It’s that time of year Hawk fans!! Another football season is upon us. Perhaps no team left the field last year with more of a sour taste than the Iowa Hawkeyes. After finishing the season on a 6 game losing streak and missing out on a bowl game; the Hawks have turned the page and are looking to get back on track this Saturday against Northern Illinois. This is a repeat of last year’s opener, that Iowa won by the slimmest of margins 18-17 at Soldier Field.
Northern Illinois is a team that is coming off the schools best season ever after being crowned the MAC champions and ending the season with a BCS bowl berth. The Huskies return their dynamic dual threat Quarterback Jordan Lynch who finished 6th in the Heisman voting a year ago. They are poised to have another great year and are picked to win the MAC under first year Head Coach Rod Carey.
Kirk Ferentz returns to lead the Hawkeyes in his 14th year as Head Coach. 2nd year Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis returns looking to increase offensive production from last year’s unit which averaged less than 20 points a game. On the defensive side, 2nd year Defensive Coordinator Phil Parker will have to find a way to apply more pressure from the defensive line and linebackers.
The biggest story line coming out of camp was the quarterback competition that heated up Iowa City. Eyeing to replace James Vandenberg are Sophomore Jake Rudock, Juco transfer Cody Sokal and redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard. Coach Ferentz acknowledged Rudock had the early advantage serving as last year’s backup quarterback, but Ferentz made it clear the competition was open. Beathard made the most of his opportunities to impress, but late last week; Coach Ferentz named Rudock the starting quarterback.
Offensively, Iowa’s depth at running back has most Hawk fans talking. Fullback turned feature back Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock are expected to give Iowa a big boost in the run game. True Freshman LeShun Daniels Jr. has made a big impact at the end of camp and is looking to contribute immediately.
An outstanding group of running backs is only effective with a solid group of offensive line opening the holes. This year’s group is expected to do just that, with junior Brandon Scherff, Nolan MacMillan and Austin Blythe leading the way.
Senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz will have to step up big and be the playmaker many have been waiting to see. Wide receivers Kevonte Martin-Manley and Jordan Cotton are the returning veterans and Juco transfer Damond Powell has shown the explosiveness to be the big play receiver Iowa is desperately searching for.
The Defense had its highs and lows last season, but certainly has the talent to make an impact. Expect Linemen Dominic Alvis, Louis Trinca-Pasat and Carl Davis to bring the heat upfront; with linebackers Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey to be key contributors.
This year’s key matchups will come down to how well the Hawkeye defense can turn Northern Illinois’ offense into a one dimensional attack. On the flipside, can Iowa’s inexperienced offense exploit the Huskies young defense which only returns 4 starters? The Huskies are coming to Iowa City with revenge on their minds. This game is shaping up to be an exciting open to the 2013 season.
Please join us at either one of the two official game watch Barney’s locations and enjoy 35% of food and 50% of beverages to any Iowa fan who wears something with Iowa on it (offer valid during the game only).
This week’s halftime raffle will be at SANTA MONICA. Make sure to check in with one of the hosts for your 1st FREE raffle ticket for some great Iowa gear. We’ll raffle off a men’s Hawkeye jersey, media guides, 2 signed player photos, and 1 Hawkeye t-shirt. Don’t worry, additional raffle tickets may be purchased at the rate of 2 tickets for $1 on up to as many tickets as you would like!
If you would like to show your LA Hawkeye pride, then don’t forget to order your LA IOWA Club t-shirt. T-shirts can be pre-ordered on our website (www.lahawkeyes.com) or purchased at the SANTA MONICA game watch location for $15.
Santa Monica (Game watch host Alvin Chang, Jessica Scales, Isaiah Scales and Jake Krengel)
1351 3rd St. Promenade
Santa Monica, CA
Pasadena (Game watch host Patrick Carberry)
99 E Colorado Blvd
We look forward to seeing everyone. GO HAWKS!!!
LA Iowa Board of Directors