Indiana OT James Brewer vs. Iowa DE Broderick Binns – There's a lot to like about Iowa's defense, but one of the things that stands out the most is the defensive end tandem of Binns and Adrian Clayborn. IU senior left tackle Rodger Saffold will have his hands full with Clayborn, who leads Iowa in sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles and quarterback hurries. But it's the Binns vs. Brewer match-up that might be the most concerning for the Indiana coaching staff. At 6'2" and 255 pounds, Binns will pose some real challenges to the 6'8", 331-pound Brewer in obvious passing situations due to his quickness and athleticism. He also has long arms, which allows him to bat down his share of balls at the line of scrimmage. While Clayborn gets more of the notoriety, Binns has also been highly productive this season with 39 tackles, 6 ½ tackles for loss, four sacks and seven passes broken up. Brewer will have a nearly 80-pound edge on Binns and if he can get him engaged he can have some success. But getting a "helmet on a helmet" in this match-up will be a chore for Brewer as he tries keep himself in between Binns and IU quarterback Ben Chappell and running back Darius Willis.
Indiana QB Ben Chappell vs. Iowa safeties Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood - Iowa has intercepted more passes than any team in the country (15), and more than half of those have come courtesy its ball-hawking safeties. Sash is among the nation's leaders with five picks, while Greenwood has three. Long-time Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker puts that duo in a position to make plays with his zone coverage schemes. On most passing downs, Iowa will look to keep IU's receivers in front of them and then read Chappell's eyes and close quickly to make the play. If they're unable to break up the throw or come away with a turnover, Iowa safeties are both big and physical and capable of separating the receiver from the ball with a big hit. Chappell's challenge will be to take what the Iowa defense gives him and keep that duo from creating turnovers. Indiana would love to create some big plays in the passing game, but forcing the ball downfield against Iowa is easier said than done. Iowa hasn't given up a play of 39 yards or more since its Big Ten opener when Penn State quarterback Darryl Clark hooked up with Chaz Powell for a 79-yard touchdown on the Lions' opening offensive play from scrimmage.
IA RB Brandon Wegher vs. Indiana's Front Seven – Indiana has seemingly caught a break in this weekend's match-up, as Iowa will be playing without running back Adam Robinson. The team's leading rusher with 135 carries for 629 yards and five touchdowns, Robinson will miss the remainder of the regular season after suffering a high ankle sprain in Saturday's win over Michigan State. That means Iowa will have to turn to Wegher, a 5'11", 206-pound true freshman who has 87 carries for 321 yards (3.7 avg.) and three touchdowns this season. Indiana's defensive strategy figures to be to try to shut down Wegher early and make the Hawkeyes one-dimensional. While Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi is a big reason why Iowa is off to an 8-0 start, his numbers (57.1% completion rate, 219.1 yards/game) don't make him the most prolific quarterback in the conference. He also doesn't have the same sort of mobility that most of the other quarterbacks Indiana has faced in recent weeks.
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
IOWA: Three Days and Counting
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