August 28, 2014

The Eternal Season - 8/28/14 - Sedge's 2014 Hawkeye Football Game Notes, Week 1. Northern Iowa @ Iowa

Sedge’s Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2014 Edition
Iowa’s Record: 0-0, 0-0 Big Ten, 0-0 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP: 68 votes
USA Today: 49 votes

August 30th v. Northern Iowa, 12:01 pm, BTN, 382 on TWC NYC, 610 DTV
September 6th v. Ball State, 3:30 pm, ESPN2
September 13th v. Iowa State, 3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
September 20th @ Pittsburg, TBD
September 27th @ •Purdue, 12:00 pm, TBD
October 11th v. Indiana, 12:00 pm, TBD
October 18th @ Maryland, 12:00 pm, TBD
November 1st v. •Northwestern, TBD
November 8th, @ •Minnesota, TBD
November 15th @ •Illinois, TBD
November 22nd v. •Wisconsin, TBD
November 28th v. •Nebraska (Black Friday), TBD

•Big Ten West Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting next opponent:
Colgate @ Ball State, 2:00 pm, ESPN3

Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
August 30th, 2014.  Iowa v. Northern Iowa Panthers, 0-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley
Previous Meetings: 16, Iowa leads 15-1
Last Meeting:  2012, Panthers 16, Hawkeyes 27

Current Line: no line for FCS teams.

Turnover Margin: ,  B1G #, FBS #

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2014
Total   000.0  Pass  000.0  Rush 000.0  Scoring 00.0
B1G    #             #                #                  #
FBS    #             #                #                  #
Total   000.0  Pass  000.0  Rush 000.0   Scoring 00.0
B1G    #            #                 #                   #
FBS    #            #                 #                   # 
The New Big Ten:
West                             East
Iowa                              Michigan
Nebraska                      Michigan State
Minnesota                     Ohio State
Wisconsin                     Penn State
Illinois                           Indiana
Northwestern               Maryland
Purdue                         Rutgers

Big Ten West Standings:
Iowa, 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West
Nebraska 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West
Minnesota 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West
Wisconsin 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West
Illinois 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West
Northwestern 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West
Purdue 0-0, 0-0 B1G, 0-0 B1G West

Week 1:  Northern Iowa

Welcome Hawkeye friends, to year 10 of Sedge’s Hawkeye Football Game Notes, and year 125 of Hawkeye Football.  

Also, year 16 of the Kirk Ferentz era.

And last - the 75th anniversary of the Hawkeye Ironmen.  Yes, Nile Kinnick, the Heisman Trophy winner in 1939, was one of them.

Where has the time gone…

Anyway, as I begin these notes, 18 days and counting away from kickoff, one thing is starting to become rather clear.

I’m going to need a bigger bandwagon.

Yes, you probably could figure, with the apparent ease of the schedule, and the 14 returning starters, that I would predict great things from the 2014 Iowa Football team.

And you would be right.

But now, all kinds of paid talking heads, at ESPN, the Big Ten Network, the various preview magazines, and the assorted Iowa message boards, are beginning to toss around thoughts the Hawks could be headed for the Big Ten title game.  Or more…

(reminder, the BCS is dead, 2014 begins year 1 of the ‘playoffs.’  Such as they are).

There is even speculation that if the Hawks and Badgers can both start 10-0, we will have ESPN Game Day return to Iowa City for the de facto ‘Big Ten West’ title game.

(Sorry, the Nebraska team we smacked around in Lincoln is not winning the West, despite what some of the media think).

Of course, there are also people that think Iowa will be 6th (out of 7) in the division.  I don’t think they watch at lot of Big Ten football.

The Big Ten realignment to accommodate Rutgers and Maryland has the Hawkeyes now in the West, with the Rodents, Huskers, Mildcats, Purdue (our rival!), Badgers, and Illini.  That’s team with the banned mascot, the one we have not played since 2008.  We play all of them, of course. 

And our cross over games in 2014 are Indiana and Maryland.  In 2013 Indiana had a great offense - and no defense.  Maryland is about to learn what 3 yards and a pile of dust means.  

So that means no Ohio State, no Michigan (boo), no Sparty.  

The Badgers and Huskers must come to Iowa City. As do the Clowns, who also had no defense in 2013.

To face this schedule, the Iowa offense returns 8 starters.  Among them the possible number 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Scherff, who has been tearing up Iowa Strength records with regularity.

He will anchor what will most likely be one of those classic Iowa offensive lines.  I.E, one of the best in the country.  There is concern of the depth beyond the starters, but Iowa doesn't recruit average offensive linemen, those young guys just need snaps.  

Our QB, Jake, now a junior and still a pre-med major, enters the 2014 with a year under his belt, 4 capable running backs, (Mark, Jordan, Damon, LaShun Jr).  4 receiving tight ends, (Ray, Jake Duzey, Henry and Georg). KMM on the outside - and maybe the best wide receiver attack we have had in a decade or longer.

They, the redshift freshmen that made their pubic debut during spring ball, and when you add Powell to that list, where he now has had a full year with the offense  - well, it makes you wonder if Jake can keep every offensive weapon happy.  Powell had sports hernia surgery in the early summer and was not expected back until the conference season, but in fact he has been practicing at apparently full speed, so we we may have his 24 yards per catch average out of the gate.  

Oh, and there is also this - we are probably going to up the pace of the no huddle this year.  A super smart quarterback, in his second year playing, but third year in the offense, which also happens to be the 3rd year for our Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis.  You may recall some of the offenses he had at Texas.  We may not be at that level - but we also don’t play in the defense-optional Big 12.  

There is reason to think the Iowa offense is finally going to find some of those explosive plays that Davis has been looking for.  Maybe even more than some.  

There is also this - as we know, the pounding that Mark puts onto defensive players also plays a role in slowing down his productivity.  The coaches have been openly saying that they will limit his load this season, injecting Jordan and LaShun earlier, providing the rest that Mark needs, and of course the change of pace that Jordan provides.  Bullock will likely be the 3rd down back - one that can catch the ball in space and then attack the defense with his tailback skills.  It means Iowa should dominate the time of possession - and score more touchdowns when in the red zone.  

(late news out of camp, that Bullock has impressed so much, he may find carries earlier than expected).

Of course, Parker the Younger will not let it all be about the offense.  Yes, our 3 departed linebackers are making cases to be on NFL rosters as rookies.  But we are not putting 3 freshmen back there.  In the middle, Alston is a senior, on the outside, Perry is a junior, and on the weak side, Spearman is a redshirt sophomore.  They will need to play tougher to find their stride, but they will be helped a lot by the guys in front of them.

From left to right, Ott, junior.  Davis, senior, at 6’5 and 315 pounds.  Trinca-Pasat, senior, 6’3, 290.  Hardy, senior, 6’5, 280.  The conventional wisdom is that Davis is going to cause so much havoc that offenses will have to devote 2 guys to him, and that allows Trinca-Pasat to attack the pocket from the inside, and Hardy and Ott to attack from the outside. The new linebackers just have to clean up the carcasses. 

You may recall that we introduced the ‘raider’ package on passing downs last year.  Expect more of that, and perhaps some other new wrinkles from the front 7.

The secondary will be fine, but depth is also a concern here.  Fleming or Draper at one corner, Lowdermilk, a senior, at strong safety, Lomax, a junior, at free safety, and the biggest revelation of 2013, Desmond King, a sophomore, at the other corner.  He may be an All American before he is done.  

On paper, is seems that this defense can keep pace with last year’s which finished the regular season at #7 in the country in total defense, and 11th in scoring defense.  

That, with a better offense - you can see why some of us are kind of giddy at the prospects.   

When the Hawkeyes are good, the special teams are good to spectacular.  In spring ball, the coaches were concerned.  Our 6’6 punter, Kornbrath, is back, now a junior, and like all of us, with experience, he should be better.  And hopefully more consistent.  

Kicker is more an open competition at this point it seems, Koehn, a junior, was the heir apparent, but he his been pushed by a freshman, Ellis, #2.  This battle may not be settled before the season starts.

So we have an offense that should be able to improve on our 27.3 points per game regular season average of 2013 - and if we can get the average over 30 - under Kirk, the number of games lost when we score 30 or more points?  Five.

That, and an Iowa defense.  The schedule.  The mid season bye weeks.  The toughest tests - in Kinnick.  It has the feel of what we saw going from 08 to 09, which we know would have been 12-0 had Stanzi not gone down.  We have to keep the starters healthy, and find some depth in key positions.  Iowa is ready to make a lot of noise in 2014.

It begins with what may be one of the final visits from UNI, the B1G is supposedly going to stop playing FCS teams in 2016.  The Panthers bring enough back from a 7-5 2013 season to be ranked #15 in the FCS polls to open the season.  They have 10 starters on offense (well, sort of, about 4 of them were 2nd string who played due to injuries).  The have an experienced QB and tailback, so the Hawkeye defense will have to be focused.  

But UNI might be looking ahead - for their second game, UNI travels to, and plays, Hawaii.  

Expect the Hawks to feature a heavy does of 3 tight end sets to get the running game going against the smaller UNI defenders.  Lots of running, and play action passes to get the Iowa receivers into the action early.  It’s the kind of game where we just want to see efficiency with the ball, and execution in the red zone.  A comfortable start for the Hawks, and the Panthers can get out of here and focus on their surfing skills.  ISU we are not.

Iowa rushes for 265, while Jake hits the 225 passing mark, and the Iowa kickers gets plenty of work in doing extra points and kickoffs. But that will be enough, we won’t be breaking out any new wrinkles in this one.  Or next week against Ball State.  Those will appear in two weeks.

44-13 Hawks, who open the season at 1-0, and then we can focus on week 2.  One week at a time.  

And now, what has become our annual Labor Day weekend public service - 


Thursday night:
7:00 pm, Eastern Illinois @ Golden Rodents, BTN
10:00 pm, Rutgers @ Washington State, FS1
(many others that night, get thee to a sports bar)

Friday night:
7:30 pm, Jacksonville State @ Michigan State, BTN
10:30 pm, UNLV @ Arizona, ESPN
(7 games Friday night).

Saturday: park in a sports bar, no other choice.
8:30 am, Penn State @ UCF, from Dublin, ESPN2
12:00 pm, Northern Iowa @ Iowa, BTN
12:00 pm, Appalachian State @ Michigan, ESPN2
12:00 pm, North Dakota State @ Iowa State, FS1
(NDS 3 time defending FCS national champions).
12:00 pm, Ohio State @ Navy, from Baltimore, CBSSN
12:00 pm, Western Michigan @ Purdue (our rival), ESPNU
12:05 pm, Youngstown State @ Illinois, BTN
3:30 pm, James Madison @ Maryland, BTN
3:30 pm, Florida Atlantic @ Nebraska, BTN
3:30 pm, Cal @ Northwestern, ABC or ESPN2
3:30 pm, West Virginia @ Alabama, ABC or ESPN2
8:00 pm, Florida State @ Oklahoma State, ABC
9:00 pm, Wisconsin @ LSU, from Houston, ESPN

7:00 pm, Utah State @ Tennessee, SEC
7:30 pm, SMU @ Baylor, FS1

8:00 pm, Miami @ Louisville, ESPN

That should have you ready for next weekend - when the NFL arrives on Thursday night, and we have about twice as much football to watch.

It the most wonderful time of the year!  


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