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Iowa football: 5 questions about the Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] October 10, 2012 |

Randy Peterson answers these five questions from fans:

Iowa is going to have to play very well to win to win Saturday. Michigan State hasn’t played its best game. Do you agree?

Iowa can’t afford to play a stinker game, that’s for sure. The Hawkeyes are not good enough to NOT bring their A-game against Big Ten Conference opponents, or against most other opponents, for that matter. Michigan State hasn’t played its best 60-minute game yet, but there have been some very solid segments of games. Neither team has played a full 60.

You vote: Hawkeyes or Spartans? Who else in the Big Ten wins Saturday?

Iowa defensive back Tanner Miller grabs the face mask of Michigan State running back Edwin Baker during last year’s game at Kinnick Stadium. (David Purdy / Register photo)

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Something happened in last year’s game against Michigan State – something sinister. What was it?

Spartans players admitted staying on the ground longer than usual during second-half plays, a slowing effect aimed at stopping the Hawkeyes’ momentum.

“When the offense is moving like that, the smart move is to go down and just take your time and don’t kind of rush through it, and that’s what we did,” defensive tackle Jerel Worthy told the Lansing State Journal after the game.

Iowa trailed 31-7 at halftime before losing 37-21 at Kinnick Stadium. At least five Spartans players left the game for injuries between the third and fourth quarters. At least two returned after sitting out just one play.

“They seemed like they were just falling down. It looked suspicious,” Hawkeye cornerback Micah Hyde said after the game. “We had some momentum, and they wanted to stop the clock so they could get their rest, but that has nothing to do with the game. We shouldn’t have been in that situation trying to fight from behind.”

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Braxton Miller is sneaking up the Heisman Trophy list. Should he be a legitimate candidate despite playing for a team that can’t have a postseason?

If Heisman voters pick Ohio State’s versatile quarterback, then no question: He is deserving. It’s not his fault he plays for a team that broke rules. The rule-breaking didn’t pertain to him, did it? No one questioned his recruitment.

He’s a good community citizen, people close to the program say. Remember last season when quarterback Matt Barkley finished sixth in Heisman voting while playing for postseason ineligible Southern California? Miller’s Ohio State team is unbeaten. He has 1,823 total yards, including 763 rushing. He is directly involved with 17 touchdowns.

Deserving of the Heisman? If voters select him, then absolutely.

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What’s up with road games and Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg?

It’s been a collective effort, the Hawkeyes’ record when Vandenberg starts a game outside Kinnick Stadium. He’s not the only reason Iowa is 2-6 when Vandenberg starts a road game, compared to 9-3 at Kinnick.

Credit, too, should go to opponents like eighth-ranked Ohio State, No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 22 Nebraska and Iowa State.

So what’s up? It’s something that needs to be fixed Saturday: If the Hawkeyes are to upset the Spartans, it’s probably going to be by passing, considering Michigan State allows an average of just 86.0 rushing yards a game. Six of eight Spartans opponent touchdowns have been through the air.

Podcast: Randy Peterson talks about the Hawkeyes with Chris Cuellar

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Should Micah Hyde have been suspended?

Not touching that one. The starting cornerback was arrested for public intoxication and eluding police just before bar-closing time Saturday morning. That’s not bank robbery. He wasn’t charged with hurting anyone, either. It happened during Iowa’s bye week, and it was Hyde’s first offense.

Those are facts that coach Kirk Ferentz used to determine that Hyde would be punished in ways other than suspension. Hyde was unsure what his sanction would be until meeting with Ferentz on Sunday morning.

“He said that I’ve been in pretty good shape since I’ve been here,” Hyde said Tuesday. “I’ve kept my nose clean. I’m fortunate I get to play on Saturday.”

He won’t be a captain, though. Temporarily, that honor was removed.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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