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Hawkeyes gaining steam among national pundits

[ 0 ] September 30, 2013 |

USA TODAY isn’t exactly ready to place the Iowa football team near its top 25 yet, but has “re-ranked” the Hawkeyes as the No. 56 team in the country, moving them up 10 spots from last week.

The list, which is separate from the weekly top 25 coaches’ poll, gives the biggest credit to West Virginia, which moved up 25 spots to No. 51 after its 30-21 win against Oklahoma State on Saturday. Iowa (4-1, 1-0), which beat Minnesota 23-7 in a Big Ten opener, was tied for the sixth-most improvement in the standings.

Kevonte Martin-Manley and Iowa are riding high after winning four straight games, including a 23-7 triumph Saturday at Minnesota. (Bryon Houlgrave-Register photo)

Kevonte Martin-Manley and Iowa are riding high after winning four straight games, including a 23-7 triumph Saturday at Minnesota. (Bryon Houlgrave-Register photo)

Still, seven Big Ten teams come before the Hawkeyes (No. 3 Ohio State, No. 17 Michigan, No. 18 Northwestern, No. 26 Wisconsin, No. 29 Nebraska, No. 32 Michigan State, No. 33 Penn State).

The Hawkeyes host Michigan State at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Other national news sources’ thoughts on Iowa:

  • ESPN was impressed by linebacker James Morris, giving him the Big Man on Campus award for his play against Minnesota. Morris had eight tackles, a sack and an interception while helping hold the Gophers to 165 total yards. And the Hawkeyes come in sixth (up from ninth last week) in the ESPN Big Ten blog’s most recent power rankings. Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett explain:

We knew Iowa was an improved team, but we needed a little more validation. Kirk Ferentz’s crew provided it Saturday with a dominant performance against Minnesota to ruin its rival’s homecoming. The offense is significantly better behind quarterback Jake Rudock and running back Mark Weisman, and an opportunistic defense shut down Minnesota’s run game and controlled the line of scrimmage. Iowa is minutes away from being undefeated and returns home to play Michigan State with a bunch of momentum.

  • Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network was quite impressed with the play of sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock, writing:

He had never taken a snap at Iowa, making him a great unknown entering the season as the winner of a three-man quarterback derby. What has Rudock done? Only impressed with his efficient play, showing moxie in pocket and nifty feet. The sophomore seems unflappable and mature beyond his years. What a bright future for a dangerous Hawkeye team.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Dan Monson: Dan has been with the Des Moines Register for three years as a sports/digital copy editor. He's a Michigan native with deep Iowa and Midwest roots. View author profile.

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