Schwartz: 10 Sentences: Hawkeye Opponent Edition

July 7, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

Schwartz: 10 Sentences: Hawkeye Opponent Edition

Ten opposing players to watch the Hawkeyes square off against in 2019:

1. Through two college seasons Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor has rushed for 29 touchdowns and nearly 4,200 yards – he averages 6.9 yards per carry for his career but “only” 5.1 against the Hawkeyes.

2. If Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore doesn’t remind you of former NFL great Steve Smith, I don’t know who will; sure, the Hawkeyes held the 5-foot-9 sophomore to just 31 yards on six catches last season, but considering he had a staggering 114 catches overall as a freshman, it’s a good bet Iowa will struggle to contain him Oct. 19 at Kinnick Stadium.

3. It’s hard to believe Michigan tackle Jon Runyan didn’t start his first college game at left tackle until last season against Notre Dame – it feels like he’s been around forever – but he has turned himself into an NFL prospect, and watching him square off against AJ Epenesa on Oct. 5 in Ann Arbor will be a treat.

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4. If you watched last year’s Iowa-Nebraska game, you already know that Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez is a handful: he’s the best QB the Huskers have had in years, nearly as dangerous on the ground as he is through the air – he’s the real deal.

5. On Nov. 16 the Hawkeyes will once again have to face Minnesota wide receiver Tyler Johnson, a 6-foot-2 target who went for 107 yards and a touchdown in Iowa’s win last season over the Gophers.

6. Northwestern defensive lineman Joe Gaziano has started 40 games over the last three seasons, earning All-Big Ten honors the last two, which means he’s experienced, talented, and will be a challenge for the Hawkeyes to block when they travel to Northwestern on Oct. 26.

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7. Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos made his first career start last season, and by the time the year was over, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound force had recorded 20 tackles for a loss.

8. Last season JaQuan Bailey led Iowa State’s defense in both tackles for loss and sacks, and he had more tackles than any other ISU defensive lineman; he’s a senior now, and if Iowa wants to beat the Cyclones yet again this season, they’re going to have to start by finding some way to contain Bailey.

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9. And while we’re on the Cyclones, keep an eye on special-teams return specialist Kene Nwangwu, who last season totaled three returns of at least 40 yards and led the Big 12 in yards per kickoff return (26.8).

10. If you’re looking for a reason to stay focused throughout Iowa’s season opener against Miami of Ohio, consider 295-pound defensive lineman Doug Costin, who does it all for the Redhawks; last season he totaled six sacks, totaled an insane 14 tackles against Army, and against Minnesota forced two fumbles and while earning a couple of sacks.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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