Wyoming QB draws comparisons to Steelers great

Cowboys' Josh Allen is a potential first-round NFL draft pick

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa football team will battle one of college football's best quarterbacks at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.

Wyoming's Josh Allen is a potential first-round NFL draft pick. So how is the Hawkeye defense preparing to face him?

"I can look at the quarterback and say, geez, that guy is pretty good, and it was kind of the same way with Roethlisberger," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Ferentz isn't known for using hyperbole and neither is defensive coordinator Phil Parker.

"Maybe when Ben was, you know, his second or third time that we played him," Parker said. "Just seemed like he was more knowledgeable. He feels confident down there and he can zing the ball." 

So comparing the Wyoming quarterback to Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger is high praise ahead of the season opener.

"He has a very strong arm," Parker said. "I think he's very composed, you know, they're well-coached. He knows what he's doing in the offense and they do a very good job of moving him where he can have the chance to be successful."

Iowa defeated Roethlisberger three straight years when he played at Miami of Ohio. The Hawkeyes will only get one shot at the Cowboys senior, and cornerback Josh Jackson said Allen's arm will keep the back half of the defense honest.

"He can make any throw across the field," Jackson said. "So regardless of whatever we're in, you have to know formations and just really pay attention to that... you can't sleep on him."

Slowing down Allen and that Wyoming attack is going to be tough for the Hawkeyes on Saturday, but they say having discipline is the key to having success.

"Being able to stay in coverage throughout the whole process of a play," Iowa senior linebacker Josey Jewell said. "You're gonna have to be able to stay on your guy, match him, no matter what happens."

"If you give him a lot of time he's going to find somebody open, and somebody is going to be open because you can only cover for so long," Ferentz said. "So yeah, you want to disrupt him if possible, and preferably, like every coach, you'd like to do it with four guys."

Getting pressure on Allen is important. Iowa junior defensive lineman Parker Hesse says doing it while keeping him between the tackles is even better.

"A lot of their big plays come when he's outside the pocket extending plays," Hesse said. "So as a defensive line, you know, we're gonna try to disrupt and make him uncomfortable, but we're gonna stay within the bounds of our defense."

A lot of Hawkeyes defenders drew comparisons with the Wyoming offense to North Dakota State from a season ago. That shouldn't surprise anybody, because Cowboys coach Craig Bohl used to coach at NDSU before going to Laramie and turning the Cowboys program around. 

For more Hawkeye football coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Hawkeye Headquarters on OurQuadCities.com all season.


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