It's Friday, which means it's time to preview tomorrow's game. We used to call this "There's A Game On Saturday?", but as it turns out, nobody googles that. So the boring title is your fault.
For an in-depth look at Eastern Illinois, here are parts 1 and 2 of Ross' preseason previews.
News, Notes, and News
Iowa will be missing five returning starters from its starting lineup tomorrow. As expected, Broderick Binns is suspended for his DUI, and Shaun Prater is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Also, Daniel Murray (hip pointer) and Adam Gettis are out with injuries. The fifth "missing" starter is Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, as Colin Sandeman and Marvin McNutt will start at WR, but DJK will still play extensively. Also, Jewel Hampton (suspension) and Josh Koeppel (hit by a goddamn truck) are sidelined for the game.
Kickoff is at 11:05 CT, and television coverage is on the Big Ten Network. If you do not get the Big Ten Network, you live in the wrong part of the country.
Keys to the Game
Unleash hell. Eastern Illinois has a new quarterback and retools its offensive line, which should be all the Iowa defense needs to wreak havoc on the EIU offense. In particular, EIU misses Eric Rettke, who was suspended last month, and two more unnamed linemen are "doubtful." Also, EIU has suspended its starting tailback, but that's not going to be of great importance; recall, if you will, that UNI's third-stringer did just fine in last year's season opener.
Still, that's enough of an advantage for the Iowa front 7 that there's no reason for the Hawkeyes to give up more than one sustained drive unless it's garbage time. Even with either Lebron Daniel or Mike Daniels as the fourth starter on the DL, Iowa should be moving the LOS backwards with consistency.
Just keep Stanzi upright: Where Iowa's really hurting is the offensive line, where Josh Koeppel's not available if James Ferentz falters, and where Gettis is out for an unspecified amount of time. Gettis' backup on the two-deeps? One Cody Hundertmark, who's no longer with the team so he can focus on schoolwork or something. As for who the starting RG might actually be, well... nobody really knows. Conor Boffeli has been in and out of the two-deeps on the interior. Woody Orne and Nolan MacMillan might be the two most highly-regarded backups, but both are at tackle for now. Matt Tobin's backing up Julian Vandervelde at LG, so he may slide over. Next man in! No, next next man!
Iowa's starting defense won't allow Eastern Illinois to do much of anything, and it's not even a given that EIU's offense will outscore Iowa's defense. So let's be clear: this should be a much, much easier win for the Hawkeyes than the parade of nailbiters that defined the 2009 season.
That all said, the offensive line situation is frightening, and we're one tweaked ankle away from Paki O'Meara: Feature Running Back once again. There might be some tense moments in the early going, particularly if Iowa fails to take care of the ball. DJK and McNutt will both look good, C.J. Fiedorowicz will do one irritating thing and three awesome ones, and we will not be happy about the offensive line.
And most importantly, after a 7-0 first quarter and 21-0 halftime score, Iowa will win 38-9.