Iowa City, IA --- The Iowa Hawkeyes (8-5 in '17) will seek to earn the 144th victory for head coach Kirk Ferentz in the season opener at Kinnick Stadium, as the Northern Illinois Huskies head into town on Saturday afternoon. Currently, Ferentz is tied with Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry, who reached 143 wins over 20 seasons, while head coach of Iowa from 1979 to 1998.It's almost time for @HawkeyeFootball, folks!— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) August 30, 2018
Scale of 1-10, how pumped are you?
While you think of your answer, enjoy the NIU-Iowa preview. pic.twitter.com/duRvYED25K
|For the 40th season, Iowa will use the swarm, as the Hawkeyes|
open the 20th season under head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is heading into his 20th season as head coach. On the other side, Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey is entering his sixth full season leading the Huskies out of DeKalb, IL. Both head coaches earned their first win, at their respective schools against each program. For Ferentz, it was a 24-0 win in 1999 against the Huskies, back when that program was lead by Joe Novak.— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) August 27, 2018
Game Notes: Iowa vs. Northern Illinois | #Hawkeyes https://t.co/Lt8AfUX51h pic.twitter.com/Ls7BKGTGDR
Classic Iowa vs. Northern Illinois: 1999 - Kirk Ferentz's record win at Iowa could come against the team he defeated for his first. Here are the highlights... https://t.co/jLRWY3FBak— Columbia IOWA Club (@PalmettoHawks) August 27, 2018
Back in 2013, clearly Northern Illinois had the edge at quarterback, since senior QB Jordan Lynch lead the Huskies to the Orange Bowl the previous season and a 12-2 mark. Iowa's QB was sophomore Jake Rudock, who was taking his first college snap and making his first start for the Hawkeyes. A turnover played a key in the Huskies upset win, as a +3 underdog.
|Iowa QB 4 Nate Stanley is getting a lot of praise by the NFL,|
as the junior heads into his second season, as a starter. He
finished just one TD behind the season record last year.
|Iowa will be lead by three sophomore running backs heading into|
the 2018 season. Getting the start, 21 Ivory Kelly-Martin is penciled
as the new starter, replacing Akrum Wadley and James Butler.
|Iowa junior TE 87 Noah Fant and sophomore TE 38 T.J.|
Hockenson provide the 1-2 punch in Iowa's air attack. They
are QB Nate Stanley's safety valve often in the air game.
|NIU senior LT 73 Max Scharping is one of the best returning|
offensive lineman in the MAC and across the nation in 2018.
|Due to suspension of both starting offensive tackles, Iowa|
will start three players, without a previous start, in the
2018 season opener against Northern Illinois, with a strong
defensive line returning from a team that went 8-5 in '17.
|Northern Illinois is anchored in the defensive line by junior DE|
15 Sutton Smith, who had a monster game in the 21-17 win over
Nebraska in Week 3 last season. Smith wasn't shy about the upcoming
game with Iowa, suggesting "We’re coming in there to punch
them right in the face, just like we did at Nebraska.”
|The"Full Nelson" debuted in the Pinstripe Bowl against Boston|
College, as junior DE 98 Anthony Nelson and senior DT 96
Matt Nelson, moved inside next to his former running mate at DE.
|Iowa's front 7 for the 2018 season opener|
against Northern Illinois (7-5 in '17). NIU
is picked first by the Media in the MAC West
for the 2018 season.
Amani Hooker pick-6 against #6 Ohio State on the first play of the game pic.twitter.com/gvYYyFbTWg— Devin Keller (@DevinMKeller) November 5, 2017
Special teams likely favor Iowa in the season opener. Iowa returns both kickers in senior PK Miguel Recinos and junior punter Colton Rastetter; while Northern Illinois welcomes grad transfer PK Andrew Gantz and sophomore punter Matt Ference. Iowa and Northern Illinois will have new return specialists, with some experience. What could we see at Kinnick on Saturday?
|Iowa sophomore WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette should get an opportunity |
to shine in both the kick and punt returning game in 2018. He showed
some explosiveness on kick return duties last year. Now, he will
get an opportunity on the punt return squad. Keep an eye on #6.
This game could go either way, but the Iowa Hawkeyes should win at home. Our prediction for this game:
- IOWA HAWKEYES 30
- NIU Huskies 20
|The University of Iowa has had two coaches and three athletic directors over the|
past forty years. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is the dean of College Football.
He enters his 20th season, after replacing Hayden Fry, who coached 20 at Iowa,
as well. Many around college football find this a very unique situation and place.