Best guess at a record when the Hawkeyes face Nebraska:
It looks like Iowa will bring a 6-5 record to Lincoln for their annual day-after-Thanksgiving matchup. The Hawkeyes will be bowl bound by this point.
The one player you simply must know:
The player to watch from Iowa is senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. At 6’7” and 265-pounds, the senior is a physical player that is comparable to someone like Rob Gronkowski. Adam Jacobi, of Black Heart Gold Pants, calls Fiedorowicz a “beast-man.” Nebraska fans should remember Fiedorowicz, who made an impressive first quarter catch over-the-shoulder last season during the match-up. Fiedorowicz will be playing on Sundays at the end of his senior year with Iowa and he’ll prove to be a challenge for the Husker defense.
How’s the match-up for Nebraska?:
The match-up arguably swings in Nebraska’s favor. The Hawkeyes’ talent pool has been suffering in recent years and the “rivalry” has suffered slightly because of it. Iowa currently does not have a set quarterback, with a three-man race for the job. While the chosen player will have had all season to settle into the offense, it’ll still be an adjustment. However, a positive for Iowa that Nebraska will have to keep an eye on is that the Hawkeyes only turned the ball over 11 times in 2012. That’s an area of this match-up to pay attention to.
As for the defense, Kirk Ferentz will continue to run a base 4-3 defense. There isn’t much blitzing with Iowa (they only had 13 sacks in 2012, last in the Big Ten) the defensive line looks to have some weak spots. Taylor Martinez will have the opportunity to run if he wants. After weeks of tougher defenses, Martinez will have a chance to run, pass and do whatever he pleases. It’ll be a nice way to end the regular season for Martinez.
This is Ferentz’s 15th season as Iowa’s head coach. While Ferentz is determined to win, the 2013 season may be problematic for the Hawkeyes. On Senior Day, Iowa will face a Nebraska team that will be out to win and get to the Big Ten Championship.
Iowa fans are hoping for a 6-6 season, which would mean they will have to get out of their non-conference games unscathed. It’s possible and we are predicting that to be the case, but this could really end up being a tough season for the Hawkeyes. As for their time in Memorial Stadium, it will be all about keeping the Huskers from too many touchdowns. Martinez will have the ability and if a hole is there, he’ll make a break for it. There is no doubt Ferentz will be focused on Martinez and his legs.
Ultimately, the biggest struggle will be for Ferentz to overcome his critics. In the off-season, he has faced scrutiny as one of the worst college football coaches. While that’s hardly the case, there are a lot of people that believe it. Ferentz will have to block out that negativity to stay afloat. It won’t be a pretty season, but he’ll get his team to a bowl game. They’ll just lose to Nebraska before getting there.
Nebraska 31 Iowa 6.