Iowa’s primary offensive objective will be to establish the run game Friday, most likely by feeding its 225-pound fullback as often as possible, Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said.
Last year’s 20-7 win against the Hawkeyes was “kind of a grind-it-out game,” Papuchis said. And because Iowa’s philosophy (run first, then play-action off that) hasn’t changed too drastically since, Papuchis is expecting much of the same again.
So NU’s game plan starts here: Designing a way to slow down sophomore Mark Weisman — who’s been battling a leg injury but was in the lineup last week. Weisman averaged 155.8 rushing yards in the four games before playing banged up against Penn State on Oct. 20.
“He’s a pounder,” Papuchis said. “He’s physical and he’s downhill. He’s faster than you would expect him to be when he gets in the open field.”
Similar to Penn State’s Zach Zwinak (141 yards vs. NU), Papuchis said. Loosely comparable to Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell (188 yards vs. NU), too.
Other notes from Papuchis are below…
>> Nebraska’s getting healthy again on the defensive line, Papuchis said. “We’re practicing with our full complement of guys right now, which for this point in the year is obviously a good thing.”
>> Papuchis said the Huskers have been more consistent tacklers as the season’s progressed.
>> Are there all-Big-Ten-worthy honorees on this defense? Papuchis said he’s not sure, just because he doesn’t watch other teams’ defenses. But he mentioned defensive end Eric Martin, linebacker Will Compton and defensive back Ciante Evans as guys who should be considered.
>> Senior defensive end Joe Carter is starting to make a push, Papuchis said. Carter recorded a tackle for loss against Minnesota, his first stop behind the line of scrimmage since September.