Kenny Iwebema, DE – The 6-4, 267-pound senior will be a load for the Hoosier offensive line – and more specifically sophomore left tackle Rodger Saffold - to handle. A preseason third-team All-American, Iwebema ranks second on the team with three sacks and is tied for the team lead with 4 ½ sacks. He has totaled 14 sacks during his career and anchors an Iowa defensive line that ranks 20th in the nation in sacks with 3.0/game. Indiana held him in check a year ago, preventing him from registering a tackle. It's pressure from the likes of Iwebema and fellow defensive end Bryan Mattison that helps make the Iowa defense go. With Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker generally opting to go with zone coverage schemes, it's imperative that the front four put pressure on the quarterback before wideouts are able to find holes in the zone. In additional to his work at defensive end, Iwebema can also give teams problems on special teams. He has blocked a pair of field goals this season.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, WR – or maybe James Cleveland…or perhaps Colin Sandeman. Iowa's wide receiving corps was hit hard in the off-season when last year's leading receiver, Dominique Douglas, was one of two players suspended indefinitely after they were arrested for unauthorized credit card use. If that wasn't bad enough, Coach Kirk Ferentz's team has lost its opening day starting wideouts Trey Stross and Andy Brodell to hamstring injuries in recent weeks. That's left the Hawkeyes with a trio of redshirt freshmen and a true freshman on the two-deep at the two receiver positions. Johnson-Koulianos caught four passes for 45 yards and had an acrobatic touchdown in last week's loss at Wisconsin, so he might be the most likely to emerge as a top target for quarterback Jake Christensen. But there's no doubt IU has caught a break by catching Iowa when its wide receiving corps is depleted.
Mike Klinkenborg, MLB - This 6-2, 240-pounder anchors the Hawkeye defense from his middle linebacker position. He ranked second in the Big Ten a year ago with 10.75 tackles/game, and he's picked up right where he left off this season, averaging 8.0 stops/contest during the season's first four weeks. He has recorded double-digit tackle efforts ten times during his career, including nine times last season. He'll play a big role in whether or not the Hawkeyes are able to keep the Hoosiers' running game in check.
Jake Christensen, QB – A Parade All-American coming out of high school, Christensen has taken over reigns of the Hawkeye offense with the graduation of Drew Tate a year ago. His arrival has been a highly anticipated one after he served as Tate's back-up a year ago. He started one game last season due to a Tate injury and responded with a 19-of-30 effort for 245 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-14 win over Northern Illinois. He's been hurt, though, by a slew of injuries to the Iowa wide receiving corps as well as a recent injury to starting tight end and the team's leading receiver, Tony Moeski. Without any proven commodities to throw to, Christensen has completed just 52.9 percent of his throws (64-of-121) this season and is averaging 174.5 yards passing/game.
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
IOWA: Four Days and Counting
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