May 25, 2024

Is Iowa Football’s offence able to improve from last week? Final match for a division title at Kinnick.

The city of Iowa CityBret Bielema, the head coach of Illinois, will be attending his first game at Kinnick Stadium with a tattoo of the Hawkeyes on his leg. He would undoubtedly take great pleasure in upsetting his former university.

Two years ago, Bielema was supposed to lead the Illini here, but COVID-19 sidelined him. When he was the head coach at Wisconsin, he inflicted a great deal of pain on the Hawkeyes, defeating them three times in a row from 2006 to 2010, including the infamous fake-punt game at Kinnick in 2010.

Bielema spent his first three seasons as Iowa’s head coach (1999–2001) under Kirk Ferentz’s tutelage. In 2002, Bielema left to take a position as co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State.

Bielema, Ferentz, and Iowa’s relationship always acts asby the time they meet, a plot. This week, that is undoubtedly the case.

“I’ve known Kirk for a long time,” Bielema remarked on Monday. “I learned a lot of what I believe in from him in the early stages of our learning. I’m looking forward to that match and everything that goes with it.

The situation gives the match additional significance. Iowa needs just one victory in its final two regular-season games to secure the Big Ten West title. In the event that the Hawkeyes drop both, the Illini and other teams could represent the division in the conference championship game in Indianapolis on December 3.

“I am very happy for our guys. Of course, there are many things to discuss regarding the stakes, but in the end, playing Iowa at Iowa is just a

amazing chance for our guys to develop further and assess our current state,” Bielema remarked.

Iowa plays its senior day on Saturday and finishes the regular season at Nebraska on Black Friday.Before the game, the Hawkeyes will honour twenty seniors.

Following the poignant opening, Iowa’s task will be to defeat an Illini team that has triumphed in three of its previous four games. The Hawkeyes had won five of their previous six games.

Last week in Champaign, Illinois (5-5 overall, 3-4 Big Ten) won 48-45 in overtime. Six lead changes occurred during the game. Before the home team rallied, the Hoosiers had a 15-point lead late in the second quarter.

Luke Altmyer is going to start at quarterback for the Illini against Iowa, according to Bielema’s announcement on Wednesday. On November 4, after a victory at Minnesota, the Ole Miss transfer suffered a head injury.

Ball State switch With 507 yards and four touchdowns, John Paddock set a Memorial Stadium record while leading the team to victory against Indiana.departing. After Altmyer was knocked out, he planned the game-winning drive against the Gophers.

“I see it now where I see it, as Altmyer was our starting quarterback prior to his departure (against Minnesota),” Bielema stated on Big Ten Radio on Sirius XM on Wednesday morning. The best thing we have is a guy who has shown he can play and do some good things, so he’s our best option if that part of the game gets grey. Extremely enthusiastic about those two guys.”

A strong one-two punch at running back has helped both quarterbacks. Kaden Feagin, a true freshman, and junior Reggie Love III have combined for 835 yards (4.9 YPC) and five touchdowns on the ground. After sacks, Altmyer has gained 282 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Big Ten wide receiver Isaiah Williams (68 catches, 893 yards, 5 touchdowns)leading receivers. Pat Bryant (36-515-6) and Casey Washington (32-394-1) complement him on the outside. Red-zone weapon Tip Reiman (15-171-3), a tight end.

Like Iowa, the Illini O-Line seems to be improving with time after early-season inconsistency. It will be facing a stiff test in Iowa’s front seven (or six).

The Hawkeye offensive line will be taking on at least an equal challenge. The Illinois defensive tackle tandem of Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph Jr. is the best its seen. Linebackers Dylan Rosiek and Seth Coleman play well off of that dynamic duo.

If the Illinois defense has a weakness, it’s the secondary. It’s a young unit after losing superb talent from last year’s team, including first-round NFL Draft pick Devon Witherspoon.

Perhaps Iowa can attack it after showing progress in the passing game during last week’s 22-0 victory against Rutgers. Quarterback Deacon Hill, who replaced injured starter Cade McNamara midseason, looks like he’s getting more comfortable and is gaining confidence.

Hill completed 20 of 31 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with one interception against the Scarlet Knights. Ohio State transfer Kaleb Brown enjoyed his best performance as well, contributing as a receiver and runner.

Illinois likely will find the going tough against this stingy Hawkeye defense. The 12.3 yards per game it allows ranks third best nationally. Its total defense (281.5 YPC) is eighth in the country.

TV ANNOUNCERS: Adam Alexander and Devin Gardner on FS1.

SERIES: Saturday will be the 79th meeting between Iowa and Illinois, a series that began in 1899. Iowa trails the all-time series, 39-37-2, but the Hawkeyes have won 16 of the last 20 meetings and 13 of the last 15 contests.

Illinois claimed a 9-6 decision in Champaign last season, snapping Iowa’s eight-game winning streak in the series. Iowa holds a 20-18-2 advantage over the Illini in games played in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have won the last seven games between the two schools in Kinnick Stadium.

 

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