The Iowa Hawkeyes are off to a 2-0 start after victories over Northern Illinois and Iowa State and the defense has looked superb. They've given up just 10 points in the two games and I don't even feel we should count the touchdown Northern Illinois scored with 2:12 left in the opener when they trailed 33-0.

The entire defense has looked good, but opposing quarterbacks must be really dreading third down and long. That's when they know for sure they'll see #94, A.J. Epenesa, this week's Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

What's especially impressive about Epenesa is that he doesn't see that many snaps, as a non-starter. Here's what he did against Iowa State on Saturday: Five total tackles, two sacks/tackles for loss for 15 yards, a forced fumble, and a pass break-up. Iowa's defense allowed Iowa State only 19 rushing yards Saturday, the fifth-lowest total in Kirk Ferentz's 20 years as Iowa head coach.

In week one against Northern Illinois, the stats were impressive, as well: Four total tackles, one sack/tackle for loss for seven yards, a forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries.

Epenesa was a much-touted recruit and the reasons are obvious. More so each and every week. This weekend, Epenesa will be hunting Panthers... the Northern Iowa Panthers (6:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network) in the first of back-to-back night games at Kinnick Stadium. The game time for Iowa-Wisconsin was announced this morning. It's a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday, September 22... live on Fox-TV. Both remaining September games in Iowa City are sold out.

Iowa State v Iowa
Matthew Holst, Getty Images

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