Week two Big Ten opener a unique challenge for Iowa

Hawkeye Headquarters

Iowa will host Rutgers Saturday, September 7 at Kinnick Stadium to open up B1G play.

“It’s a Big Ten opponent,” said junior running back Mekhi Sargent. “You know they’re gonna bring the juice, they’re gonna bring the heat to us. We just gotta be ready.”

Saturday will mark the earliest date for a Big Ten game in Iowa history. But not everyone is as excited about the change.

“I’d rather play our (laughs) non-league games to me personally, but nobody asks for my opinion,” said head coach Kirk Ferentz. “I’m not waiting for ’em, either so…”

Ferentz’s irritation stemming from his opinion that early season games are about development at the college level.

“To me, the month of September especially is just about really focusing on trying to improve and pull things together, tie up the loose ends, those types of things,” said Ferentz. “So I’m sure they’re fighting the same battle, though, it’s their second game as well.”

It’s also just the second time these two programs have played. Toren Young says that makes the preparation different than most conference opponents.

“We don’t have much Iowa versus Rutgers film,” the junior running back said. “We played them one time, my freshman year. So we don’t completely know exactly what they’re gonna do against some of our looks.”

The only player on Iowa’s roster who’s truly familiar with Rutgers is probably Ihmir Smith-Marsette. The New Jersey native actually committed to the school before switching to Iowa.

“They’re my boys,” said the junior receiver. “I talk to them, keep in touch with them, so it’s gonna be fun…They’re gonna bring it and I’m gonna bring it, well, the offense is going to bring it, Iowa is going to bring it. So It’s just something I’m going out there and looking out forward to going out there and competing and having a fun time.”

Saturday will be the first time the Hawkeyes and Scarlet Knights have played at Kinnick Stadium.

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