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2014 Hawkeye Football Schedule Part Two

Hawk Talk

This is the second part of a two-part story of the Iowa Hawkeye football schedule.
Last week, I thought Iowa could be favored in its first six games.
That includes home games with the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), Ball State, Iowa State, and Indiana (homecoming) plus road trips to Pittsburgh and Purdue.
The second half of the season starts with a first-time trip to Maryland, at home with Northwestern, and road games at Minnesota and Illinois.
The Hawks finish at home with Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Oct. 18: at Maryland

This will be the first time Iowa has played the Terrapins in football.
Maryland and Rutgers are the two new teams in the Big Ten, and both are in the Eastern Division.
The Terrapins finished 7-6 last year, with wins over Virginia (27-26) and NC State (41-21). They also got smoked by Florida State (63-0), which won the National Championship last year.
Maryland has seven starters back on offense, including quarterback C.J. Brown, running back Brandon Ross and wide receiver Levern Jacobs. The offense averaged 26.2 and 396 yards per game last fall.
C.J. Passed for 2,242 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Brandon ran for 776 yards and Levern led the team in receptions with 47.
The defense has nine starters back and gave up 25.3 points per game last season. They have three starters back on the defensive line and gave up an average of 149 yards on the ground last year.
Maryland also has three defensive backs returning and they gave up an average of 225 yards through the air last fall.
This could be a tough match-up for the Hawkeyes.
It will be the first time the Hawks play Maryland, but Iowa should be a slight favorite.

Oct. 25: Bye

I wasn’t real excited about having two byes in October, which to me is the best time to play football. The more I look at it, it might be just the right time. Iowa plays five straight games, gets to rest, plays two more, another rest and finish the final five games (which I think will be the toughest).

Nov. 1: Northwestern

The ‘Cats have been a pain in Iowa’s side for the last 12 years. Since 2000, Iowa has won six and lost six, and I’m not a big fan of their coach, Pat Fitzgerald.
The Wildcats started 4-0, lost seven straight (including two overtime losses, one to Iowa and a triple-overtime loss to Michigan) and finished 5-7, 1-7 in the Big Ten.
The Hawks’ 17-10 OT win over Northwestern last year was a thing of beauty. Iowa jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half. The ‘Cats clawed back and tied it at 10 in regulation. C. J. Fiedorowicz caught a 8-yard pass in overtime and Louis Trinca-Pasat sacked Cain Coulter to end the game.
The ‘Cats averaged 26 points per game last year and have nine starters back on offense, but have to replace quarterback Cain Colter.
Venrik Mark returns at running back after missing most of last season with injuries. Venrik rushed for 1,366 yards and scored 12 times in 2012.
Trevor Siemian, who passed for 2,149 yards and 11 touchdowns, should get the call at quarterback. He’s a good passer, but doesn’t run as well as Colter did.
Northwestern’s defense gave up 27 points a game last year and has eight players back.
The ‘Cats seem to match-up well with the Hawks.
Iowa should be a slight favorite because it’s at Kinnick.

Nov. 8: at Minnesota

The Gophers finished 8-5, 4-4 in the Big Ten last year.
They had big wins over Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State.
Last year, Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell had a breakout game against Minnesota. The 5-11, 180-pound speedster from Ohio caught a pass in the flat and shot down the field untouched for a 74-yard score.
Iowa led 17-0 at half and won, 23-7.
Mark Weisman had 147 yards on the ground averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
The Hawks defense held the Gophers to 27 yards rushing on 30 attempts.
Jerry Kill, the Minnesota head coach, has the team going in the right direction. The Gophers won three games in his first season (2011), six games in 2012 and eight last year.
They return seven starters on offense and averaged 25 points and 343 yards per game last fall. Running back David Cobb is back after rushing for 1,202 yards and scoring seven times last season.
The defense has six starters back and gave up 22 points per game last year.
This is always a tough game at Minnesota where Iowa lost two straight in 2010 and 2011.
The Hawks should be a slight favorite, but they better be ready.

Nov. 15: at Illinois

Can you believe the Hawks haven’t played the Fighting Illini since 2008?
Iowa lost at Champagne, 27-24, as Shonn Greene had 103 yards and scored in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 24.
Illinois kicked a 46-yard field goal with 24 seconds left for the victory.
The Fighting Illini finished 4-8, 1-7 in the Big Ten last year.
Their offense, which returns seven starters, averaged 29 points and 426 yards per game last fall.
Wes Lunt, a 6-5 sophomore transfer quarterback for Oklahoma State, will go into fall camp as the top dog. Junior running back Josh Ferguson led the Illini with 779 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.
The defense, which gave up 35 points and 481 yards per game last year, has nine starters back.
Iowa should be favored and bring back a road win.

Nov. 22: Wisconsin

If the Hawkeyes come into this game with only one or two losses, this game could decide the winner of the west division.
The Badgers went 9-4, 6-2 in the Big Ten last year, including a 28-9 win in Iowa City.
The Hawks kicked two field goals and led 6-0 but Wisconsin outscored Iowa 28-3 for the victory.
The Badgers had 25 seniors on the team last fall and it will be hard to replace all of them, especially on defense, where only three starters return.
Wisconsin gave up 16 points per game last year which was the sixth best in the nation. They play a 3-4 defense and have to replace all three defensive linemen.
The offense has Melvin Gordon back. He led the team with 1,609 yards rushing and scored 12 times.
This is always a physical game as both teams like to pound it out.
This game could be a tossup, with a slight edge to Iowa because it’s at Kinnick.

Friday, Nov. 28: Nebraska

Another tough match-up and I’m glad it’s at home.
Last year’s 38-17 win at Nebraska was huge for the Hawkeyes.
It was a big road win and the first time Iowa beat the Cornhuskers since 1981 (I was at the game).
The Big Red returns five starters on offense and seven on defense.
I think a big factor will be who is the healthiest?
Nebraska was banged up last year and C. J. Beathard came through when Jake Rudock got hurt in the fourth quarter.
This could be another tossup.

Can Iowa go 10-2?
Right now all I’m worried about is trying to beat UNI.