IOWA CITY, Iowa — North Dakota State coach Chris Klieman believes Iowa is the best team in the Big Ten West and should claim the division title this year.
“I don’t see a reason why they are not favored to win every game the rest of the season,” Klieman said Monday during his weekly news conference. “I don’t know how their schedule lays out, but in that Big Ten side that they are on, I think they are the best team.”
Iowa and North Dakota State play Saturday at noon (ET) in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are 2-0 after scoring 40-plus points in their first two games and beating Miami of Ohio and Iowa State by a combined 63 points. North Dakota State is an FCS program, but is the five-time defending national champion and has won its last five games against FBS teams.
Still, Klieman said he was “leery” about facing Iowa and its physical brand of football after seeing the Hawkeyes rush for 410 yards and average 6.3 yards per carry to start the season.
“It’s like ‘we are going to line up and we are going to run right at you and we are going to knock you off the football and can you hold up?’ ” Klieman said. “The first two opponents they have played have not held up, so that is alarming to us because they are playing decent football teams that can’t hold up. So how are we going to be able to hold up with our front seven?”