Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Iowa beats Boston College 27-20 to become 2017 Pinstripe Bowl Champions

Iowa senior RB #25 Akrum Wadley helps lead Iowa to a 27-20 win over Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl.
The Iowa Hawkeyes (8-5) finish the 2017 College Football season with a 27-20 win over Boston College (7-6) in the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. Kirk Ferentz wins his 143rd game, as Iowa's head coach, tying him with Hayden Fry.

Kirk Ferentz ties Hayden Fry at 143 career wins, as head coach, with bowl win.

Bowl GameDay: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Boston College Eagles in Yankee Stadium

The Pinstripe Bowl from Yankee Stadium kicks off at 4:15 CT on ESPN.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will square off against the Boston College Eagles.

Cedar Rapids, IA --- The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) will close out its 2017 College Football season against the Boston College Eagles (7-5) in Yankee Stadium in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, with a 4:15 CT kickoff on ESPN. The Big Ten-ACC teams square off as mirror images to an extent.

Both teams like the run the ball and control the line of scrimmage. Both teams have enjoyed forcing turnovers on their opponent.

Who wins the battle in the line of scrimmage and which team can exploit turnovers of their opponent is likely the team to come out of this one in Yankee Stadium with a win?

The Hawkeyes look to get first bowl win, since the 2010 season against Boston College.

A close game is expected in the Pinstripe Bowl. 

  • Iowa is a 2.5 favorite, as Hawkeyes-Eagles square off in New York City today for the first time in series history
  • This is Iowa's first game in  New York City in program history
  • Boston College played Penn State two seasons ago in Yankee Stadium at the Pinstripe

Iowa

Boston College



Iowa kicks off the 2017-18 bowls for the Big Ten today, while Boston College is the 2nd ACC game for the bowl season, as Duke defeated Northern Illinois in Detroit in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Boston College opened the 2017 season with 23-20 win over Northern Illinois. Iowa will open the 2018 season hosting Northern Illinois.

Will this game be close or a blowout in Yankee Stadium?

Two former offensive line coaches lead their respective programs, as Boston College
is lead by Steve Addazio and the Iowa Hawkeyes are lead by the Dean of College Football,
Kirk Ferentz. Both have experience with one another, dating back to Ferentz's days in
the NFL, as an offensive line coach.
  • Iowa was blown out once in 2017, with a 38-14 loss at Wisconsin
  • Boston College was blown out at home in the ACC opener with a 34-10 loss to Wake Forest
  • Pinstripe Bowls often are down to the wire ...
We are calling it as a game down to the wire, with the Hawkeyes winning 17-16, but turnovers could play a huge role, so, this one could become one sided, as the games mentioned during the regular season.

Iowa plays similar to Wake Forest. But, can Iowa force the turnovers against Boston College, like Demon Deacons did.

Boston College's ground attack is lead by ACC offensive newcomer of the year
freshman RB #2 A.J. Dillon.
Boston College is lead by a young freshman running back. Wisconsin was, as well, lead by a young freshman running back. So, can Boston College #2 A.J. Dillon going in the run game, running off chunk yardage, against an Iowa team, with a seasoned defense?

Iowa is lead by senior all-American MLB #43 Josey Jewell.
Both teams have youth on the offensive side of the ball. It should be a good one from Yankee Stadium. Keep an eye on ...
  • the line of scrimmage and which team can gain the edge?
  • field position, how will the kicking game play today?
  • Who establishes the run?
  • Who plays more physical?
  • Who can force turnovers?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Iowa Football 2017: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ...

Since 2014, the Iowa Hawkeyes have won 10 of 12 rivalry game trophies,
including three straight against the Nebraska Huskers on Black Friday.
Iowa rolled to a 55-14 win on Friday, after a 14-14 deadlock at the half.
Cedar Rapids, IA -- The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-5 B1G West) wrapped up the 2017 regular season with a 56-14 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-8, 3-6 B1G), who had their lowest finish, since 1957, due to the loss in Lincoln. The Hawkeyes have now won four of the last five games in the series and the fifth game was an overtime lost, leaving fans saying, what if?

Iowa senior RB 25 Akrum Wadley lead the Hawkeyes in scoring, with three
rushing TDs. All four Iowa RBs came away with a rushing TD, fueled by
42 unanswered second half points, as the Hawkeyes moved to 7-5 for the season.
The Hawkeyes were not projected to be a top flight team in 2017 in the Big Ten, but 7-5 isn't where anyone in the Iowa fan base is satisfied with either. But, there were plenty of what if moments this season, as well?

Clearly, throughout the 2017 Big Ten season, Wisconsin became the most consistent program in the Big Ten, aided by a very favorable schedule, much like Iowa, in 2015.

The Hawkeyes were held to only 66 yards offense, as the scoring was fueled
off two Pick 6 touchdowns by Iowa junior CB Joshua Jackson. It knocked
everyone, but Wisconsin out of the Big Ten West division race.
The Badgers rolled over Iowa to jump to 10-0 this season, with a strong arm 38-14 win, up in Madison over the Hawkeyes, who were coming off an historic 55-24 win over Ohio State. The Badgers claimed their first 10-0 record in program history, with the B1G win over Iowa. The Badgers, with a win over Minnesota today, will join Iowa, who went 12-0 in 2015, to finish a season undefeated at 12-0.

The 2017 Iowa Hawkeyes beat Ohio State for the first time, since the 2004 season.
Ohio State finished 12-0 in 2012, during Urban Meyer's first season in Columbus, but the Buckeyes were on probation, so no post-season. They followed it up in 2013, with a 12-0 start, but lost in the Big Ten title game 34-24 to Michigan State. In 2014, the Buckeyes didn't go 12-0, but they won the Big Ten title game 59-0 over Wisconsin and rolled to the inaugural College Football Playoff title.

Image result for LJ Scott scores on Iowa
In the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan State RB L.J. Scott scored
in the final minute to hand the Iowa Hawkeyes a 16-13 defeat, as the Hawkeyes
end an undefeated season on the field in Indianapolis.
In 2015, Iowa came up short in a 16-13 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. No College Football Playoff and no Big Ten title. In 2016, the Hawkeyes finished 8-4 in the regular season, but three tough losses at Kinnick Stadium stung, but a 14-13 win over Michigan to knock them out of the Big Ten title hunt gave the fans hope for 2017.

On the final play of the game, Penn State knocked off Iowa 21-19 to open the
2017 Big Ten season. The Hawkeyes would fall in back to back B1G games, with
a 17-10 road loss in East Lansing, against Michigan State.
What if, Iowa could have avoided the 21-19 loss on the final play of the game, against Penn State at Kinnick Stadium?


The Dean of College Football, Kirk Ferentz, in his 19th season as head coach at
Iowa, handed the play calling duties over to his son, Brian, for the 2017 season.
The Hawkeyes struggled throughout the 2017 season, with a young offense, extremely inconsistent special teams and even at times on defense. Also, the Hawkeyes had four assistant coaches in new roles on the offensive side, lead by first-year offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. It was truly an up and down season for Kirk Ferentz, who was enjoying his 19th season at the helm for Iowa.

Iowa will head their 15th bowl game under Kirk Ferentz in 2017


Iowa linebackers fueled three interceptions in the 56-14 win at Nebraska. The
Hawkeyes were lead by three senior linebackers, as Josey Jewell, Bo Bower and
 Ben Niemann played outstanding at times. Senior Kevin Ward lead the Iowa
special teams and started in the 17-10 OT loss @ Northwestern this season.
The Hawkeyes will need to replace four linebackers in 2018. One player to watch will be sophomore linebacker Kristian Welsh, who pulled down one of the three interceptions against Nebraska, in the new look linebacker corp. But, the Hawkeyes will have one more game lead by linebackers Bo Bower, Josey Jewell, Ben Niemann and Kevin Ward. Hopefully, the bowl prep will help, linebacker coach Seth Wallace looks to replace the productive unit.

First year offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz had his ups and downs in 2017,
including a Senior Day loss at the hands of Purdue. He also received a reprimand.
after a halftime melt down up in the press box during another Big Ten game.
Kirk Ferentz opened the 2017 season, with four coaches in new positions all on the offensive side the ball, as mentioned. Brian Ferentz was promoted from offensive line/run game coordinator, while Ken O'Keefe returned from the NFL, after five seasons to serve as quarterbacks coach. New offensive line coach Tim Polacek and new wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland arrived in the Spring, from North Dakota State and Northern Illinois, respectively. There has been growth, along with frustration and inconsistencies.

Iowa saw two true freshman step up against Nebraska, as CB 8 Matt Hankins
made his first career start, while SS 9 Geno Stone, came into the game early,
to provide eight tackles, in place of injured senior SS 19 Miles Taylor.
Iowa defensive coordinator and secondary coach Phil Parker saw his defense get three more interceptions to raise the season total to 19, which leads the FBS in 2017. Iowa junior cornerback Joshua Jackson is a Thorpe finalists, as a first-year starter, leading the nation in interceptions and among the best in pass breakups.

Nebraska junior WR 8 Stanley Morgan takes on role of breakup guy, as he fights
for the ball with Iowa junior CB 15 Joshua Jackson during the Heroes Game, on
Black Friday. Morgan scored two touchdown receptions to lead the Huskers.

Building blocks for the future in Iowa City

Iowa will need to replace 18 seniors, after the 2017 season. On offense, the Hawkeyes will have four returning offensive linemen back, two strong tight ends, as sophomore, first-year starting quarterback Nate Stanley will likely build on solid numbers, after his first full season under and behind the center.

Iowa sophomore QB 4 Nate Stanley enjoyed two five touchdown games, in his
first season, as a starting quarterback. In his first road start at Iowa State, and his
huge breakout party nationally against Ohio State, Stanley showed solid skills.
The Hawkeyes, as of this week, played the fourth most challenging schedule, in 2017. The Hawkeyes beat Iowa State and Ohio State, but lost to Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin, who at one time or another were all among the Top 25 in the nation.

The Iowa Hawkeyes also introduced "The Wave" in 2017. 
While the Iowa Hawkeyes didn't successfully compete for the Big Ten West division title in 2017. The University received tremendous national press, after unveiling "The Wave" at the end of the first quarter at home games at Kinnick Stadium. Clearly, college football is a competitive sport, but at the end of the day, it is only a game, unlike the real fight children face over at the children's hospital in Iowa City.

Mike Riley is relieved of his duties as Huskers head coach


Mike Riley was fired in Lincoln on Saturday, as the three year experiment ends.
It was 20 years ago that Michigan and Nebraska were co-National Champions,
as the 1997 season, under Lloyd Carr for the Wolverines and Dr. Tom Osborne for
the Huskers. How the fans in Lincoln want to get back into the national conversation.
Lincoln, NE – Athletic Director Bill Moos announced today that the University of Nebraska has ended Head Football Coach Mike Riley’s employment effective immediately. Moos will talk with members of the media at 1 p.m. today (Nov. 25) in the West Memorial Stadium Don Bryant Press Box (Sixth Floor) and has begun the search for Nebraska’s next head football coach.
“Mike Riley has brought tremendous professionalism and energy to the Nebraska football program, but unfortunately, those attributes have not translated to on-field success,” Moos said. “After a thorough review of all aspects of our football program, I have chosen to move in a different direction.”
After consulting with university leaders, Moos decided to seek a new coach for the storied football program, which finished with a disappointing 4-8 record in 2017. The University of Nebraska Football Program has won five national championships and entered the 2017 season ranked fourth all-time with 889 victories since the program’s first year in 1890. Hired as Nebraska’s 29th coach on Dec. 5, 2014, Riley posted a 19-19 mark over three seasons.
Moos said the focus now turns to hiring a head coach who will put the Huskers in the best position to compete in the Big Ten and nationally. Nebraska will move quickly in its search to secure a new head coach and Moos has appointed Assistant Coach Trent Bray, who coaches Husker linebackers, to serve as head coach in the interim.
“I expect to find a leader for our football program that will put our student-athletes in a position to compete for championships and grow as young men. I am confident our next coach will meet that standard.”

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday: Iowa at Nebraska

Iowa has two trophies in the trophy case. There is one more to hold onto in 2017, as the Hawkeyes face the Nebraska Cornhuskers later today.

Iowa has won 3 of 4 in the Black Friday showdown, and is 3-3, since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.

Kirk Ferentz is Dean of College Football, while Mike Riley is likely the second coach to end his career following a game with Iowa.

Iowa has 18 seniors to Nebraska's 22 seniors on the Huskers' Senior Day today in Lincoln. In 2014, many of those players witnessed Bo Pelini's final days at Nebraska.

Now, it appears to be Tom Riley's swan song. It was a 37-34 OT win in 2014, when Pelini went out. That win for the Huskers was in Iowa City.

Today, the Hawkeyes and Huskers square off for the Heroes Game Trophy with a 3 p.m. game on FS1.

The Hawkeyes have scored 10, 10 and 14 points on each of the three B1G road losses on the season. The Hawkeyes lone road win came in Ames, with the Cy-Hawk Trophy, in a 44-41 OT win.

How the offense has sputtered, since September, on the road for the Hawkeyes. In the Wisconsin loss, both touchdowns were on Pick 6 interceptions.

Nebraska has lost four home games this season in Lincoln, with the 21-17 non-conference loss to Northern Illinois kicking it off, then losses to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Northwestern in B1G play.

Both Iowa and Nebraska lost to Northwestern in OT in 2017. Both teams gave up 38 points to Wisconsin in losses.

The only major outlier was against Ohio State. Both teams hosted Urban Meyer's team at home this season.

The Huskers fell hard to the Buckeyes 56-14 at home, while weeks later, the Hawkeyes scored the largest win in series history, with a 55-24 win over Ohio State.

That's football for the Iowa Hawkeyes. 48 offensive points one week, then zero offensive points the next.

The biggest win for the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season was also on a Friday, in a night game in Champaign, when the Huskers beat Illinois 28-6.

Like the Iowa-Iowa State game, this game has potential for a shootout, like the game in Iowa City in 2014 that ended the Pelini era.

This also could be a one sided game, based on the play of each team.

Special teams have been big for the Huskers and Hawkeyes. That can be good and bad. In 2014, the comeback win was fueled by special teams for the Huskers. For the Hawkeyes in 2017, special teams has been inconsistent and last week against Purdue, a huge difference in leading to a Senior Day loss for the Hawkeyes.

Special teams ... the good, the bad and the ugly as the past four seasons offer some intrigue today!

Do the offenses get on track today?What about the defenses?

Iowa's run game vs. Nebraska's run defense?How dialed in will the coaching staffs be on Black Friday?

Iowa 34, Nebraska 30 suggests a tight game.

The Hawkeyes won in Lincoln in 2013, after not winning in the series, since 1981.   Iowa was lead by three senior starters at linebacker, just like 2017.

Iowa has won big before in this B1G series. Unlike the Fry and early Ferentz eras, before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, this series hasn't been dominated by the Huskers.

We shall see how it plays out with a 3 p.m. game from Lincoln.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Black and Gold battle at Kinnick on Senior Day ...

Iowa City, IA -- The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4) welcome the Purdue Boilermakers (4-6) to Kinnick Stadium for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on the Big Ten Network. From 1961 to 1980, the Boilermakers owned this series.

The Hawkeyes turned the tables back in 1981, in Hayden Fry's third season at the helm, with a first year offensive line coach named Kirk Ferentz on the staff on route to a Big Ten championship season.

Neither Iowa nor Purdue are playing for a Big Ten title in 2017. Wisconsin locked up the West division title last Saturday in Madison, with a decisive 38-14 rout of Iowa. Purdue gave a better effort in Madison earlier in the season, but couldn't muster any touchdowns, in a 17-9 loss.

The Hawkeyes have won four straight games in the Iowa-Purdue series. The last win by Purdue was on Senior Day in Iowa City, on Senior Day.

Iowa has 18 seniors suiting up for their final game at home, at historic Kinnick Stadium. The North end zone will soon come tumbling down this off season.

A win today for the Hawkeyes will help build on the 55-24 win just two weeks ago over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Another loss would be devastating to a fragile fan base.

It may not be pretty today, as the winds of late Autumn roar, but the home team should take care of business.

Prediction:

Iowa 27
Purdue 19

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It's Game Day in Madison: Battle of the Heartland Trophy, as Wisconsin hosts Iowa

Madison, WI -- The defending Big Ten West champion and now undefeated Wisconsin Badgers (9-0, 6-0 B1G West) welcome the #20 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-3, B1G West) to Camp Randall Stadium for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on ABC Sports. The Heartland Trophy is on the line, when the Badgers and the Hawkeyes square off, but more importantly, the Badgers are the sole remaining Big Ten program in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff in 2017.
Six Big Ten teams are now among the Top 25 and both Power 5 programs
from the great State of Iowa are ranked #20 and #21 for the first time, in
College Football Playoff history. Wisconsin is the lone Top 10 team in the B1G.
The Badgers have never gone 12-0 in the regular season, while the Hawkeyes finished 12-0 in 2015, for the first time in program history, as they won the Big Ten West division. The last time Iowa traveled to Madison was in the 2015 season, defeating the Badgers 10-6 in a defensive slug fest. The Hawkeyes are coming off an impressive 55-24 win over Ohio State, eliminating the Buckeyes from the College Football Playoff field.

Iowa won the last time in Madison 10-6. The Hawkeyes are hoping for three
straight, in a series where the road team has won six straight in the series.
Today's winner, will carry off the Heartland Trophy, introduced in 2004.
Iowa has faced five programs in the Top 25, with a 2-3 record, while Wisconsin is 1-0 with a 33-24 win at home against Northwestern. The Hawkeyes fell at Northwestern 17-10 in overtime. The Hawkeyes have fallen three times, but have played a stronger non conference, as well, as conference schedule in 2017.

Can the Hawkeyes make it two in a row, defeating Top 10 programs?

The Dean of College FootballKirk Ferentz coaches the Iowa Hawkeyes, while Wisconsin is coached by Madison native and Badger alum, Paul Chryst, now in his third season at the helm, after three seasons at Pittsburgh (19-19). Chryst is now 30-6 at the helm at Wisconsin. The coaches are 1-1 in Big Ten meetings as head coaches, while Ferentz holds a 2-1 record overall head to head, with a 24-20 win in Pittsburgh in 2014 over Chryst's Pitt Panthers team.

Kirk Ferentz is in his 19th season at the helm at Iowa, as head coach and his 28th season overall. Paul Chryst grew
up in Madison, played football for the Badgers, was on the staff, as an assistant and now is in his third season,
as head coach, after three seasons leading Pittsburgh. The first head to head meeting against head coaches was in 2014,
when Iowa used a second half comeback to win 24-20 over the Chryst coached team. Ferentz is 2-1, 1-1 in Big Ten games.

Last year, in Iowa City, Wisconsin won 17-9, as the Hawkeyes were unable to find the end zone, due to the solid Badgers defense. The visiting program has won sixth straight in the series. The Badgers lead the series 45-43-2.

Statistics for the Iowa-Wisconsin series
Meetings total90
All-time seriesWisconsin leads, 45–43–2 (.511)
Largest victoryWisconsin, 44–0 (1894)
Longest win streakIowa, 10 (1985–1996)
Longest unbeaten streakIowa, 18 (1977–1996)
Current win streakWisconsin, 1 (2016–present)

Defense wins championships in the Big Ten West Division

Since 2014, the Big Ten has played East and West divisions, when Maryland and Rutgers joined the conference, making it seven programs in each division. The realignment reunited the annual series between Iowa and Wisconsin. Past three winners in the West Division ...
  • 2014, Wisconsin at 7-1 in the West
  • 2015, Iowa at 8-0 in the West
  • 2016, Wisconsin at 7-2 in the West
  • 2017, Wisconsin is in the driver seat right now, they control own destiny ...
Wisconsin and Iowa are #1 and #2 in conference games in scoring defense allowing only 15 and 17.5 points per game, respectively. On offense in Big Ten games, Iowa has played both #1 Ohio State (47.7) and #2 Penn State (33.50), splitting those games 1-1. Wisconsin (32.5) and Iowa (26.0) are #3 and #4, respectively, in the conference. The highest scoring opponent Wisconsin has faced is Northwestern (25.8).

The defense at Wisconsin is now lead by DC Jim Leonard, who is the third
defensive coordinator for head coach Paul Chryst, who is 30-6 in three seasons.
Both programs are playing very good football heading into the second Saturday of November. The Badgers lost two starting players last Saturday, #1 WR sophomore Quintez Cephus and sophomore LB Chris Orr, in the 45-17 win at Indiana. Iowa has lost three starters this season to injuries, but none of the players have played significantly this season. 

Quarterback will play a key role in today's game

Two sophomores get the start for each team. Prior to this season, redshirt sophomore Alex Hornibrook was a part-time starter for Wisconsin, but he is the full-time starter now in 2017, since Bart Houston graduated. Hornibrook ranks #2 behind Ohio State's J.T. Barrett in passing efficiency, despite throwing eight interceptions to seven touchdowns in conference play.

Wisconsin sophomore QB 12 Alex Hornibrook in last season's home game against Ohio State. The Badgers lone Big
Ten loss last season came in Madison 23-20 in OT. How will Iowa's defense get Hornibrook in Madison?
The Badgers QB threw 7 interceptions all last season and has eight already in 2017 in conference games.

Iowa's true sophomore Nate Stanley is in his first season, as the starting QB, replacing C.J. Beathard, who is now in the NFL playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Stanley has throw 12 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions in conference play, as he returns to his home state of Wisconsin for the game today. Stanley has had two-five TD days, on the road in the non conference at #21 Iowa State and last Saturday in the win over #13 Ohio State.

Over in Columbus, the Big Ten East race will see Michigan State sophomore QB 14 Brain Lewerke lead the Spartans
into Ohio State to determine, who enters the driver seat, as the likely East draw in Indianapolis. Iowa sophomore QB
4 Nate Stanley returns to his home state, as the Hawkeyes face the Badgers in Camp Randall this afternoon.
The Big Ten has three prominent sophomore quarterback, with two of the three on display today in Madison. 

No one is expecting those type of fireworks in today's Iowa vs. Wisconsin game

This game begins in the offensive and defensive lines. Iowa has a new offensive line coach, with former North Dakota State offensive coordinator Tim Polasek, another Wisconsin native. Wisconsin has their third defensive coordinator, in the past three seasons, under Chryst. Chryst elevated defensive back coach Jim Leonard, a former Badgers defensive back, who joined the coaching staff last season, after a successful career as an NFL player. The Hawkeyes have a first year offensive coordinator, as Iowa elevated offensive line and run game coordinator, Brian Ferentz, a former Iowa offensive lineman to the position this off season.

How will first year Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz dial up on the
road, in his third B1G road test of 2017? There is a trophy on the line in this one.
The Hawkeyes did win a trophy in a 44-41 OT game at Iowa State, but the Hawkeyes
are 0-2 on the road, in Big Ten road games this season, at MSU and at Northwestern.
There will be a lot of motivation within the coaching staffs of both team in this game. Winning the line of scrimmage is always a key in this series. It's another trophy game. The Hawkeyes have won the two of four trophy games in 2017, with wins over Iowa State and Minnesota, 17-10 at Kinnick. Wisconsin plays for three trophy games to close out the regular season, with Iowa, Michigan and at Minnesota on the road to their first 12-0 season.

But, can Iowa knock Wisconsin off track today?

True freshman RB Jonathan Taylor is the feature back for the Badgers. He leads the Big Ten, in conference games, with 930 yards. He has had two-200 yard games, to kickoff his career at Wisconsin. He will be used behind the fullback and in the slot. His first running mate is sophomore Bradrick Shaw. Taylor has zero yards in the passing game in conference play.

The Iowa defense will face the #1 RB in the Big Ten at Wisconsin, as the Badgers
ground attack is lead by true freshman RB 23 Jonathan Taylor. He averages 6.8
yards per game, with seven touchdowns in Big Ten play in 2017.

The Hawkeyes have a strong dual threat senior RB Akrum Wadley, in both the run and passing game. You will see both offenses feature a fullback at times and rely on the tight ends in the run and passing games. Iowa also has senior Nevada transfer James Butler, back from an elbow injury, and redshirt freshman Toren Young at RB. Young is a Wisconsin prep making his first visit to his home state.

Iowa senior RB 25 Akrum Wadley can be outstanding in open space and this
safety valve pass last Saturday in the 55-24 win over Ohio State got Urban Meyer's
attention. Wadley has not found the run game consistent at times this season.
Will the Iowa offensive line provide opportunities for a change against the Badgers?

In the passing game, Wisconsin is now lead by senior TE Troy Fumagalli, with a sophomore WR A.J. Taylor and true freshman Danny Davis III the prime receivers outside now, due to multiple injuries in the receiving corp this season. The most recent injury was Cephus, but the Badgers are already without the leading returning receiver, senior WR Jazz Peavy, who went down, in early Big Ten play.

Iowa sophomore TE 87 Noah Fant leads Iowa receivers with TD receptions
with seven on the season. Wisconsin has a really strong tradition with tight ends,
as well. Senior Troy Fumagalli is an outstanding leader for the Badgers.
Iowa is healthy at TE for a change, after some ups and downs in recent seasons.
On the flip side, the Iowa receiving corp rode heavily last Saturday on true sophomore TE Noah Fant and redshirt freshman TE T.J. Hockenson, who each had two touchdowns in the win over Ohio State. Iowa's threesome at WR is senior Matt VandeBerg, junior JUCO transfer Nick Easley and true freshman Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Iowa is beginning to target true freshman Brandon Smith, but he only has three catches on the season.

Iowa's offensive line is anchored by Ohio preps, senior RG 79 Sean Welsh and
junior C 78 James Daniels, who clearly had best game of season, in last Saturday's
win over Ohio State. The pass blocking has improved, but mistakes, penalities
impacted the unit, until Saturday's impressive win over Ohio State.
Both programs are built in the offensive line on offense. Both teams returned four starters to begin the season, but the Hawkeyes lost both senior tackles early and are relying now on redshirt freshman LT Alaric Jackson and true freshman RT Tristan Wilfs, who each had a breakout game last Saturday, along with the interior line mates. The Hawkeyes will have to have another breakout game to likely have back to back upsets in Big Ten play. How will the Hawkeyes perform playing the vaulted 3-4 defense the Badgers run in Madison?

Iowa senior MLB 43 Josey Jewell leads the Big Ten in tackles in conference play,
as he takes down OSU QB C.J. Barrett in space last Saturday, in the win.
Iowa is rotating eight, even nine players in the defensive line in 2017. They faced a good unit last Saturday, but the size of the Wisconsin offensive line, with a be a real test, as well. Iowa starts three seniors in the linebacker corp, lead by the Big Ten's leading tackler, Josey Jewell.

Wisconsin junior LB T.J. Edwards lead the 2016 Badger defense in tackles,
he is back in 2017 to lead the #1 scoring defense, as he returns an interception
in the Homecoming game against Maryland, in a 38-13 win in Big Ten play.
In the linebacker corp, Wisconsin junior T.J. Edwards leads the front 7 of the defense, with senior Jack Cichy out all season. Junior JUCO transfer OLB Andrew Van Girkel has become a key performer, out of Iowa Western C.C. and Rock Valley, Iowa.

Two of the best cornerbacks in the Big Ten will be on the field today

Iowa first-year starting, junior CB Joshua Jackson and Wisconsin junior, Hawaii transfer CB Nick Nelson lead the conference in pass breakouts and are among the top two CBs in the nation this season. Jackson pulled off a hat trick with three of the four interceptions during last week's Iowa-Ohio State game. Iowa opened last week's game with a Pick 6 by sophomore SS Amani Hooker.

The Big Ten has the nation's top two cornerbacks per PFF College Football,
as Iowa's Joshua Jackson and Wisconsin's Nick Nelson rate 1-2.
The Wisconsin Badgers have been very consistent over the past ten seasons with the #10 record in all of College Football. The Badgers are off to a 9-0 start and are seeking first ten win start in program history. The last opportunity was in 2004, when the Badgers opened 9-0, then lost back to back Big Ten games against Michigan State and Iowa to close regular season.

45-43-2 Wisconsin leads the series, coming off last year's 17-9 game.
The Heartland Trophy is on the line in Camp Randall today ...
The Hawkeyes are hoping to start a three game losing streak, since Iowa needs help in dethroning the Badgers on pace for their third Big Ten West division title in four seasons. Northwestern is needing help, as well. So, an interesting final three weeks ahead ...

Keys to the game ...

  • QB play on both sides ... which QB plays with more composure and with fewer turnovers
  • Running game and explosive plays, the Badgers have broke open this series lately with B1G plays
  • Coaching staff adjustments and performances, who puts team in better position
  • Weather in Madison today ...
Iowa's QB Nate Stanley won honors in his first road start. However, the Hawkeyes
offense was not on track in his first two Big Ten road games. What happens today?

Prediction in the Iowa @ Wisconsin game today ...

  • Iowa Hawkeyes 18
  • Wisconsin Badgers 13
... thoughts in this one are QB Nate Stanley puts it together in his third B1G road game, as Iowa's defense puts enough pressure on QB Alex Hornibrook, leading to another B1G turnover ...


Big Ten pecking order in the College Football Playoff ratings ...

Friday, November 3, 2017

Welcome to November: Ohio State (7-1) @ Iowa (5-3) from Kinnick Stadium, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN



Iowa City, IA -- The Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1, 5-0 B1G East) travel to Iowa City for a game with the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-3 B1G West) on Saturday, with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN at historic Kinnick Stadium. It is the first trip to Iowa City for the Buckeyes, since the 20-17 win over the Hawkeyes in 2010.
Iowa TE #87 Jake Duzey during the 2013 game
 broke open for a 85 yard TD reception in 
the last game played in the series.


The last meeting between these two teams was five years ago, in Urban Meyer's second season, in Columbus. The Hawkeyes played strong game for three quarters, but the Buckeyes broke the tie in the fourth quarter for a 34-24 win.

Iowa hasn't won in the series in 13 years, when the Hawkeyes took the Buckeyes down 33-7. Twenty-six years ago this week, the Hawkeyes traveled to Ohio State, after the tragic shooting on campus. The Hawkeyes raised to the occasion, with a 17-13 win, wearing black helmets, in tribute to the victims of the 1991 shooting on campus.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are the top Big Ten team, after the release of the
first rankings for the 2017 season. Iowa plays Ohio State on Saturday and
travels to #9 Wisconsin the following week. Both Iowa and Ohio State have
meet Penn State. Each playing the defending Big Ten champions at home.
The Hawkeyes have already played three Top 25 opponents this season, while the Buckeyes have played two. Iowa is 1-2 and Ohio State is 1-1 against Top 25 opponents in the first CFP rankings.

  • On Saturday, Iowa will celebrate a blackout game, wearing alternative uniforms
Iowa senior MLB #43 Josey Jewell displays
the Hawkeyes alternative "blackout" uniforms
for the game with Ohio State on Saturday.
However, in his sixth season at the helm, Meyer has won over 90% of his games, as coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes,so the Hawkeyes will need to play their best game of the season, if they hope to have a chance to spring an upset on one of the top programs in the nation.


This is the fourth season of the College Football Playoff. The Ohio State Buckeyes
and Urban Meyer were the winners of the first trophy, during the 2014 season.
The lone loss this season for the Buckeyes was against Oklahoma, during Week 2, when the Sooners came into Columbus to pull out a 31-16 victory. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, the former Iowa safety, was present to root the Sooners onto victory. Due to Stoops' preseason departure in Norman, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is now the dean of College Football.

However, in his 19th season as head coach, his 28th overall season, with nine seasons as an offensive line coach, Ferentz has only been a part of three victories over the Ohio State Buckeyes, during the 1983, 1987 and 2004 seasons.

A younger Kirk Ferentz back in 1983, during his third season,
as offensive line coach at Iowa. The Hawkeyes beat #3 Ohio
State 20-14 back in 1983 at Kinnick Stadium.
If the Iowa Hawkeyes are going to have an opportunity on Saturday, the offensive line will have to play more consistently. And, the defense, will have to step up, as well.

As ESPN reports, Ohio State is a clear favorite against the Iowa
Hawkeyes on the road, coming off their biggest win of the season.
However, Ohio State has the #1 scoring offense and #3 scoring defense in the Big Ten. So, there is nearly no margin for error for any opponent of Ohio State, who are coming off a come from behind 39-39 victory over defending Big Ten champion, Penn State. The Hawkeyes have the #4 scoring defense in the Big Ten. It will be a difficult trap to set against a program that has Iowa's number.

The Hawkeyes opened the 2017 Big Ten season, with a heartbreaking 21-19 loss at Kinnick to Penn State, losing on the final play of the game in Week 4.

In one of the better games of the 2017 College Football season,
Penn State caught a TD pass on the final play of the game to
defeat Iowa 21-17 at Kinnick Stadium in Week 4.

Keys to a good game for the Iowa Hawkeyes:

  1. Play physical, establish some success and consistency in the trenches ... Urban Meyer talked about it this week. Hopefully, the Hawkeyes can play smart, physical, disciplined football!!!
  2. Must play good field position game, which has been a challenge for Iowa, beginning with the ISU game, which nearly 3 of Iowa's TD drives were 90 yards or more; Iowa had horrible field position on the road at MSU, in the 17-10 loss ... special teams is huge against OSU!
  3. Explosive plays ... create plays on offense, special teams or through turnovers; on the flip side, you have to keep explosive plays in check, with the Buckeyes, making them play a patient, methodical game ...
  4. Set up the running game, with the a solid passing game. 
  5. Sophomore QB Nate Stanley and the young Iowa players on offense and in the kicking game must step up ...

Prediction

  • Iowa Hawkeyes 20
  • Ohio State 19
Sometimes you have to dream B1G. Ohio State likely wins this game 9 out of 10 times played. Make the moment count ...