Bobby La Gesse/Land of 10
Defensive end A.J. Epenesa (left) and his pass rush will be vital to Iowa against Penn State.

Why A.J. Epenesa is Iowa’s secret weapon; Saquon Barkley’s comments prompt more preparation

Iowa football is always the main topic in Iowa Breakfast Club, Land of 10’s daily Hawkeyes notebook — but we cover news, notes and analysis across Hawkeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Iowa football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Play the man

Iowa needs to disrupt and contain Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley if it is to slow down the Nittany Lions offense. Land of 1o explains why freshman defensive end A.J. Epenesa may be the secret weapon and why his snaps should increase this week.

Saturdays are for the boys

The Hawkeyes aren’t afraid to play freshman. Nine are playing so far this season. Land of 10 looks at the impact the newcomers have on the team.

No quitting on preparation

Iowa players remember Penn State running back Saquon Barkley saying the team gave up in the second half of the game last season. They aren’t using it as motivation. Instead, they are using it to remind them about the importance of preparation.

Cutting out the celebration

Running back Akrum Wadley was as frustrated on Tuesday with his unsportsmanlike penalty for high-stepping into the end zone on a potential touchdown as he was when it happened on Saturday. It doesn’t change the fact the flag cost him a touchdown. As a result, Wadley isn’t going to be waltzing into the end zone any time soon.

Perfect fit

The Nittany Lions opened as a 12 1/2-point favorite over the Hawkeyes. Being an underdog fits Iowa and Rob Howe of explained why on Tuesday.

Athleticism stands out

The Hawkeyes must play better than the 41-14 loss to the Nittany Lions last year. I know, duh, right? Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette does a great job explaining all the ways it must happen and some ways, like with the defensive front 7, that most aren’t thinking about right now.

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