College Football Preview: The 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa Hawkeyes Preview
2014 Record: 7-6 (58th of 128) Lost TaxSlayer Bowl 45-28 vs. Tennessee
Odds to Win National Championship: +100000 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Iowa Hawkeyes are back to being a force in the Big Ten with 15 wins in their last two seasons and back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 2010-11. Kirk Ferentz has always been a solid head coach, and now he looks to get this program to the next step as he has his eyes set on a possible trip to the Big Ten title game.
Offense: C.J. Beathard will be the full-time starter after Jake Rudock transferred to Michigan. Beathard has a strong arm and has six touchdowns on 119 pass attempts. Jordan Canzeri will be the new starting running back after averaging nearly five yards per carry in a limited role. Canzeri is more of a playmaker than former starter Mark Weisman. LeShun Daniels also returns from injury and will add a boost to the Hawkeyes’ backfield. Tevaun Smith returns at wide receiver after racking up nearly 600 receiving yards, while Jake Duzey and Matt VandeBerg provide experienced targets as well. Iowa should have a more balanced offense with a QB who is not afraid to spread the ball around. The OL also returns three starters.
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Defense: Iowa had a top-25 defense last season and return some of the key pieces that helped form an above-average unit. Drew Ott is one of the best defenders in the Big Ten with 18.5 tackles for loss his last two seasons, and Desmond King is an impressive cornerback who intercepted three passes his sophomore year. Jordan Lomax shined in his first season as a starting free safety and Nate Meier should be poised for a breakout senior season. Bo Bower is also a player to watch after impressing as a freshman. Iowa has some concerns at linebacker with a lot of the top tacklers no longer on the roster, but the Hawkeyes have always been a tough grind-it-out team that usually finds a way defensively.
Special Teams: Marshall Koehn returns at kicker after making 75 percent of 16 field goal attempts. Dillon Kidd and Connor Kornbrath return at punter after averaging 37.8 yards on 65 punt attempts.
Overall: Iowa is always going to compete in the Big Ten, as it has the big bodies on both sides of the ball that make it tough in the trenches. For the first time in a while, Iowa has a decent looking offense that could move the ball better than usual. Iowa should clinch a bowl game for the seventh time in eight years.