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Rodriguez likes Iowa ‘D’

BY BRENDAN STILES | OCTOBER 07, 2009 7:20 AM

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When the Michigan Wolverines come to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night, they’ll enter on a down note.

In September, Michigan wasn’t flawless but advanced through the month unscathed with a 4-0 mark. However, the Wolverines visited Michigan State last week and were handed their first defeat, falling in overtime, 26-20.

One of the more glaring statistics showed up in the running game: The Wolverines managed only 28 yards on the ground.

When asked about what he expects from the Hawkeye defense this week, Iowa’s front four caught the attention of Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez.

“They’re as active and use their hands as well as any front that I’ve seen in the last several years,” he said during the Big Ten football teleconference on Tuesday.

The former West Virginia head coach also talked about how his team’s spread offense, led by true freshman quarterback Tate Forcier, will have to scrap hard for every yard Michigan gets on Saturday.

“They’re so good defensively, they don’t give up hardly any big plays,” Rodriguez said. “They’re keeping everything in front of them, and you have to earn what you get.

“Nobody has been able to move the ball consistently on them all year.”

Illinois

The biggest bombshell in the Big Ten this week came from Champaign, Ill.

After the Fighting Illini dropped to 1-3 with a 35-17 home loss to Penn State, Illinois head coach Ron Zook announced senior quarterback Juice Williams would be benched in favor of junior Eddie McGee when the Illini host Michigan State on Saturday.

Through four games, Williams has just one touchdown pass, and he has thrown four interceptions on the year. McGee saw the most action in Illinois’ lone victory, over Illinois State on Sept. 12, after Williams went out with a thigh injury.

Indiana

After a rough 33-14 loss at home last weekend to Ohio State, the Indiana Hoosiers will play a game at Virginia.

Originally, the contest was supposed to be a home game for the Hoosiers against South Florida, which plays in the Big East and is ranked 23rd in the AP poll.

However, the Bulls backed out of the game late, and Indiana had to agree to a sixth road game as a result, with the Cavaliers willing to welcome the Hoosiers to Charlottesville, Va.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said during the Big Ten football teleconference on Tuesday. “It’s an opportunity to go play a good, traditional ACC school that has been very, very successful — particularly with Coach [Al] Groh, while he’s been there.

“We know it’s going to be a good challenge and knew it was going to be when it was scheduled.”


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