When the Iowa Hawkeyes entered week five of the college football season, there was much consternation around their top-5 ranking and how the team would hold up when they hit the teeth of the Big Ten schedule. On Friday night, we got a lot of those questions answered.
Iowa thoroughly dominated previously unbeaten Maryland on Friday night and now enter week six ranked third in the nation. Most Hawkeye fans and media talking heads have come to accept that regardless of individual talent or star rankings, Iowa is deserving of being mentioned among the best teams in the nation.
But a new test awaits them as they play host to #4 Penn State in the first top-5 matchup in Kinnick Stadium since the #1 Hawkeyes defeated the #2 Michigan Wolverines in 1985.
Ahead of that matchup, the Hawkeyes released a fresh depth chart on Monday and in a bit of a surprise, we have some shakeup along the offensive line.
Here’s a look at how things stand heading into the matchup with Penn State.
- Kyler Schott is your new starter at LG. He was listed as the backup RG a week ago but did get the start at LG against Maryland. he played on 56% of Iowa’s offensive snaps in the game, but it’s worth noting the Iowa offense rotated in 11 different linemen during the game given the blowout nature.
- With Schott back at LG, Cody Ince moves out of the starting rotation to backup LG. That takes redshirt freshman Tyler Elsbury out of the two deeps...at that position.
- True freshman Connor Colby, like Schott, finds himself officially listed as the starter this week after actually making the start at Maryland. He played one fewer snap than Schott in that one and looked pretty good doing so.
- With Colby as the starter, Justin Britt slides to the backup spot. It’s worth noting that despite being the backup, he played only two fewer snaps than Colby (42) against Maryland.
- The only other change this week is the landing spot for the aforementioned Elsbury. After being displaced as the backup at LG, he finds himself listed as the backup at RT behind Nick DeJong. That’s the spot previously held by Colby.
No changes to note on the defensive side (as you might expect given how tremendous that entire unit has looked) or on special teams. This week will be interesting to follow up front. Iowa’s offensive line struggled a bit early, but looked very solid against Maryland.
The Hawkeyes continue to rotate several players on the line. As noted, 11 different linemen got reps. But we saw 7 different players log at least 42 reps (53% of totall offensive plays). That is to say the rotation didn’t really shrink tremendously. At some point, George Barnett, Brian Ferentz and the Iowa offense are going to have to settle in to their top 5 and let them gel.
Iowa and Penn State are set for a 3pm CT kickoff on Saturday. This week’s game will be broadcast on FOX with Iowa City the location for FOX’s Big Noon Saturday pregame show. The game will be Iowa’s annual “spirit game” with sections wearing black or gold based on number.