No. 20 Iowa hosts Rutgers in Big Ten opener
Rutgers (1-0) at No. 20 Iowa (1-0), Saturday at 12 p.m. EDT (FS1).
Line: Iowa by 20.
Series record: Iowa leads 1-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Iowa has a huge rivalry matchup at No. 25 Iowa State next week, so it’ll look to take another step forward against its first Power 5 opponent of the season. Rutgers coach Chris Ash could really use a signature Big Ten win as he seeks to move off the hot seat.
The trenches: Iowa’s offensive and defensive lines are as tough and physical as ever. Can the Scarlet Knights match the Hawkeyes’ effort in the trenches in their first visit to Kinnick Stadium? If they can, Rutgers might have a shot at making it a game heading into the fourth quarter.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Iowa: DE A.J. Epenesa: Miami (Ohio) rendered the preseason first-team All-American ineffective in last week’s 38-14 loss to Iowa, although the attention it paid to Epenesa left the RedHawks vulnerable elsewhere. Watch for Iowa to move Epenesa around in an effort to exploit matchups.
Rutgers: QB McLane Carter: The Texas Tech transfer threw for 340 yards and two TDs in last week’s 48-21 over UMass. But Carter also threw three picks — and Iowa had more interceptions that any team in the country in 2017-18.
FACTS & FIGURES
This is just the second meeting between Iowa and the Big Ten’s newest team. The Hawkeyes prevailed in Piscataway 14-7 three years ago. ... Rutgers coach Chris Ash grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, about an hour’s drive from Kinnick Stadium. ... Rutgers hasn’t beaten a Top 25 opponent since 2009. The Scarlet Knights are 0-15 against Top 25 teams from the Big Ten since joining the league. ... Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, a Newark native, caught a touchdown pass in last week’s win over Miami.
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