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Iowa notes: O-line improvement, and a MAC attack

[ 0 ] September 17, 2013 |

CENTER OF ATTENTION:  Austin Blythe replaced three-year starter James Ferentz at center this season, and the redshirt sophomore from Williamsburg is improving with each game in the middle of Iowa’s offensive line.
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“I’ve been playing all right, but there’s always stuff that I can improve on just from watching film and talking with coach Brian (offensive line coach Brian Ferentz),” Blythe said.

Blythe and the Hawkeyes’ two guards – Jordan Walsh and Conor Boffeli – did a good job of clearing out the middle when the Hawkeyes rushed for 218 yards in 60 attempts against Iowa State. That included a 15-play touchdown drive that had 14 rushes; a nine-play touchdown drive that included seven rushes and a 14-play drive that included 13 rushes and resulted in a field goal.

“That speaks to the way we play the game,” Blythe said. “Physical and tough. If we’re running 60 times, it means we’re doing our job.”

WEIGHTY SCHEDULE: Western Michigan will be playing its third Big Ten opponent this season on Saturday. The Broncos opened with a 26-13 loss at Michigan State and lost at Northwestern 38-17 last week.

“I think it’s one of the hardest – pound for pound – nonconference schedules you can have in the country,” Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck said. “But I love the challenge, I love that we get a chance to play on the Big Ten Network and play Big Ten teams.”

MAC ATTACK: Iowa will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak to schools from the Mid-American Conference on Saturday. The Hawkeyes lost to Central Michigan last season 32-31, and to Northern Illinois 30-27 in this season’s opener.

Iowa is also 0-2 against Western Michigan, with both losses coming in Iowa City: 27-21 in 2000 and 28-19 in 2007. The loss in 2007, the final game of the season, knocked the Hawkeyes out of a bowl game.

TICKETS FOR SALE: Tickets remain for Iowa’s five remaining home games. That includes more than 4,000 for Saturday’s Western Michigan game. Single-game tickets are also available for students.

The ticket prices, for the general public and students, for the remaining games are: Western Michigan, $60/$40; Michigan State and Northwestern, $65/$50; and Wisconsin and Michigan, $70/$55.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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