Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
In Week 7 the Hoosiers return to Big Ten play, as they hit the road to face off against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
Week 7: Iowa Hawkeyes
Time & Date: 12pm EST, Saturday, Oct. 11th
Venue: Kinnick Stadium (Iowa City, IA)
Hawkeyes at a Glance:
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz 16th year 108-79
Last Season: 8-5 (5-3)
Hawkeye Returning Leaders:
Passing: Jake Rudock (59%, 2383 Yds, 18 TD, 13 INT)
Rushing: Mark Weisman (975 Yds, 4.3 Avg, 8 TD)
Receiving: Kevonte Martin-Manley (338 Yds, 9.7 Avg, 5 TD)
Preseason Magazine Predictions:
Phil Steele: Tied 2nd in the Big Ten West
Lindy’s: 2nd in the Big Ten West
Athlon’s: 2nd in the Big Ten West
Sporting News: 4th in the Big Ten West
Why the Hawkeyes could win:
Iowa is exactly the kind of team that the Hoosiers do not want to face, a power run team that will eat clock and play disciplined defense. The Hawkeyes had a huge bounce back year in 2013 doubling their 2012 win total. Iowa returns their leading passer, rusher, and receiver and most of their line lead by NFL prospect Brandon Scherff. Iowa has finally found consistent play at the quarterback position in Rudock, which should improve their offense quiet a bit. Iowa’s defense, ranked in the top 10 in three of the four major defensive statistics (points 9th, pass yards 19th, rush yards 9th, and total offense allowed 6th ), may give the Hoosiers more than they can handle. The D is led by senior tackle Carl Davis. At 6’5” and 315 lbs. he will be a load to move in the run game. The Hawkeyes do have three backs that can tote the rock effectively. The Hawkeyes are also coming off a bye week and Kinnick Stadium should be rocking for Homecoming weekend.
Why They Won’t Pull it Off:
The Hawkeye offense does not scare many people. Rudock did toss 18 touchdowns in 2013, but he also threw 13 interceptions. By Week 7 the Hoosiers should be settled into their new defensive scheme and ready to face a straight forward power offense. Iowa does not have a big time playmaker as their leading receiver averaged less than 10 yards per catch. Defensively Iowa has to replace their entire starting line backing corps and half of their secondary. The Hoosier offense could be able to exploit the inexperience in the back seven to put some points. If this game does turn into a shootout it would favor Indiana. Iowa also has a big question on special teams, as they have to replace kicker Mike Meyer. The leading candidate to win that role is freshman Mick Ellis, although junior Marshall Koehn was listed as the starter throughout spring practice. The Hawkeyes will need as many points as they can get to beat the Hoosiers, and having an inexperienced kicker could end up being an issue.
The Hoosiers will have their work cut out for them as they try to score a win at Kinnick for the first time since 2007. Iowa has been very good at home and usually do not allow upsets to occur. The Hawkeyes are coming off a bye week and could realistically enter the game with an undefeated record. Expectations are high for Ferentz’s crew, and that is not always a good omen. The Hoosiers must shut down the Hawkeye running game and force Rudock to throw the ball and take some chances. If Iowa gets Weisman, Bullock, and Canzeri going it will be a long day for Indiana fans.