C.J. Beathard is already without his go-to receiver for the foreseeable future. Now, he could be without his safety blanket for Iowa’s toughest game of the season.

Iowa tight end George Kittle, who left Saturday’s game against Purdue with a foot injury, is not expected to be a factor on Saturday.

“For us to count on him, I think that’s probably unrealistic at this point,” Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday during the B1G Teleconference.

Ferentz did add that the injury didn’t appear as bad as initially feared. The injury is not a fracture. Kittle left the first quarter and came back in the second half wearing a protective boot.

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He’s Iowa’s second-leading active pass-catcher with 280 yards and two scores. Kittle has just nine yards less than leading receiver Riley McCarron.

C.J. Beathard has struggled since No. 1 target Matt VandeBerg went down. The Iowa quarterback only completed 60 percent of his passes and surpassed 162 passing yards one time in four B1G games.

The Hawkeyes are coming off their best game of the season running ball. Iowa racked up 365 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 49-point outburst against Purdue.

If Kittle is unable to go, Iowa could turn to junior Peter Pekar or freshmen Noah Fant and Nate Wieting, all who have a combined four catches for 21 yards and a score.

Whatever Iowa does, it’ll need someone to step up against its first top-25 opponent of 2016.

“We’ll keep playing,” Ferentz said. “We’re not going to cancel the game.”