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Hawk Talk

This is the second part of a look at the Iowa Hawkeyes’ football schedule.
Last week, I looked at the first six games and thought Iowa would be favored in five (Northern Illinois, Iowa State, UNI, Central Michigan and Minnesota). I believe Iowa won’t be favored at Michigan State.
This week, I’ll look at the rest of the schedule which includes home games against Penn State, Purdue and Nebraska with road trips to Northwestern, Indiana and Michigan.

Oct. 20 against the Penn State Nittany Lions
Iowa hosts Penn State in the only night game at Kinnick Stadium this year. Hopefully by the time the Nittany Lions come to town, we’re talking football instead of the scandal that rocked college football.
It will bother me for a long time, but I think the NCAA went a little overboard, mostly on the scholarship reduction. The people involved in the scandal and cover up are either fired, in jail or dead.
I can see the bowl ban, the fines and that they can’t play for the Big Ten championship, but it seems like the 18-22 year olds that are playing for Penn State are being punished for something they didn’t have anything to do with.
That’s just my opinion and I’m sure some will disagree.
As for the game, Penn State has only four back on offense and defense.
The Hawks were shut down last year, 13-3, and totaled only 253 yards on offense.
Silas Redd, who just transferred to USC, had 142 yards rushing against the Hawks and he will be hard to replace. So far eight players have transferred.
Iowa plays Penn State tough at home and they have a good record when playing at Kinnick at night. The Hawks are 9-1 in night games in the last five years.
Iowa should be favored at Kinnick.

Oct. 27 at Northwestern Wildcats
The Hawks won last year, 41-31, after losing three straight to the ‘Cats.
Iowa jumped out to a 17-0 lead thanks to a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tanner Miller.
Dan Persa is gone at quarterback but Kain Coulter is back, along with five other starters. Kain passed for 44 yards and ran for 82 in last year’s game.
The Northwestern offense averaged 28.9 points last season and averaged 420.9 yards in total offense.
The defense, which has five starters back, gave up an average of 27.7 points per game. All three starters are back at linebacker.
Iowa’s defense is a lot faster, especially at linebacker. That will help cover the spread offense the Wildcats use.
Hopefully the Hawk defensive live will have some depth because they will be running around all afternoon.
Iowa gave up 29 first downs and 495 total yards in last year’s game.
Look for more of the same this year.
Since the game is at Northwestern it could be a toss-up or the ‘Cats favored by a couple of points.

Nov. 3 at Indiana Hoosiers
The Hawkeyes rolled over the Hoosiers last season 45-24 as Marvin McNutt went nuts. He caught six passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns.
Indiana has five back on offense but have to replace three linemen. They averaged 21.4 points per game, which ranked 10th in the Big Ten.
Stephen Houston returns at running back. He had 72 yards rushing against the Hawks last year and scored twice.
The Hoosier defense, which gave up an average of 37.3 points, has six starters back, including both defensive tackles.
This game worries me because it’s tough to get up for a team that finished 1-11, 0-8 in the Big Ten last fall.
Iowa should be favored, though.

Nov. 10 against Purdue Boilermakers
Iowa beat Purdue 31-21 last year as Marvin McNutt had another big game with nine catches, 151 yards and two scores.
The Hawkeye defense held the Boilermakers to 101 yards on the ground which averages out to 2.8 yards per carry.
Purdue has six starters back on offense including quarterback Caleb TerBush who passed for 1,905 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was sacked four times last year against the Hawks.
The offense averaged 26.9 points per game. The defense has seven returning starters, including three in the defensive line.
Purdue gave up an average of 26.9 points and finished the season 7-6, 4-4 in the Big Ten.
This is another tough game to get up for, but Iowa should be favored at home.

Nov. 17 at Michigan Wolverines
The Iowa Hawkeye football team has done something no Hawkeye team has ever done… beat Michigan three years in a row.
Iowa has played Michigan 57 times and the Wolverines lead the all time series, 40-13-4.
Last year, a great goal line defense by the Hawks stopped the Wolverines four straight times. Michigan had a first and goal on Iowa’s three with 16 seconds left.
Denard Robinson threw four straight incomplete passes and the Hawks won, 24-16.
Six starters on offense are back, including Denard. The cat-quick senior passed for 2,173 yards and 20 touchdowns as well as rushing for 1,176 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Michigan averaged 33.3 points per game and that was second best in the Big Ten.
They have seven back on a defense that gave up an average of 17.4 points a game.
It’s tough to win at the Big House, Michigan’s stadium. Iowa has won there only seven times.
This will be a tough one and Michigan will be favored.

Nov. 24 against Nebraska Cornhuskers
You have an 11 a.m. game on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a nationwide audience on ABC and the Nebraska Cornhuskers playing at Kinnick.
What else do you need?
How about a Hawkeye victory?
The Huskers stopped the Hawks 20-7 last year at Lincoln. They led 20-0 until Iowa scored with under four minutes left in the game.
The Hawks could only rush for 88 yards as Nebraska controlled the line of scrimmage.
The Huskers have seven back on an offense that averaged 29.2 points. They have talented tailback Rex Burkhead returning. He rushed for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns. Rex pounded Iowa for 38 carries, 160 yards and a score last fall.
The defense, which gave up an average of 23.4 points per game, also has seven starters back, including three defensive linemen.
Nebraska should be favored, but I like the Hawks’ chances at Kinnick.
“We don’t have an easy win on our schedule,” said head coach Kirk Ferentz on the radio last week.
I agree, but I do think the Hawkeyes will have a good shot at some big victories early in the season.
Eight wins?
Nine wins plus a bowl victory?
Let’s get it on.