Posted by Adam Jacobi
Coming into today's matchup against undefeated Michigan State, No. 18 Iowa is undoubtedly going to need to depend on its vaunted rush defense; the Hawkeyes are eighth in the nation in rush defense, while the Spartans average almost 200 yards per game on the ground.
If Iowa's defense is going to step up today, they'll have to do it at less than full strength. Senior linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Troy Johnson were listed as starters on Iowa's two-deeps coming into this week, but as the team goes through its gameday prep, it appears neither player is actually going to start. Based on reports from Kinnick Stadium this afternoon, the linebackers running with the first-team defense during pre-game practice are freshmen Shane DiBona and James Morris, alongside regular starter Tyler Nielsen.
There's no telling as yet how much playing time will be split between the seniors and freshmen, since Hunter and Johnson are both dressed for the game, but it's safe to say Kirk Ferentz doesn't have much confidence in Hunter and Johnson's ability to put in four quarters today.