IOWA CITY, Iowa — The cavalry is coming for Iowa this weekend.
Football coach Kirk Ferentz expects offensive lineman Boone Myers, tight end George Kittle and defensive tackle Nathan Bazata back to face No. 20 Penn State on Saturday.
“They will be ready to go,” the Iowa football coach said. “I don’t know if they’ll be 100 percent, but it will be tough to keep them out.”
The Hawkeyes will likely need all three starters if they’re to pull off the upset and become bowl eligible this weekend.
Myers left the Purdue game with a leg injury on Oct. 15. He didn’t play against Wisconsin on Oct. 22 ahead of the Hawkeyes bye last week. He is listed at left tackle on the depth chart for Saturday’s game.
Kittle, who suffered a lower-leg injury at Purdue, played in a limited role against the Badgers. Kittle has 17 receptions for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Ferentz is expecting Kittle to be a bigger contributor this week.
“He’ll be two weeks down the road from (the Wisconsin game),” Ferentz said. “So, hopefully, a lot better. He’s been better in practice. He’s not 100 percent.”
Myers and Kittle are two key pieces to the Iowa rushing attack. The Hawkeyes will lean on the duo to open holes against a Penn State team that allows 183.4 rushing yards per game.
Bazata went down with an ankle injury against Wisconsin but returned for a few snaps. He has recorded 28 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the first eight games.
It will be on Bazata and the defense to keep Penn State running back Saquon Barkley in check. Barkley leads the Big Ten with 888 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.