January 2014

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Bright Future By Matt Weitzel E ven with a 21-14 loss to No. 14 Louisiana State University in the 2014 Outback Bowl, the University of Iowa football team can keep its head up knowing it fought all season to leave the program in excellent shape moving forward.  The Hawkeyes played best down the stretch, winning their final three regular season games before giving the Tigers everything they could handle on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla. In the passing game, Iowa returns 79 percent of its receiving production, including senior-to-be Kevonte Martin-Manley, who led the squad in catches (40), receiving yards (388) and punt returns (20 returns for 314 yards and two touchdowns). Martin-Manley has a chance at history, needing 52 catches to break the Iowa record of 173. Three of Iowa's four returning tight ends also caught a pass. Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard were underclassmen in 2013, but return with a year under their belts. "I'm extremely proud of these guys," said UI head coach Rudock amassed 2,383 passing yards and accounted Kirk Ferentz. "To be around this football team, to coach for 23 touchdowns (18 passing and five rushing), while them, to go to the practice field every day with those Beathard saw action in five games, throwing for 179 guys, the weight room, wherever they've been... it has yards and a score. been a great group of guys to work with. The guys have played hard and competed hard each and every step. Defensively, the Hawkeyes have a tall task in replacing linebackers James Morris, Anthony Hitchens and "It has been a lot of fun to be around them on a daily Christian Kirksey, who caused havoc on opposing basis. It has been a great 13 months." offenses all season. The focus in the coming months turns to spring ball The Hawkeyes will be experienced up front with Mike and preparing for the 2014 season. The Hawkeyes Hardy, Drew Ott, Louis Trinca-Pasat, Carl Davis, and return seven offensive starters, five on defense and Darian Cooper returning. Starters Desmond King one specialist from the bowl game — not to mention a (cornerback) and John Lowdermilk (safety) also return number of other returnees who played key roles during on the perimeter. the team's success. Connor Kornbrath finished his sophomore campaign Three of Iowa's starting offensive linemen return, with 11 punts of 50 yards and 27 kicks pinning including left tackle Brandon Scherff. The native of opponents inside their 20-yard line. The Hawkeyes need Denison, Iowa, says the key for Iowa moving forward is to replace four-year starting placekicker Mike Meyer, to keep improving. who kicked his way into the Iowa record book, finishing  "It starts right when we get back to school for strength second in career scoring (316) and field goals (61). and conditioning; becoming more detailed and With all the talented players returning, it's difficult to say watching more film," said Scherff. goodbye to a graduating class that meant so much. The Offensively, the Hawkeyes return all but one rushing yard next season. Mark Weisman (975 yards on the ground) and Damon Bullock (481) will be seniors, while Jordan Canzeri (481) will be a junior, and LeShun Daniels, Jr., (142) a sophomore. 2014 senior class provided leadership, class, and heart, and demonstrated what it's like to do things the "Iowa Way." "I'll remember all the great friends that I made during the last five years," said senior receiver Jordan Cotton, who set an Outback Bowl record averaging 42.7 yards on three kickoffs returns. "My teammates are like brothers to me."  47

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