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Rutgers football game week opponent profile: Iowa

The Rutgers football team will have a tough test facing Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.  – Photo by @CFBRep /

The Rutgers football team will go on the road to face off against Iowa on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights (6-3, 3-3) will look to bounce back against the Hawkeyes (7-2, 4-2) after suffering a 35-16 defeat to Ohio State last weekend.

No. 22 Iowa has struggled on the offensive front this season, scoring the second-fewest points in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes also average the third-fewest passing yards per game in the nation.

Additionally, Iowa was hit with an injury blow in October when its starting quarterback Cade McNamara suffered an ACL tear, which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

Deacon Hill, who replaced McNamara, owns a 3-1 record as the starter and has thrown for 492 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Erick All is the leading receiver for the Hawkeyes, with 21 receptions for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Standing at 6-foot-5 with impressive catching ability, All should make an impact on Saturday.

Iowa has relied heavily on its running game, which has been split between Leshon Williams and Kaleb Johnson. Williams and Johnson have combined for 184 carries, 875 yards and three touchdowns. The Hawkeyes' rushing attack averages 114.6 yards per game. 

Similarly to Rutgers, Iowa’s biggest strength is its defense. The Hawkeyes only allow opponents to score 13.67 points per game on average, the fourth-lowest in the nation.

Jay Higgins has recorded 113 tackles this season, along with a forced fumble, a sack and an interception. Higgins is a versatile linebacker who can rush the passer and drop into coverage. Junior quarterback Gavin Wimsatt will need to always be aware of where Higgins is lining up this weekend.

The Knights' offensive line will also need to successfully prevent Joe Evans from getting to Wimsatt, as he leads Iowa with 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.

Cooper DeJean might be the Hawkeyes' biggest offensive threat, even though he plays defense. DeJean returned three interceptions for touchdowns last season and this year, he has two interceptions — though neither were for a touchdown. DeJean also plays on special teams and has 20 punt returns for 238 yards and a touchdown.

Rutgers is already well acquainted with DeJean. In last year's matchup against Iowa, he returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown.

Higgins, Evans and DeJean could cause trouble for the Knights if they are not accounted for.

Rutgers will look to junior running back Kyle Monangai and senior wide receiver Christian Dremel to gain yardage and score points on this vaunted Iowa defense.

The contest is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and broadcast on 88.7 WRSU-FM and WFAN.

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on X.

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