IOWA: Four Days and Counting

Bloomington - Big Ten frontrunner Iowa (8-0/4-0) hosts Indiana (4-4/1-3) Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Hoosier Nation continues its day-by-day preview of the match-up with Four Names to Know off Coach Kirk Ferentz's roster...

Adrian Clayborn, DE Indiana fans should be familiar with Clayborn's name, since the IU staff made a serious ran at trying to recruit him to Bloomington. But it was Coach Kirk Ferentz that won the battle for the 6'3", 282-pound St. Louis, Mo., native, and he's developed into one of the league's best defensive ends. He has some of the similar traits to IU's Greg Middleton in that he can overwhelm offensive tackles with either his athleticism or his size and strength. Clayborn leads Iowa in sacks (6), tackles for loss (9 ½), quarterback hurries (7) and forced fumbles (3), and he's coming off a two-sack performance in Saturday's 15-13 win at Michigan State. That performance earned him co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. Earlier this month, Clayborn was tabbed as the Big Ten's Special Teams Player of the Week after blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown in Iowa's 21-10 win at Penn State.

Tony Moeaki, TE - Iowa has a tradition of producing highly-talented tight ends, ranging from Marv Cook in the 1990s to Dallas Clark earlier this decade. Now, it's Moeaki who is having his name tossed around with that sort of elite company. The 6'4", 250-pound senior comes from the same Warrenville (Ill.) South program that produced starting IU center Will Matte, and he's been Iowa's most reliable pass catching option. Moeaki ranks second on the team in receptions (21), fourth in receiving yardage (251) and first in receiving touchdowns (4) despite missing three games with an ankle injury. That was the most recent injury for a player that's been player who's been plagued by them during his career. Moeaki missed most of the 2007 season after dislocating his elbow and breaking his hand on the same play against Wisconsin. Then in 2008, he missed a couple of games after breaking his foot in fall camp, and was then saddled with hamstring and calf injuries for the rest of the season. But he's finally healthy and is a difference-maker in the passing game. Indiana will be hard-pressed to stick a linebacker on Moeaki Saturday.

Joe Conklin, FS - Iowa has a good one at free safety in junior Brett Greenwood, who ranks among the team leaders in tackles (46), interceptions (three), passes broken up (five) and passes defensed (eight). But Greenwood was strapped down and carted off the field Saturday following a helmet-to-helmet hit with teammate Tyler Sash. Greenwood returned to the sidelines in the second half, but it would appear unlikely that he'll be cleared to play this weekend. If that is the case, Iowa will likely turn to the fifth-year senior Conklin as his replacement. While Conklin has been around awhile, he's played sparingly during a college career that started at Iowa State before transferring to Iowa as a walk-on. Conklin has played in only seven college games, including five this season. He has one career tackle and one pass broken up, and would seem to be a player that IU could target.

Brandon Wegher, RB – One of three true freshmen to play this season for Iowa, the 5'11", 206-pound Wegher has rotated with Adam Robinson as the team's primary ball carriers. Iowa's plans heading into the season were most likely to redshirt Wegher, but that all changed when projected starter (and Indianapolis Ben Davis H.S. product) Jewel Hampton was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Wegher has filled in nicely, carrying 87 times for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Wegher has back up Robinson (135 carries, 629 yards, 5 TDs) each week, but Robinson suffered an ankle injury Saturday at Michigan State. It's unclear how serious the injury is, but it could result in an increased workload for this Dakota Dunes, S.D., product.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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