AN EARLY LOOK AT IOWA FOOTBALL'S 2014 OPPONENTS: OFFENSE PART I

Rob Carr

By now, you've looked at Iowa Football's 2014 schedule. But let's look at it a little closer.

NORTHERN IOWA (7-5)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK (FCS): #79

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK (FCS): #66

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK (FCS): #80

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK (FCS): #59

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #137 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

NORTHERN IOWA (12 Games)


RUSH OFFENSE 469 att 1957 yds 4.17 yds/att 16 Td 8 fum 163.1 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 198 comp 331 att 2276 yds 16 Td 9 Int 189.7 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 800 plays 4233 yds 5.29 yds/play 32 Tds 17 to 352.8 yds/game

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Perhaps we should look at the Iowa State-UNI box score for a better feel of what to expect from the Panthers. They finished with a 33-29 run/pass ratio racking up 457 yards in that season opening game. As injuries hit and the season progressed, they became more of a run-first team and ended the season with a 59/41% run/pass mix.

RETURNING STARTERS. The Panthers return 10 starters on offense including quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen. They also return their do-everything running back David Johnson. They do lose two starting linemen from last year's squad but the skill positions are set.

Kollmorgen finished 2013 with 1,824 yards passing and 14 Tds. Johnson is the star though. He rushed for 1,286 yards and added 393 receiving yards on his way to 14 Tds. The Panthers' top two receivers, Chad Owens and Kevin Vereen had 1,345 receiving yards between them.

The 2013 Panthers won their first four games of the season including a 29-20 win over Iowa State. They then lost four in a row before finishing on a three game win-streak. They won those last three games with strong defense and ball-control offense. UNI rushed 38 times for 113 yards vs Youngstown State, 58 times for 212 yards vs. Missouri State and 40 times for 109 yards vs. Western Illinois.

NAME TO WATCH: Tight end Sam Rohr

BALL STATE (10-3)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: #19

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK: #15

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK: #12

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK: #79

2013 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS EFFICIENCY RANK: #44

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #140 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

BALL STATE (13 GAMES)


RUSH OFFENSE 451 att 1988 yds 4.41 yds/att 28 Td 11 fum 152.9 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 322 comp 509 att 4214 yds 35 Td 8 Int 324.2 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 960 plays 6202 yds 6.46 yds/play 63 Tds 19 to 477.1 yds/game

QUICK STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Ball State is going to run an up-tempo offense. They ranked 47th in the nation and comparatively, are similar to Northern Illinois, a team that Iowa faced last season (34th, 77.2 plays per game). Ball State averaged 77.7 plays per game in their final three games of 2013 including 85 in their bowl game versus Arkansas State.

The like to use a spread offense with four and wide receiver sets. They'll pass a lot but their final 2013 numbers show they're close to a 50/50 run/pass ratio (47%/53%). Their production comes from the passing game where they have slightly over a 2:1 ratio. The run game is strong in the redzone as they scored 28 touchdowns on the ground.

KEY LOSSES/RETURNING STARTERS. Gone is Keith Wenning. Their star senior quarterback leaves after stellar season in which he passed for 4,148 yards with a 35-7 TD to INT ratio. Also gone is top wide receiver Willie Snead who hauled in 106 catches for 1,516 yards. They lose receiver Jamill Smith (67 rec., 911 yards) and tight end Zane Fakes (41 rec., 410 yards). The offensive line loses two players; 1st team all-MAC guard Jordan Hansel (38 starts) and left tackle Matthew Page (16 career starts).

Ball State's QB battle will be between sophomore Ozzie Mann (2-9, 29 yards in 2013), Kyle Kamman and Jack Milas. The Cardinals do have their stable of running backs returning. They're led by senior Jahwan Edwards, a 1,000 yard rusher in 2013 and his backup Horactio Banks (595 yards, 7 Tds). There's experience returning at receiver too. Jordan Williams returns for his junior year after a 72 catch 1,050 yard sophomore season.

Ball State's success will depend on quarterback play. They've yet to decide on a starter and the battle for the top signal caller could likely head into fall camp. The supporting cast is solid and full of key returning players. Ball State can rely on their run game until their QB gets comfortable with the offense. Still, it's not their style to load up on the run as they like to whip the ball all over the field. They'll open with Colgate at home and get a chance to work out the kinks before their trip to Iowa City.

NAME TO WATCH: Wide receiver KeVonn Mabon

IOWA STATE (3-9)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: # 96

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK: #89

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK: #76

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK: #89

2013 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS EFFICIENCY RANK: #81

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #23 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

IOWA STATE (12 GAMES)


RUSH OFFENSE 488 att 1726 yds 3.54 yds/att 16 Td 8 fum 143.8 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 232 comp 415 att 2630 yds 19 Td 14 Int 219.2 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 903 plays 4356 yds 4.82 yds/play 35 Tds 22 to 363 yds/game

QUICK STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Iowa State was dismal offensively and that applies to both the run and pass game. The Cyclones ranked 29th nationally in plays per game and had a whopping 95 offensive plays in their season finale against West Virginia in overtime.

The Cyclones struggled to rush the football but found success at the end of the season when they rushed for over 200 yards in wins over Kansas and West Virginia. In all three wins on the season, they averaged over 4.0 yards a carry and gained 647 of the season's 1,726 total rush yards. The pass game gradually improved too as they moved to Grant Rohach at quarterback. Rohach threw for 300 yards against Kansas and 331 against West Virginia. Both were the only two 300+ yard passing games by any Cyclone quarterback on the season.

KEY LOSSES/RETURNING STARTERS. After a (3-9) season, Paul Rhoads parted ways with offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and hired Mark Mangino. How the offense will differ is unclear but expect Mangino to keep the offense balanced as ISU has experienced starters at all the skill positions.

Iowa State doesn't lose much. Gone is Shontrelle Johnson (90-358), James White (23-118) and Jeff Woody (30-74) from the run game. Justin Coleman (31-442) and Albert Gary (8-10) are gone from the receiving corps.

Back is a quarterback controversy. While a starter has yet to be named, Rohach is probably the leader after a solid spring game. ISU returns leading rusher Aaron Wimbley and DeVondrick Nealy will get more action. Leading receiver Quenton Bundrage and tight end E.J. Bibbs return. Finally, the Clones return linemen at each position with starting experience, including possible all-Big 12 center candidate Tom Farinok.

NAME TO WATCH: Wide receiver P.J. Harris

PITTSBURGH (7-6)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: #97

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK: #80

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK: #59

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK: #102

2013 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS EFFICIENCY RANK: #44

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #37 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

PITTSBURGH (13 GAMES)


RUSH OFFENSE 452 att 1634 yds 3.62 yds/att 15 Td 8 fum 126.8 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 244 comp 401 att 3074 yds 21 Td 9 Int 236.5 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 853 plays 4708 yds 5.52 yds/play 41 Tds 17 to 362.2 yds/game

QUICK STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Pitt isn't going to hurry up and down the field like Ball State or Indiana. Former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst runs an offense Iowa fans are familiar with. Pitt averaged 69.2 plays per game in 2013, ranked 97th nationally. They'll rely on the ground game and while finishing the 2013 season with a 53/47 run/pass ratio, 2014 will be likely rely a little more on the run.

KEY LOSSES/RETURNING STARTERS. Pitt may rely more on the ground game because quarterback Tom Savage is gone to graduation. The offense loses their second leading receiver, Devin Street (51-854) but return everyone else. They lose Juantez Hollins at right tackle and Ryan Schlieper at guard.

Pitt will return four linemen with starting experience. Matt Rotheram is the leader of the group with 27 career starts. Pitt's leading rusher, James Connor, returns after a fantastic freshman season (146-799). Like Wisconsin, Pitt has two excellent running backs and Isacc Bennett (171-797) joins Connor in the backfield.

Leading receiver Tyler Boyd is also back after a sensational freshman campaign. Boyd caught 85 passes for 1,174 yards and 7 Tds last year. He will have a first-year starter throwing to him. Sophomore quarterback Chad Voytik has 11 career attempts in four games last year.

NAME TO WATCH: Running back Chris James

PURDUE (1-11)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: #119

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK: #119

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK: #77

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK: #122

2013 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS EFFICIENCY RANK: #113

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #27 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

PURDUE (12 GAMES)


RUSH OFFENSE 319 att 805 yds 2.52 yds/att 6 Td 9 fum 67.1 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 235 comp 426 att 2590 yds 15 Td 13 Int 215.8 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 745 plays 3395 yds 4.56 yds/play 21 Tds 22 to 282.9 yds/game

QUICK STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Purdue was about as bad as any major conference team could be. They ranked 122nd nationally with an average of 64.3 plays per game. Also, they finished the season with more turnovers than offensive touchdowns.

KEY LOSSES/RETURNING STARTERS. New Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell started out the season with senior Rob Henry starting at quarterback. After a terrible start, Henry lost his job to freshman Danny Etling and never reclaimed the role. Purdue lost three tight ends but that group only collected 15 receptions. The biggest loss (?) comes from the offensive line group. Purdue had four senior starters there last year that surrendered 38 sacks.

Entering his second year as head coach, Hazell plans to revamp the offense. Danny Etling hasn't locked down the starting quarterback spot just yet as he's getting push from Austin Appleby. Receiver DeAngelo Yancy returns from a freshman season were he led the Boilers with 32 receptions for 546 yards. Purdue also returns all of their running backs including three seniors: Akeem Hunt, Brandon Cottom and Raheem Mostert.

NAME TO WATCH: Running back Raheem Mostert

INDIANA (5-7)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: #9

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK: #16

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK: #17

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK: #30

2013 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS EFFICIENCY RANK: #16

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #36 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

INDIANA (12 GAMES)


RUSH OFFENSE 458 att 2422 yds 5.29 yds/att 25 Td 6 fum 201.8 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 279 comp 470 att 3680 yds 36 Td 14 Int 306.7 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 928 plays 6102 yds 6.58 yds/play 61 Tds 20 to 508.5 yds/game

QUICK STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. There's no question Indiana has a dangerous offense. When we get to the defensive breakdowns you'll get a better picture of why Indiana was (5-7). They move at the fastest pace in the Big Ten at 78.4 plays per game. That ranks them 26th nationally. They're balanced too at almost a 50/50 run to pass ratio.

KEY LOSSES/RETURNING STARTERS. Indiana loses their top two wide receivers from 2013. Kofi Hughes (47-739) graduates and Cody Latimer (72-1,096) left early for the NFL. Tight end Ted Bolser also departs; he caught 35 passes for 320 yards last season. The Hoosiers lose one running back, Stephen Houston (112-753).

They return both quarterbacks; Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson. Each brings something different to the game. Sudfeld is the arm while Roberson is the legs. Roberson rushed for 423 yards last year on 85 attempts. Indiana also returns their leading rusher, Tevin Coleman. He almost passed 1,000 yards last year finishing with 958 yards on 131 carries.

The offensive line is in good shape. There's two juniors and two senior starters there. The wide receiving group will have Nick Stoner and Shane Wynn back but Latimer and Hughes have big shoes to fill.

NAME TO WATCH: Wide receiver Dominique Booth

MARYLAND (7-6)

2013 TOTAL OFFENSE RANK: #75

2013 SCORING OFFENSE RANK: #84

2013 PASSING OFFENSE RANK: #48

2013 RUSHING OFFENSE RANK: #83

2013 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS EFFICIENCY RANK: #75

2013 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANK: #70 (Sagarin)

2013 OFFENSIVE STATS:

MARYLAND (13 GAMES)


RUSH OFFENSE 476 att 1929 yds 4.05 yds/att 18 Td 18 fum 148.4 yds/game
PASS OFFENSE 230 comp 415 att 3231 yds 18 Td 10 Int 248.5 yds/game
TOTAL OFFENSE 891 plays 5160 yds 5.79 yds/play 36 Tds 28 to 396.9 yds/game

QUICK STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. Maryland will fit right in to the Big Ten with a slower, run-first offense. They finished 90th nationally with an average of 70.6 plays per game. They had a whopping 28 turnovers last year with 18 fumbles lost.

KEY LOSSES/RETURNING STARTERS. C.J. Brown was granted an extra year of eligibility and with that, Maryland loses one skill position contributor on offense. Tight end Dave Steinbaugh caught 15 passes for 204 yards last year. They lose a couple along the offensive line but eight of their eleven starters from last season return.

C.J. Brown will again start at quarterback and he's a dual threat. He passed for 2,242 yards last year and added another 576 on the ground. They return three options at running back. Brandon Ross was the leader last season with 776 yards and had 90 in Maryland's spring game. Albert Reid and Jacquille Veii are also competing for carries.

Maryland lost their top two receivers, Stephen Diggs and Deon Long last season to injury. Both are back healthy and Maryland is deep at wide-out with Nigel King, LeVern Jacobs and Marcus Leak all getting targets. Maryland's three returning starters on the offensive line will help protect Brown and pave the way for the ground game.

NAME TO WATCH: Wide receiver Stefon Diggs

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