2012 Preview: Iowa

We continue our look at the 2012 season with game seven as the Iowa Hawkeyes will travel to East Lansing for what should be a major battle.

Here is an early look at Michigan State's game seven opponent Iowa.

Iowa Hawkeyes

GAME #7 – Sat. OCT 13 - Spartan Stadium – 12:00 PM ET

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

2011 Record 7-6 Overall – 4-4 Big Ten

Previous Meetings: Iowa and Michigan State have battled since 1953 with the Spartans trailing the Hawkeyes 19-22-2 over the years. The Spartans won last year's battle 37-21 making up for 2010 when they were blown out 37-6.

Iowa's Key Games

Sept. 8 Iowa State
Oct. 13 @ Michigan State
Oct. 27 @ Northwestern
Nov. 17 @ Michigan
Nov. 23 Nebraska

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

OFFENSE: Iowa and Michigan State often mirror each other on offense with solid quarterback play and a power running attack. All eyes will be on senior quarterback James Vandenberg who has shown signs of being able to keep the Hawkeyes alive but can be a bit inconsistent when it matters most.

While in the past the Hawkeyes have always found a solid back to carry the load, right now things might be a little bit of a mystery.

Much like the Spartans, the loss of wide receiver Marvin McNutt leaves questions but Keenan Davis looks solid and ready for stardom.

As is tradition with Iowa, expect a solid offensive line to power anyone who lines up in the backfield.

DEFENSE: Norm Parker may have retired, but don't expect too many changes as longtime defensive backs coach Phil Parker (no relation) has taken over.

Unlike in years past, the Hawkeyes don't look to be strong along the defensive line as they look to lack depth.

However, they do look solid at linebacker and in the secondary as Miach Hyde returns and is one of the top defensive backs in the Big Ten.

OVERALL

With a favorable schedule Iowa still has a chance to make some noise in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. However, they have to battle the Spartans and Michigan on the road while also making a trip to pesky Northwestern.

The Hawkeyes should finish above 500 on the season, but it's not going to be easy when they get to the heart of the Big Ten schedule.


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