leshon Williams, the starter in Iowa’s first two games, is back on the field after missing last week’s game following the death of his father. Gavin Williams, who missed the season opener, accounted for 98 yards of offense last week and true freshman Kaleb Johnson will look to build off of his 103-yard effort against Nevada.
Versatile Knight: Rutgers senior Aron Cruickshank ranks among the nation’s most versatile players. A wide receiver who returns punts and kicks for Rutgers, Cruickshank has accumulated 2,216 yards on kick returns, 624 receiving yards, 272 rushing yards and 188 punt return yards during his college career. His 2,404 combined kick and punt return yards puts him second among active players at the FBS level.
Take your pick: Iowa’s Cooper DeJean shares the Big Ten lead with two interceptions on the season and has also contributed 17 tackles from the multiple spots he plays on defense. The Hawkeyes played turnover-free football for the first time this season last weekend and will need that type of effort against Rutgers, which shares the Big Ten lead in turnover margin with six takeaways. The Scarlet Knights’ Robert Longerbeam has two of Rutgers’ five picks.
Where’s Wesley: Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras has been sacked six times this season — three fewer times than the Hawkeye defense has dropped opposing QBs — and his offensive line will work to protect him against one of the Big Ten’s sack leaders. Wesley Bailey, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore defensive end, ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 2.5 sacks, and his 3.5 tackles for a loss ranks 10th in the league.
— Steve Batterson
IOWA (2-1, 0-0)
Arland Bruce IV;9;127;14.1;1
INTERCEPTIONS: Cooper DeJean 2, Terry Roberts 1
SACKS: Joe Evans 2, Lukas Van Ness 2
TACKLES: Jack Campbell 31, Seth Benson 21, Cooper DeJean 17, Quinn Schulte 16, Logan Lee 15
PUNT RETURNS: Arland Bruce IV 10-69-6.9
KICKOFF RETURNS: Riley Moss 4-93-23.3
RUTGERS (3-0, 0-0)
INTERCEPTIONS: Robert Longerbeam 2, Christian Braswell 1, Shaquan Loyal 1, Max Melton 1
SACKS: Wesley Bailey 2.5, Kyonte Hamilton 1, Robert Longerbeam 1, Tyreem Powell 1
TACKLES: Christian Izien 18, Deion Jennings 18, Desmond Igbinosun 16, Tyreem Powell 15, Aaron Lewis 14
PUNT RETURNS: Aron Cruickshank 2-21-10.5
KICKOFF RETURNS: Joshua Youngblood 5-113-22.6
Rutgers P Adam Korsak vs. Iowa P Tory Taylor: Two punters who have demonstrated the ability to significantly alter field position will duel in this game. Korsak, a preseason All-American who helped Rutgers set an NCAA net punting average record of 45.25 yards in 2021, has not had a touchback in his last 136 punts and averaged 42.1 yards on 12 punts this season. Taylor currently leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally with an average of 48.3 yards on 23 punts. Five of Korsak’s punts and 13 of Taylor’s efforts have been downed inside the 20-yard line.