Iowa and Michigan State face off on Saturday night with a Big Ten Championship on the line. The Hawkeyes enter the game at 12-0 and 8-0 in the Big Ten while the Spartans are 11-1 and 7-1 in the league. Michigan State's only loss came against Nebraska but responded with wins over Ohio State and Penn State.
Both teams are built the same way and the players from each squad have taken notice.
"They do a lot of the same stuff as we do," Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard said. "They're a tough, physical football team. We are as well. We both have a pro-style offense with a tough defense. They have a lot of physical guys and pride themselves on hard work. They're a tough team. It'll be a battle. We have to play our best football."
"I'm sure similar thoughts are going through their head that we had," Michigan State signal caller Connor Cook shared. "That's what makes it great. Having a chip on your shoulder is great. You're going out there to earn respect and to prove something. They have that mentality."
"My final college decision came down to Michigan State and Iowa," Spartans' center Jack Allen noted. "They're coached by a great coach. Kirk Ferentz is a great guy and a great coach. They preach toughness, hard work, and discipline. It's similar to here."
"In a sense, yeah," Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun pointed out about the teams being similar. "They line up and pound the ball in the running game. They give their passes a better opportunity to be completed."
Both the Hawkeyes and Spartans are well aware of the challenge that awaits them on Saturday night. Each side knows the other will present a stiff test and they wouldn't be in Indianapolis if they weren't great football teams.
"We respect Michigan State," Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard stated. "They've played good opponents and good teams."
"There's not going to be any curveballs thrown unless they do something new this week," Hawkeye linebacker Cole Fisher said about the Spartans. "Overall, they're definitely dangerous."
"They're a tough football team," Michigan State's Jack Allen told the media about the Hawkeyes. "They're very football sound. They're always holding their gaps down. They're a smart, disciplined, tough football team."
"Their offensive line is very big, big maulers, and they push you off the ball," Shilique Calhoun of Michigan State explained.