Iowa Players Say Pittsburgh Has Big Ten Flavor

Iowa players say Pittsburgh has some Big Ten flavor.

Iowa's next opponent on their quest to begin the season unscathed is Pittsburgh from the ACC. The Hawkeyes were victorious over the Panthers last year 24-20 behind a comeback victory lead by C.J. Beathard at quarterback once he entered the game. 

Pittsburgh has a new coaching staff this year, with head coach Pat Narduzzi now taking the reins. Narduzzi has been the defensive coordinator at Michigan State over the last several seasons, working under Mark Dantonio. Because of that, it is expected that the Panthers may reflect Michigan State, but that isn't the only Big Ten program that Narduzzi's team reminds the Hawkeyes of. 

"They remind us of Michigan State a lot," Iowa wideout Jacob Hillyer said. "Special teams, they remind us of Maryland. I think having that film to look on from past games when we played Maryland and Michigan State, that will help us. They have pretty much the same defense. Their defensive backs are back. I think we'll be ready to show up if we put a good week of work in."

Pittsburgh's offense is a different animal, and it's reminiscent of the Badgers according to defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.

"The things they do offensively is what Wisconsin does," he shared. "We can go back and watch a little bit of what they done last year and Wisconsin's team, and go off of that."

Defensive end Nate Meier also gave his input of the physical style of offense Pittsburgh uses.

"Just like WIsconsin, they have big linemen and like to run the ball. They like smashmouth football and run the ball up the gut."

One missing piece of the puzzle for Pittsburgh is running back James Conner who is out for the year with a knee injury. Iowa realizes the advantage of not having to face Conner, while still noticing the success the replacement, Qadree Ollison, has had.

"(Ollison is a good back)," Jaleel Johnson mentioned. "With James Conner not being there, that's a load off our backs a little bit. He's a really good back. He's a very good football player. We just have to play aggressively, doesn't matter who's out there. (Ollison) is very fast. We have to keep him contained, just like we did last week and the week before that."

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