Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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11 iowa • nov. 23 Hawkeyes Aim To Claw Their Way Back T By Ryan Tice he Hawkeyes finished 4-8 overall last year and lost to Iowa State and Central Michigan in non-conference play en route to their worst record since 2000, when the team went 3-9. The squad dropped its final six games of the year and missed a bowl game for just the second time since 2001, head coach Kirk Ferentz's third year at the helm. Iowa finished second in the Big Ten and 13th nationally in turnover margin at plus-12, but they didn't take many chances, and the offense did not rank higher than 99th (passing offense, 187.4 yards per game) in the land for any of the four major offensive categories. The Iowa passing game also created just seven touchdowns. Quarterback James Vandenberg, the only player to attempt a pass in 2012, must be replaced, and Athlon ranked the Hawkeyes as having the Big Ten's worst quarterback situation heading into the season. The annual preview magazine wasn't particularly high on any piece of the Iowa offense — the running backs group checked in the highest for the positional rankings, at No. 7 in the league. No other group on that side of the ball ranked above ninth. Improvements must be made in coordinator Greg Davis' second year on the job. Last year's top two leading rushers are back in juniors Players To Watch OFFENSE: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Sr., TE — The 6-7, 265-pounder, who earned All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition from both the league coaches and media in 2012, is one of the team's top receivers … Fiedorowicz started every contest and finished the year third on the team with 45 receptions for 433 yards and a score … His career totals include 600 yards receiving and four scores on 61 catches. DEFENSE: Anthony Hitchens, Sr., LB — The honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by both the league coaches and media started all 11 games in which he appeared last year, and led the squad with 124 tackles … He made 56 solo stops, notched 5.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and also recorded a sack … Ranked fifth in the nation, and led the Big Ten, with 11.2 tackles per contest. Mark Weisman (815 yards, ing the team with 52 recep8 TD) and Damon Bullock tions for 571 yards and two (513 yards, 3 scores). scores last year. All-Big Ten H o w e v e r, i n j u r i e s honorable mention tight end wrecked havoc at the posiC.J. Fiedorowicz is an expetion. Weisman excelled as rienced senior who has also the go-to guy in the backfield grabbed at least one pass in for a time — he posted 673 18 straight games. yards and eight touchdowns On the other side of the in a four-game stretch —beball, Iowa needs to replace fore ailments limited his efjust three starters from a unit fectiveness; Bullock posted a that ranked seventh or worse Junior running back Mark Weis150-yard performance in the in the conference in all four man was the Hawkeyes' leading season-opener, but battled rusher in 2012, when he piled up major categories — total injuries the rest of the way. 815 yards and eight touchdowns on yards, points, rushing yards The word from Iowa City, the ground. and passing yards allowed photo courtesy iowa per game. Two new startthough, is that redshirt sophomore Jordan Canzeri, who missed last year ers must be found for the defensive front that with a major knee injury but thrived in the produced a Big Ten-low 13 sacks last year. 2013 spring game, is the best of the bunch. Just one starting defensive back needs to be Up front, three key starters return, so there is replaced, but cornerback Micah Hyde was their reason to think they can improve on last year's best on the back line last year. abysmal 123.0 yards per game on the ground. The strength will be at linebacker, where Three quarterbacks who have never atall three starters return. The three veterans tempted a pass for the Hawkeyes will battle have combined for 65 starts and have been for starting duties. Redshirt junior Kevonte productive — amassing 332 tackles, including Martin-Manley, who has recorded at least one 18 for loss, and playing a role in 10 turnovers catch in 18 straight games, returns after leadlast year — but none of them have ever been named first- or second-team All-Big Ten. Iowa has a lot of question marks and few Quick Facts proven pieces. The schedule is also much more All-Time Series: U-M leads 41-13-4 difficult this season, with Ohio State and WisFirst Meeting: Iowa 28, U-M 5 (Nov. 10, 1900, at consin replacing Indiana and Penn State in Detroit) crossover games. Based on Ferentz's track Last Meeting: U-M 42, Iowa 17 (Nov. 17, 2012 at Ann Arbor) record, Iowa should be better than last year, Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz, 100-74 at Iowa (15th year) but it's difficult to imagine them doing anyand 112-95 overall (18th year) thing more than barely qualifying for bowl Off./Def. Systems: Multiple/4-3 eligibility. 2012 in Review: 4-8 overall, 2-6 Big Ten (T-5thLegends Division) Final 2012 Ranking: Unranked Returning Starters: 16 (6 offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists) Last Bowl Appearance: 2011 (Insight, vs. Oklahoma, L 31-14) Big Ten Conference Championships (last): 11 (2004) Returning Leaders Passing: None Rushing: Mark Weisman (815 yards, 8 TD) Receiving: C.J. Fiedorowicz (433 yards, 1 TD) Tackles: Anthony Hitchens (124) Sacks: Dominic Alvis (3) Interceptions: Christian Kirksey (2) the wolverine Staff Prediction Why Michigan Could Win: Michigan had its way with Iowa last fall, winning 42-17, and has only improved since then while the Hawkeyes have not. In years past, Iowa put up a fight with solid play up front on both sides of the ball, but this program needs another year, maybe two, before its offensive and defensive lines are that good again. Why Michigan Could Lose: Playing at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City is never easy. The Wolverines expect to be a strong running team, but there is no proof of that yet, only speculation, and the Hawkeyes' strength — their linebackers — could stifle Michigan's rushing attack. 186  ■  The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview Prediction: Iowa probably won't be the dreadful team that went 4-8 in 2012, but the Hawkeyes are not ready to ascend quickly. Two, maybe three, more wins are a reasonable expectation, but beating U-M will not account for one of those. Michigan 35, Iowa 17. Notes Iowa ran the fewest total plays on offense (793) in the Big Ten last season and focused on trying to move faster this spring by utilizing a no-huddle attack … The Hawkeyes have won just 17 of their last 29 games dating back to 2010; in the previous 29 games, they had gone 24-5, dating back to 2008 … The program's record has taken a step back every year since Iowa beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl and finished 11-2 in 2009. ❑ Date Aug. 31 Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 19 Oct. 26 Nov. 2 Nov. 9 Nov. 23 Nov. 29 2013 Schedule Opponent Northern Illinois Missouri State at Iowa State Western Michigan at Minnesota Michigan State at Ohio State Northwestern Wisconsin at Purdue Michigan at Nebraska 2012 Result W, 18-17 — L, 9-6 — W, 31-13 W, 19-16 (OT) — L, 28-17 — L, 27-24 L, 42-17 L, 13-7

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