By Don Lund
This is the second part of a two-part story on the Iowa Hawkeye football team schedule.
Last week I thought Iowa would be favored against Northern Illinois, Missouri State and Western Michigan. The Hawks should be underdogs in away games against Iowa State and Minnesota.
The homecoming game against Michigan State could be a toss-up.
This is the only game on the schedule that scares me a little bit.
The Buckeyes were on probation last year, but they still went 12-0 under new head coach Urban Meyer.
I’m not a big fan of Urban but he does win wherever he goes.
The powerful Buckeye offense averaged 37 points per game last season and put up 63 against Nebraska. Ohio State has nine starters back, including four offensive linemen and quarterback Braxton Miller, who passed for 2,039 yards and threw 15 touchdown passes. He also ran for 1,271 yards and scored 13 times.
On defense, Ohio State gave up 23 point per game and have only four starters back. They have to replace all of the defensive line and two linebackers.
The Buckeyes will be favored at Columbus since Iowa hasn’t won there since 1991, but the Hawkeyes’ offensive line could be a major factor.
This was another tough loss last year at Evanston.
The ‘Cats rolled up 349 yards on the ground and beat the Hawks 28-17. Iowa only had 122 yards on the ground and could only come up with 17 first downs.
Northwestern has eight starters back on an offense that averaged 31 points per game, including quarterback Cain Colter. Colter passed for 872 yards and ran for 894 yards. He had 166 yards rushing against the Hawks and scored three touchdowns.
The Wildcat defense has seven starters back. They gave up an average of 22 points per game last fall.
This is a game where Iowa’s depth on the defensive line will be important.
The Hawk linebackers will also be tested.
The ‘Cats will probably be favored, but hopefully the Kinnick magic will come through.
The Hawkeyes dropped Indiana and Penn State, replacing them with Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Iowa hasn’t played Wisconsin since 2009 when the Hawks won, 20-10.
The Hawks and Badgers have played 86 times starting in 1894. Iowa lost the first six games in the series but the overall record against Wisconsin is 42-42-2. The Hawkeyes had a streak of 18 years in a row without a loss from 1977 until 1997 (I was at that 13-10 loss at Wisconsin).
The Badgers went 8-6, 4-4 in the Big Ten and went to the Rose Bowl for the third straight year. Ohio State and Penn State had better records in their division but were ineligible to go to a bowl game.
Wisconsin, which finished 8-6, 4-4 in the Big Ten, has a new coach. Their offense averaged 29 points per game last fall, they have five starters back on offense and need to find a new quarterback.
They also have to replace Monty Ball, who rushed for 1,830 yards and scored 22 touchdowns.
On defense, the Badgers need to replace six starters including three defensive backs. Their defense gave up an average of 19 points and 322 total yards per game.
When you play a team 86 times and are all tied up in wins and losses you have to believe a close game will happen.
Iowa might be a slight favorite because it’s a home game.
This was another one of those heartbreaking losses.
Iowa tied the game 24-24 when Mike Meyer hit a 24-yard field goal with 3:32 left.
The Hawks stopped Purdue, got the ball back with 1:08 left in the game, drove to the Boilermaker 35 but couldn’t convert a fourth and 3.
Purdue took over with 16 seconds left, their quarterback scrambled for 17 yards on the first play and passed for 20 on the second play.
Paul Griggs kicked a 46-yard field goal as time ran out and the Hawks had their fourth straight loss.
Iowa only had 16 first downs and 74 yards rushing in the loss.
The Boilermakers finished 6-7, 3-5 in the Big Ten last fall.
Purdue also has a new coach and their offense averaged 29 points per game. They have only four starters back on offense and have to replace all of the backfield including the quarterback.
The Boilermaker defense gave up and average of 31 points per game and has eight starters back.
New coach Darrel Hazell will be bringing in a more physical run-orientated offense for Purdue next season.
I’m guessing this game will be a tossup although the Boilermakers might be a slight favorite at home.
Another great time for a bye with Michigan coming next.
Nov. 23,Michigan Wolverines
This was another one of those games where the Hawkeyes didn’t match up well in a 42-17 loss. The other was Penn State in which Iowa got beat 38-14.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead, scored 14 more in the third quarter and gave the Hawkeyes their fifth straight loss. That snapped a four-game winning streak for the Hawks.
Michigan finished 8-5, 6-2 in the Big Ten and averaged 29 points on offense last season.
The offense needs to replace seven starters including quarterback Denard Robinson and three offensive linemen.
The Wolverine offense averaged 383 total yards per game last year.
On defense they have five starters back and need to replace three defensive linemen.
Michigan will be favored, but I believe Iowa will play better than they did last fall.
The Hawks might have played their best defensive game against the Cornhuskers last season in a 13-7 loss at Kinnick.
That had to be one of the coldest games I’ve been to in a long time. The temperature was around 30 with gusty winds.
Big Red was averaging 34 points and 460 yards of total offense per game. Iowa held them to 13 points and 263 yards in total offense.
The Huskers have seven players back on offense including quarterback Taylor Martinez, who passed 2,871 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,019 yards and scored 10 times.
Their defense has four starters back and has to replace three defensive linemen. They gave up an average of 27.6 points and 192 yards rushing per game.
Nebraska should be favored at Lincoln.
That wraps up the schedule. If things fall right, 8-4 is possible, if not… you tell me?