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Iowa Hawkeyes 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 89
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 10

The Iowa Hawkeyes came very close to a perfect season in 2009. After starting 9-0, quarterback Ricky Stanzi was injured and the Hawkeyes lost their next two games. They rebounded strongly though in the season finale, beating Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. With many starters returning, this team will challenge not only for the Big Ten title, but also for a national championship.

Iowa had an average yet balanced offensive attack last season, averaging 109 rushing yards and 221 passing yards per game. Stanzi, a traditional pocket passer, will try to bring down his interception total from 15 but his all around game was very strong.

Coach Kirk Ferentz always has a strong offensive line on his squads, and this year should be no different. Even with the loss of tackle Bryan Bulaga to the NFL, the line should continue to provide time for Stanzi and open running lanes for the talented running backs. Sophomores Adam Robinson (834 yards) and Brandon Wegher (641) shared the primary rushing duties last season and should get major playing time again in 2010. Add to the mix Jewel Hampton, the proposed starter for last season before a knee injury, and the Hawkeyes have a dangerous trio of backs. Starting receivers Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt return along with their 1,424 yards receiving.

The Hawkeye’s defense was tremendous last year, ranking 10th in yards per game, 8th in scoring and 4th in pass defense. They allowed only 12 passing yards to Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Most of the starters return, including senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Clayborn led the team with 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 2009. Strong safety Tyler Sash, considered one of the best at his position, will be back to wreak havoc in the secondary.

Do not sleep on the Hawkeyes in 2010. They have all the pieces necessary to compete and could overtake Ohio State as the class of the Big Ten Conference. At the very minimum, Iowa should win 10 games and play in a major bowl.

Iowa’s odds to win the Big Ten Conference: +300

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