Iowa football: 5 questions with Rick Brown

Rick Brown
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz

Highlights from Wednesday's live chat with Hawkeyes columnist Rick Brown:


I say C.J. (Beathard) gets the start and it's more about him "winning" the job versus Jake (Rudock) "losing" the job. Agree?

This is a perfect time to start him. And that's no slam on Jake Rudock. But some guys are better coming off the bench than they are starting the game. Let C.J. start and see what he can do. Hopefully Rudock is able to go, too. Because if he can't, and C.J. is injured, then freshman Tyler Wiegers loses the redshirt and gets thrust into action.

The team has a spark when C.J. comes into the game. Do you get any sense from the players they enjoy one quarterback over the other?

I honestly don't sense that. In fact, (center) Austin Blythe hinted that it's a mistake to give C.J. all the credit for the second-half flip at Pitt. He said they were close to getting things turned around in the first half. If any of these players believe your premise, they sure don't share it.

With the exception of three minutes against Ball State, the Iowa offense was markedly better with Beathard in for two quarters against Pitt. It's pretty obvious. I get that Kirk Ferentz values loyalty but does it sometimes blind him to things?

I don't know if he's blind to it. I think there's a long list of things that are graded — fall camp, games and in-season practices. Jake Rudock has the better grades.

I still can't believe they lost at home to Iowa State. But do you think it may have been the best thing to happen in a way? Not sure they toughen up in the second half of Pitt if they didn't get bit in the second half the week before.

Well, I asked a handful of friends (Iowa fans) if they would rather be 3-1 with a win against Iowa State and a loss to Pitt. All five said yes. Maybe backs to the wall had something to do with Pitt. But the Iowa State loss is going to hang over this team all season long.

What should I watch for when Purdue is on offense?

Quarterback Danny Etling has completed 57.4 percent of his passes, for 739 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. Raheem Mostert is the leading rusher with 293 yards (4.4 a carry). Justin Sinz is the top receiver at 16 catches. Danny Anthrop has a team-high 204 yards receiving on 12 catches. Akeem Hunt is another back to watch (179 yards, 5.8 average).



Five Big Ten teams rank in the top 20 nationally in rushing defense this season. Penn State leads the nation at 49.5 yards a game, followed by Michigan State (fifth, 71.7), Michigan (ninth, 80.3), Wisconsin (14th, 91.0) and Iowa (17th, 95.5). … Melvin Gordon's 253 yards rushing for Wisconsin last week against Bowling Green included a school-record 19.5 yards per carry. The Badgers established modern-era Big Ten records with 644 rushing yards and 756 total yards. … A Memorial Stadium-record 91,585 fans watched Nebraska beat Miami of Florida last week 41-31. The Cornhuskers have sold out every home game since Nov. 20, 1962. … Indiana's Tevin Coleman leads the nation in both rushing yards (189.7) and all-purpose yards (221.3) per game. … Maryland's William Likely is second nationally in punt returns (27.5). … Iowa opens Big Ten play at Purdue on Saturday. The Hawkeyes have won three straight games on the road, their longest streak since 2009, and five of the last six.



Maryland makes its Big Ten debut at Indiana (12:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). This is a big game for both teams. The Terrapins (3-1) appear to be better than advertised. Indiana (2-1) can make the same claim, especially after knocking off a top-25 team last week (Missouri) on the road. The Hoosiers have been a pass-first program under coach Kevin Wilson, but Tevin Coleman is the nation's leading rusher. Go figure. And Maryland has one of the nation's best receivers in Stefon Diggs (23 catches, 286 yards and a touchdown). This is Indiana's second home game of the season. And the most important one of the season.