Midseason review: Iowa


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 7-0 (3-0)

Iowa has been the guiding light for a league that most national observers still shove to the backdrop. The Hawkeyes own the nation's second-longest win streak (11 games) and are off to their best start since 1985. They're the Big Ten's only remaining realistic contender for the national title. Despite significant graduation losses, injuries to key contributors, a brutal conference road schedule and some in-game mistakes, Iowa has survived it all and kept winning. Iowa has won games with back-to-back blocked field goals (Northern Iowa), an incredible performance from the defensive line (Penn State), the return of an oft-injured star (Tony Moeaki vs. Michigan) and a dominant second half in all three phases (Wisconsin). Iowa will be tough to beat down the stretch if quarterback Ricky Stanzi and the offense continue to limit mistakes.

Offensive MVP, TE Tony Moeaki -- Moeaki has shown that when healthy, he's one of the best tight ends in the country. Despite missing three games with an ankle injury, Moeaki leads Iowa in receptions (20) and receiving touchdowns (4). Honorable mentions go to Stanzi, running back Adam Robinson and wideout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.

Defensive MVPs, S Tyler Sash and DE Adrian Clayborn -- It was an extremely tough decision so I decided to include both players. Sash is leading the Big Ten in interceptions (5) for the second consecutive season and showing he does more than pick off passes by ranking 15th in the league in tackles (7.4 tpg). Clayborn made arguably the biggest play of Iowa's season when he blocked a punt and returned it to the end zone at Penn State. Honorable mentions go to linebacker Pat Angerer, defensive end Broderick Binns and safety Brett Greenwood.