Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Dog Days of Summer are arriving soon in Iowa ...

The heat will soon arrive, with the coming of the Summer of 2015 ...

Iowa Football has been out of sync, since the Big Ten added divisions with Nebraska, then Maryland and Rutgers joining the conference.

Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes were 0-3 in the Legends/Leaders ...

Year one of the B1G West was a disappointing #4 finish last season, with a completely void trophy case.

The 2015 season is clearly one where opportunity knocks for Iowa. 

The Hawkeyes will depend on a strong group of seniors and key players stepping into new roles as starters on both offense and defense ...

Quarterback play is always important for a Big Ten offense ...
Junior QB C.J. Beathard will lead the Iowa offense in 2015,
 with the transfer of Jake Rudock to Michigan.

  • WR 4 Tevaun Smith is one of the senior leaders for Iowa in 2015. A player to watch!
  • LT 52 Boone Myers replaces Outland Trophy winner Bandon Scherff at left tackle
  • LG 56 Eric Simmons, one of three seniors who could anchor the Iowa interior line?
  • C 63 Austin Blythe is the senior anchor in the Iowa offensive line in 2015
  • RG 65 Adam Walsh is a senior returning for his final season as a starter in the offensive line
  • RT 75 Ike Boettger, like Myers, is a sophomore tackle who will flank the outside in '15!
  • TE 80 Henry Kreiger Coble is a senior TE, who showed skills early as a frosh vs. Michigan
  • QB 16 C.J. Beathard replaces two-year starter Jake Rudock. Higher risk-reward factor in '15!
  • WR 89 Matt VandeBerg is a junior, who has hit the field running, since Day 1 in Iowa City ...
  • FB 42 Macon Plewa or 38 Adam Cox should provide a solid 1-2 blocking punch at fullback!
  • RB 33 Jordan Canzeri, senior, and 29 LeShan Daniels, junior, are back, and now healthy at RB

Iowa has some other factors on offense in 2015.
  • Senior TE 87 Jake Duzey is expected back mid-season from off-season knee surgery. Duzey is the top returning TE in the Big Ten for '15! As a sophomore, scored an 85 yard TD at Ohio State ...
  • Junior TE 46 George Kittle is another of the Iowa TEs to keep your eye on in 2015!
  • Returning starter LG 79 Sean Welsh, a sophomore, is back, after a spring leave of absence
  • 78 James Daniels, a true freshman lineman from Ohio, could emerge among the top Big Ten offensive line freshmen class Kirk Ferentz assembled in the off season for the Hawkeyes
  • Two sophomore running backs may make noise in the 2015 running game, with 25 Akrum Wadley, only RB to run for 100 yards during the regular season; along with converted WR 32 Derrick Mitchell, Jr., looking to be in the mix in the ground game!
  • Sophomore 10 Jonathan Parker was used in the slot last season. He has been moved from RB to WR, as fourth year OC Greg Davis does need others to step up at wide receiver in '15!
  • Senior WR 17 Jacob Hillyer is the third most experienced wide-out back for the Hawkeyes

The Defense for the Hawkeyes ...

Junior DT Jaleel Johnson will be counted on to lead the new
interior defense for the Hawkeyes, with two vacancies from 2014.

  • DE 34 Nate Meier, senior, heads into second season as a full-time starter, after arriving as LB
  • DT 67 Jaleel Johnson, junior, was top backup at DT last season, as he steps up full-time in '15
  • DT 98 Nathan Bazata, sophomore, he saw more action late in '14 as a redshirt freshman
  • DE 95 Drew Ott is the anchor of the Iowa defensive line, now as a senior. 10.5 career sacks
  • Iowa has five players to watch at starting linebacker, including two seniors with 39 Travis Perry and 38 Cole Fisher ... this unit dropped in 2014, after the departure of three strong seniors in 2013, with James Morris, Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey departed ...
  • WLB 41 Bo Bower, sophomore, who will move inside, after starting outside last year.
  • MLB 43 Josey Jewell, sophomore, will move into the middle, after Quinton Alston's departure
  • OLB 44 Ben Niemann, sophomore, solid special teams as a true freshman last year steps up
  • CB 14 Desmond King, junior, is entering his third season as a full-time starter for the Hawks! 
  • CB 13 Greg Mabin and 28 Maurice Fleming, both juniors, are King's two sidekicks for 2015!
  • SS 19 Miles Taylor, sophomore, like Niemann, played special teams as a true frosh in '14
  • FS 27 Jordan Lomax, senior, is back lead the secondary in his senior season, after making the move to safety from CB in 2014. Junior 12 Anthony Gair is a very capable back up for Lomax.
Other defensive players to watch in 2015 for Iowa:
  • Senior DT 97 Darian Cooper is seeking a come back from a major knee injury that cost him the 2014 season. The jury is still out, but he one of 13 seniors on the Football Leadership Group for 2015. Iowa has tweaked the leadership group, heading into Ferentz's 17th season as dean the Big Ten football coaches.
  • Two juniors 55 Faith Ekakitie and 61 Kyle Terlowe look to provide depth inside for Iowa
  • Two youngsters 98 Matt Nelson and 40 Parker Hesse, both redshirt freshmen, will back up at DE for the Hawkeyes. Nelson is a bright young player, while Hesse is a converted LB.
  • Two young linebackers 31 Aaron Mends and 20 Jameer Outsey, both redshirt freshmen, are expected to help in special teams.
  • Redshirt freshman 37 Brandon Snyder will push newcomer Miles Taylor at strong safety. Sophomore 26 Kevin Ward looks to gain some time at safety, as well.
  • Iowa will like have some young players step up to help in special teams, as well as on the defensive side of the football in 2015.

Special teams are supposed to be special, if Iowa is going to raise bar ...

Senior placekicker Marshall Koehn returns for the Hawkeyes,
after a 2014 unit that was young compared to this season.
  • PK 1 Marshall Koehn, senior, could be among the strong placekickers back in '15 in Big Ten
  • PT 16 Dillon Kidd, senior, became the new punter during the second half of the Big Ten season, last year. His father was a good one at Northwestern and Kidd needs to step up in '15!
  • KR 10 Jonathan Parker, sophomore, was benched in 2014, but showed some good stats, before the mental lapses.
  • PR 89 Matt VandeBerg, junior, role is the snag, catch and field the kick; then move forward for 10+ ... he is very capable and a player to watch in special teams, and as a wide receiver in '15!
The Big Ten West is far more open, unlike the East, where
Ohio State and Michigan State should dominate for #1.

The Big Ten West is open in 2015, with no real clear cut favorite? 

Senior C Austin Blythe will lead the Iowa offensive line in 2015

Unlike the 2015 Big Ten East race or the Big 12, any of the seven Big Ten West teams could come up and surprise in 2015. 

McIllece Sports gives every team in the Big Ten West a shot for the division title. Only Wisconsin and Nebraska have won a division, among the seven West teams. The Badgers and Cornhuskers each welcome a new head coach and new staff members in 2015, so neither coach has won a division either in the Big Ten. It is clearly fair to say "opportunity knocks" for the Hawkeyes and everyone in the B1G West in 2015 ...

Senior DE Drew Ott is the leader of the Iowa defense in '15.

Phil Steele sees six strong players leading Iowa, as they head into 2015. The annual Phil Steele preview magazine hits news stands on June 27th.

Fish or cut bait for Hawkeye fans in 2015?

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz won his first Big Ten title in his fourth season.
Iowa DC Phil Parker and OC Greg Davis, enter their fourth seasons,
as coordinators in 2015 for Ferentz, his 17th as head coach.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have a very favorable schedule, like the 2007 edition. Over the years, Iowa Football has stepped up and has fallen flat on their face, as well.

This appears to be a season, where opportunity knocks apply, given the many questions with the other six Big Ten West programs.

Last year was the 125th season of Iowa Football. They finished a disappointing 7-6. 

Back in 1989, Iowa's 100th season of college football, the Hawkeyes finished 5-6 under coach Hayden Fry, after eight straight bowl seasons, under the legendary coach at Iowa.

The following season, Iowa rebounded and won the Big Ten, after a five year drought. It was the last of three Big Ten titles under Coach Fry.

Could this be another rebound season for Iowa? The Hawkeyes have not won a division title before. This is season number five.

Welcome to the dog days of summer here in Iowa ...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Iowa survives 11 inning affair to advance to play Missouri State again

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Springfield, MO -- The Iowa Hawkeyes and Oregon Ducks took 11 innings to finish, with Iowa advancing in the loser's bracket with a 2-1 win. Up next, the winner's bracket champion, Missouri State, who beat Iowa on Saturday 5-3.

Missouri State took an early 1-0 lead after the first inning in the 7:00 first pitch in Springfield.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Iowa Baseball Team wins first NCAA Tournament game in 43 years

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Hawkeyes advance in winners bracket on Saturday

Springfield, MO -- #2 seed Iowa defeated #3 seed Oregon 3-1 to advance in winner's bracket of the double elimination Springfield Region. It was Iowa's first win in 43 years, since the 1972 trip to the College World Series in Omaha.

Tonight's game between #1 seed Missouri State and #4 seed has been postponed due to weather. Iowa will face the winner tomorrow night at 8:05 p.m. in Springfield. Weather impacted the Iowa-Oregon game, as well. But, they were able to get the game completed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

NCAA Baseball Regional for Iowa: Hawkeyes face Oregon on Friday in Springfield, MO


How 'bout those Hawkeyes?               

Iowa City, IA - The Iowa Hawkeyes are headed to Springfield, MO for the NCAA Regional baseball play, as a number two seed. The Hawkeyes will open on Friday, in the second season, under Iowa's new baseball coach.

Iowa Hawkeyes (39-16)
NCAA tourneys: 4 (last one in 1990)
CWS appearances: 1 (1972)
Region: Springfield, MO
Opponents: 1. Missouri State; 3. Oregon; 4. Canisus
NCAA opener: 2 p.m. ET Friday vs. Oregon
Factoid: The Hawkeyes are in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1990.
Twitter: @UIBaseball - Source: Big Ten Network

The Hawkeyes will face third-seeded Oregon at 1 p.m. (CT) at Hammons Field. Missouri State is the top-seeded team in the regional and the No. 8 national seed. The Bears will face No. 4 seed Canisius -- the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion -- at 6 p.m.

Iowa is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1990 and the fourth regional appearance in school history. The Hawkeyes boast a No. 29 RPI and finished runner-up in the Big Ten with a 19-5 record. Iowa is 39-16 overall -- the most wins for the program since 1985.

Iowa head coach Rick Heller is taking the Hawkeyes to his
first NCAA Tournament, in his second season at the helm.
Iowa head coach Rick Heller will be taking his third Division I team to NCAA Regional play (Northern Iowa, 2001; Indiana State, 2012). He is one of five active coaches to bring three different Division I schools to NCAA Regional play and one of eight all-time.

Oregon used a late season surge to earn an at-large berth, as the Ducks won their final five series in Pac-12 play and nine of their last 10 games overall. Oregon closed out the regular season with a key series win, taking 2-of-3 games at home against Pac-12 champion UCLA -- the top overall national seed.

Sophomore Cole Irvin is the Ducks' Friday night starter, going 2-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 74 innings. The southpaw has allowed 40 runs (33 earned) on 73 hits and has 42 strikeouts to 22 walks.
Offensively, Oregon has a .254 team batting average with just one player hitting above .300. Mitchell Tolman leads the team with a .329 average with team-highs in hits (72), runs (42), and RBIs (40). He is slugging .475 and reaching base at a .462 clip.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl 49 New England vs. Seattle

Phoenix - - The game has kicked off on NBC, as the Seattle Seahawks seek to repeat, with a win over the New England Patriots tonight.

We shall see, as two Big Ten quarterbacks lead each team. Iowa's Tony Moeaki is a TE for Seattle.

Monday, January 12, 2015

College Football Playoff Title Game: Oregon vs. Ohio State

Game is on ESPN between Oregon vs Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff Title Game from Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium.

It's not a Rose Bowl, but the final on College Football Game for the 2014 season is a Pac 12 vs. Big Ten matchup.

Go Buckeyes!

Friday, January 2, 2015

One more time: B1G vs. SEC in the TaxSlayer Bowl from Jacksonville

Jacksonville, FL - - The New Year arrived in B1G style in 2015, with the Big Ten Conference winning three of four bowl games, including the top three match-ups.

Ohio State defeated Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl in the nightcap game to join Oregon, winner of the Rose Bowl, in the first CFP Championship Game on January 12th.

The Big Ten won two of three games against SEC opponents on New Year's Day to take a 5-4 record into the final B1G bowl game. The SEC is now 5-5.

The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) and Tennessee Volunteers (6-6) meet in the TaxSlayer Bowl today at 2:20 p.m. (CT) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The game is televised on ESPN, in the final bowl match-up for each conference, in another B1G vs. SEC game.

For Tennessee it's like taking a trip down memory lane. For Iowa it has become very familiar. But neither school is taking it for granted.

The Hawkeyes are making their 12 bowl game appearance in the last 14 years under head coach Kirk Ferentz. They won games this season, the sixth time in the last seven seasons they've done so, and they're competing in January for the 12th time in program history.

"(Any bowl game) is a great experience," said Ferentz. "It's a chance to be together as a team for another four or five weeks, and to me it's all great."

Even greater has been Iowa's success in bowl games. Since Ferentz defeated Texas Tech at the 2001 Alamo Bowl, no Big Ten team has more bowl wins than Iowa.

"To me it's really about how you approach the month, or in some cases six weeks," said Ferentz. "You have to have a plan, execute that, and communicate that (plan) with your players."

Standing in Iowa's way of its seventh bowl win since 2001 is a Tennessee team that won three of its last four games to reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.

The Volunteers are playing in their 50th bowl game in program history -- only Alabama, Texas, and Georgia have appeared in as many -- but they are playing today in the postseason for the first time since a double overtime loss to North Carolina at 2010 Music City Bowl.

That's four years and three days between bowl appearances for a school that is tied with Florida State for sixth all-time with 25 bowl wins.

"Right now these individuals have never played in December or January, nor practiced," said second year Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.

"Being a part of this bowl game is very, very special."

Tennessee does not have a player on its roster with bowl experience, a detail that includes 17 seniors. Jones said he has talked to that group about today's chance to leave a legacy, but he's also reminded them it will not come easy.

Tennessee has 24 freshman playing, seven starting for the Volunteers today. Iowa has had some success against younger teams in 2014, with wins at Pittsburgh and at Purdue, two of the younger teams in College Football in 2014.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach (Ferentz) and the entire (Iowa) football program," said Jones. "This is going to be a great challenge for us. They do a great job running the football, play-action, and they can beat you with the deep ball.

"Defensively they are very sound in what they do and their players execute. At the end of the day it's all about consistency and performance, and execution by performance, and they have that."

The Hawkeyes also have a hunger for a bowl win. Iowa's 16 seniors (10 starters) are playing in their third bowl game, but they are yet to win the final game of the season, and today is their only chance to win the final game of a career.

As true freshmen, the current Iowa fifth-year seniors saw their Iowa teammates finish 8-5, with a bowl win over Missouri to cap off the 2010 season. A win today would leave Iowa with a similar record and finish in a bowl.

"It will be emotional after," said senior Mark Weisman, "but right now it just feels like another game. We'll see how it goes and reflect on it later. Right now we're just trying to get a win against a good Tennessee team."

Iowa has had trouble in trophy games in 2014 though, with four of Iowa's five losses involving a trophy. A bowl trophy will be on the line for Iowa today.

"We have one game left and we want to win it very badly, it’s as simple as that,” Iowa coach Ferentz said. “To me it’s not so much about next year. It’s about finishing for our 16 seniors. It’s important that we play well this game.”

Ferentz teams are seeking their seventh bowl trophy, since 2001. A young Tennessee team stands in the Hawkeyes way in Jacksonville. 

How will the B1G vs. SEC showdown finish the 2014-15 bowl season for each conference?

Iowa vs. Tennessee TaxSlayer Bowl Preview