We're just four days away from the Iowa Hawkeyes season opener against Illinois State inside Kinnick Stadium. The Redbirds may be from the FCS but they pose a stiff challenge for Kirk Ferentz's bunch out of the gate.
Illinois State made the FCS title game a year ago before being defeated by national champion North Dakota State just 29-27. Losing to North Dakota State by just two points can send shockwaves throughout the college football landscape because of the Bison's historical success in knocking off FBS programs frequently.
The focal point of the Illinois State offense returns, as former Indiana Hoosier Tre Roberson comes back to lead the potent Redbird offensive attack. Roberson compiled over 3,000 passing yards last season, and also added over 1,000 yards on the ground as well. Throwing and rushing, the Illinois State signal caller found the end zone a total of 41 times. He's got big-play ability and the Hwakeyes will have their eye on him.
According to Iowa stud defensive end Drew Ott, it will come down to containing Roberson's legs, and forcing him to the help side of the defense.
The same can be said for running back Marshaun Coprich. He had the luxury of 15 games to put up some eye-popping numbers but having over 2,000 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns on the ground stands out no matter what. He only has two returning starters coming back on the offensive line, but Phil Parker's crew won't let that overshadow his talents as a runner.
Those two will have the full attention of the Iowa defense as they prepare for Saturday as noted by starting cornerback Greg Mabin in the video above.