#38 Iowa Football 2015 Preview

Iowa Hawkeyes

Overall Rank: #38
#6 Big Ten

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Iowa has been hanging around the middle of the Big Ten since their Orange Bowl trip following the 2009 campaign. The murmurs continue about Coach Kirk Ferentz’s job security. And they should. Since 2010, Iowa has an overall record of 34-30. The program is solid and many schools would love for somebody to point out a stretch of five disappointing seasons that has resulted in four bowl trips. This year, Iowa has all the tools they need to be another 7-6 or 8-5 team.

2014 Record: 7-6, 4-4
2014 Bowl: Tax Slayer Bowl vs. Tennessee (L 28-45)
Coach: Kirk Ferentz (115-85 at Iowa, 127-106 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Davis
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Parker

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jordan Canzeri, RB, 494 yards
Passing: C.J. Beathard, QB, 645 yards
Receiving: Tevaun Smith, WR, 596 yards
Tackles: Jordan Lomax, S, 92
Sacks: Drew Ott, DE, 8.0
Interceptions: Desmond King, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: TE Jake Duzey, OL Austin Blythe, DE Nate Meier, CB Greg Mabin, K Marshall Koehn

Key Losses: RB Mark Weisman, RB Damon Bullock, QB Jake Rudock, WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, OL Brandon Scherff, S John Lowdermilk, LB Quinton Alston, DL Louis Trinca-Pasat, DL Carl Davis

There are big holes to fill on defense, but Coach Ferentz is not all that worried. Sophomore linebackers Bo Bower, Josey Jewell and Ben Niemann are not the most experienced group around, but they are talented. There could be some growing pains, but sooner or later those three are going to be one of the most feared linebacker corps in the Big Ten. The secondary returns cornerbacks Desmond King and Greg Mabin and safety Jordan Lomax. King is developing into a very good player and this could be the year he breaks through and emerges as an All-Big Ten caliber cornerback. Drew Ott will be the leader of the front four after tallying 8.0 sacks last season. With Ott getting to the quarterback and the talent in the secondary, this should be one of the better pass defenses in the country. However, stopping the run will not be simple without defensive tackles Louis Trinca-Pasat and Carl Davis. And Iowa was terribly inconsistent with their rush defense even with those two.

Do not be mistaken, quarterback C.J. Beathard did not inherit the starting quarterback spot after Jake Rudock transferred to Michigan. Beathard won the job in January, beating out Rudock before the TaxSlayer Bowl and was in the driver’s seat ever since. The 6-2 junior has a big arm and that ability to stretch the field. That will be what is different about Beathard compared to Rudock last year. And Beathard can make plays with his legs too. Receivers Tevaun Smith and Matt VandeBerg can get down field and Jake Duzey is a great option underneath. Running back Mark Weisman was a workhorse for Iowa, rushing for 812 yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior season. Now the job will likely fall to Jordan Canzeri, a 5-9 senior who rushed for 494 yards in 2014. LeShun Daniels is a bigger back who should get plenty of touches too since this is a power system and Canzeri may not be able to handle 200 carries in a season.

The Bottom Line:
By Big Ten standards, the schedule does not look too bad. The crossover games to the East Division are against Maryland and Indiana. But the big games in their division are both on the road, against Wisconsin to open the Big Ten slate and Nebraska to close the regular season. This could be a 10-2 team, but they could still end up in third place in the Big Ten West. Of course, games against Minnesota and Iowa State and Pittsburgh and Illinois, to name a few, could go the other way and suddenly Iowa is battling for bowl eligibility.

Projected Bowl: Citrus Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 163.1 (61st in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 237.0 (55, 4)
Total Offense: 400.1 (63, 6)
Scoring Offense: 28.2 (68, 7)
Rushing Defense: 168.3 (64, 6)
Pass Defense: 175.9 (7, 2)
Total Defense: 244.2 (22, 6)
Scoring Defense: 25.6 (50, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.46 (102, 12)
Sacks: 2.08 (68, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 1.69 (37, 5)


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