The Iowa Hawkeyes open 2013 with Northern Illinois on August 31st at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes and Huskies open back to back seasons head to head, after meeting in Soldier Field, last year. Here are the two deeps for Iowa heading into the ninth game in the non-conference series with the Huskies:
WR - Shumpert*, T. Smith
LT - Scherff, MacMillan*
LG - Boffeli*, Simmons
C - Blythe, Gaul
RG - Walsh, Donnal
RT - Van Sloten*, Ward
TE - Fiedorowicz*, Hamilton/Duzey
WR - Martin-Manley, Cotton*/Hillyer
FB - Cox, Plewa
RB - Weisman/Bullock, Canzeri
QB - Rudock, Beathard/Sokol
DE - Ott, Hardy
DT - C. Davis, Cooper
DT - Trinca-Pasat, J. Johnson
DE - Alvis*, McMinn/Meier
OLB - Kirksey*, Perry
MLB - Morris*, Alston
WLB - Hitchens*, Collins/Fisher
LC - Lowery*, Fleming
RC - Lomax, G. Smith*
FS - Miller*, Gair
SS - Lowdermilk, Law
P - Kornbrath
K - Meyer*, Koehn
LS - Kreiter*
H - Kornbrath
PR - Martin-Manley
KR - Cotton*, Canzeri
Iowa's preseason depth chart includes 14 seniors*, 12 of which are projected as starters (includes placekicker and long snapper). Iowa`s 14 seniors listed on the preseason depth chart have started a combined 204 games. Iowa's 13 juniors have started 35 total contests, while its 21 sophomores have started 27.
LAST YEAR's Meeting at Soldier Field
Iowa scored nine unanswered points in the fourth quarter to complete an 18-17 comeback win over Northern Illinois at Soldier Field to open the 2012 season.
The Hawkeyes trailed, 17-9, heading into the final quarter. Iowa's first drive of the frame covered 31 yards in 10 plays and was capped by a Mike Meyer 50-yard field goal, tying his career long. Meyer matched his career best with four field goals and tied Iowa's single game record with five field goal attempts. His efforts earned him co-Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week accolades.
Senior John Weinke's punt with 5:36 remaining pinned the Huskies at their own 1-yard line and the Hawkeye defense forced a three-and-out. Iowa took over on the NIU 24-yard line, trailing by five, with 3:41 left. Sophomore Damon Bullock broke a 23-yard run on third down for Iowa's only touchdown of the game, giving the Hawkeyes an 18-17 advantage. Iowa would hold the Huskies without a first down on their final drive to seal the win.
Bullock led Iowa's offensive attack, registering 30 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown. Senior QB James Vandenberg finished 21-33 for 129 yards, completing passes to six different receivers.
Iowa's defense held the Huskies to just 54 yards passing and 201 yards total offense. Iowa ran 30 more plays than NIU and dominated time of possession, racking up 38:42.
Iowa finished 4-8 last year, while Northern Illinois finished 12-2, with losses to Iowa and Florida State in the Orange Bowl to open and close the 2012 season.
NIU Rod Carey became the Huskies' third coach in four years, when he was elevated to head coach prior to Orange Bowl, when Dave Doeren became the new coach at North Carolina State. Carey was Doeren's offensive line coach the past two seasons.
NIU returns 13 starters, including all-everything quarterback Jordan Lynch.
Motivation isn't a problem, either for Northern Illinois.
"[The Orange Bowl loss] just gave us a hard edge. Everybody's coming out hard and competing," 2012 All-MAC safety Jimmie Ward said. "... Basically, going into this Iowa game, I feel like everybody's still, since we came off the loss, everybody's still got a hard edge. Everybody's got something to prove."
The Huskies' quest for another BCS game starts Aug. 31 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
Most likely, NIU will have to go unbeaten to reach the plateau again. The BCS is certainly a reality now, and expectations are higher than ever for NIU.
NIU has played in three straight MAC title games, winning the last two MAC titles.
However, the team's internal expectations are even bigger. "We have higher expectations for ourselves than anybody outside," Carey said. "And we're striving to meet those every day. And that's why sometimes these guys see me grumpy, because we're not there yet and we want to be there."
"But it's a process, and you've got to love the process and love the grind."
"As for what exactly those expectations are?" Those are for us to know," Carey said with a smile.
IOWA's FERENTZ FOURTH IN LONGEVITY
Now in his 15th season as Iowa's head football coach, Kirk Ferentz ranks fourth in longevity among FBS head coaches. Ferentz is first among Big Ten coaches and nationally ranks behind Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Larry Blakeney of Troy and Mack Brown of Texas. Ferentz is tied for fourth with Bob Stoops of Oklahoma.
THE SERIES: IOWA vs. NIU
Iowa boasts an 8-0 record against Northern Illinois, with six of the games being played at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City and two at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Hawkeyes won the previous eight meetings by a 26.9 margin of victory. Iowa won the last meeting 18-17 a year ago at Soldier Field in Chicago. Coach Kirk Ferentz's first victory as Iowa's head coach came against the Huskies in 1999 (24-0). Here are the results:
*at Iowa City