College Football Preview: The 2014 Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa needs to overcome some losses on defense to have a successful 2014.
2014 College Football Preview
An experienced offense has the Iowa Hawkeyes in the running for another postseason berth.
Overview: Iowa has plenty of experience returning on the offensive side of the football but the defense has a few voids. Can Kirk Ferentz fill these holes and get the Hawkeyes to another Bowl.
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Offense: With Jake Rudock under center the Iowa offense did just enough to get by. Rudock completed 59% of his throws for 2,383 yards with 18 TD's and a high 13 picks. The Hawkeyes spread the ball around to everybody in the passing game with 13 players recording receptions with eleven returning including four of the top five. Iowa tended to grind things out on the ground behind Mark Weisman (226-974) with Damon Bullock and Jordan Canzeri combining for 1,048 yards. All Big Ten LT Brandon Scherff leads three starters on the offensive line with All Big Ten RT Brett Van Sloten departing.
Defense: The Hawkeyes were very steady in all phases defensively as the group generally stayed healthy throughout 2013. The good news is the defensive line returns largely intact as they generally stayed with six players with five returning. The news isn't as great at the linebacker position with the team's top three tacklers graduating while combining for 35.5 TFL, 11.5 sacks and six interceptions. The secondary was also hit with the loss of three of the top six with corner BJ Lowery taking 16 passes defensed with him. Sr safety John Lowdermilk and corner Desmond King led this group with 57 tackles each and 7.5 TFL.
Special Teams: The Hawkeyes lose dependable PK Mike Meyer (16-22) but get back punter Connor Kornbrath and his 40 yard average. They need to find a kick returner but Kevonte Martin-Manley was a star bringing back punts with a 15.7 yard average on 20 returns with a pair of touchdowns.
Outlook: The Hawkeyes have a few areas of concern on defense surrounding the back seven but the schedule seems to be set up for winning. Iowa won't win the Big Ten but matching or exceeding the win total from 2013 looks doable.