On Saturday, the Iowa Hawkeyes will kick off their season against Tennessee Tech. The game is at 11:00 a.m. and will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network.
Hawkeye fans will see many few faces this season. On Tuesday, coach Kirk Ferentz announced the following players as his captains for the game: defensive tackle Mike Daniels, wide receiver Marvin McNutt, Jr., linebacker Tyler Nielsen and quarterback James Vandenberg.
The injury list for Saturday includes defensive tackle Carl Davis, defensive back B.J. Lowery, offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan and linebacker Dakota Getz.
Here’s Iowa’s depth chart and way too much but interesting information. The Hawkeyes may have six to nine freshman playing on Saturday.
Tennessee Tech will bring 21 starters and three specialists from last season to Iowa City. They had a 5-6 record last year and in the Ohio Valley Conference went 4-4 (No. 6).
Iowa has five starters on offensive, included bright spot offensive tackle Riley Reiff, experienced center James Ferentz, and tackle Marcus Zusevics on the O-line and five on defense plus two kickers.
Vandenberg takes over the reins at quarterback. The junior has received high marks from both his teammates, the media and yes, his coaches. Vandenberg pinch hit for former quarterback Ricky Stanzi in 2009 while he was recovering from an injury and played well with a near-win against Ohio State and a loss against Northwestern.
These losses ended Iowa’s perfect season.
Tennesses Tech’s quarterback Tre Lamb lacks stature at 5’9″ but can throw and run the ball well. He has the strength of his offense which returns all of it starters from 2010. Last season, Lamb went 72 for 36 for 974 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. He missed three games at season’s end with a knee injury.
Running backs and Wide Receivers
Again Iowa lacks some depth at running back but sophomore Marcus Coker had an amazing freshman season. Coker achieved amazing numbers and earned national recognition. Barring any injuries, should keep on improving this season. Walk-on Jason White comes in at No. 2 on the depth chart.
Three true freshman running backs, Mika’il McCall, Jordan Canzeri and Damon Bullock may be joining the more seasoned duo on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes have experienced and talented McNutt for one more season as he decided to not go pro this year. Part of his success will depend on his chemistry with Vandenberg but this guy has talent and with a good season, should go pro. He is backed up by Kevonte Martin-Manley for Saturday.
Tennessee Tech runs a fast offense, dubbed “The Fastest 60 Minutes in Football.” They’re no Oregon but they could wear down the defense and keep Iowa on its toes.
Iowa’s defense is weak in the secondary. The loss of Tyler Sash will be felt. Micah Hyde is the starting free safety and the backup cornerback behind Greg Castillo. Junior Collin Sleeper had a good summer and will take the starting strong safety position, while Jordan Bernstine is a backup at both strong safety and cornerback.
Tennessee Tech returns with nine starters from last season and a bright spot for them was allowing less than 200 yards passing per game. The like to rotate players on d-line and have a few decent pass rushers.
In his Tuesday press conference, Ferentz expressed excitement with his special teams and said that it was a “happy topic” and all three placekickers had a good camp. At punter is senior Eric Guthrie, who has big shoes to fill after Ryan Donahue and two placekickers: hopefully a more seasoned Mike Meyer and Trent Mossbrucker.
Both kickers return for Tennessee Tech. Punter Nick Campbell played decently last season, averaging less than 40 yards and kicking 13 of 39 inside the 20; Eight of his kicks went over 50 yards. Place kicker Matthew Baker finished the season by choking on his last four of five field goal attempts, ending with a 9 for 15 season.
I think Tennessee Tech will challenge Iowa but they’re no match for the Hawkeyes.
I see a 30-13 win by Iowa.
About the Author
Written by Debbie Baratz