Find out how to watch Miami-Ohio face Iowa in a matchup Saturday, August 31.
Kirk Ferentz is already Iowa’s all-time winningest coach. He will now become the longest-serving one in school history as he begins his 21st season with the No. 19 USA Today/No. 20 AP Hawkeyes with Saturday’s opener against Miami of Ohio at Kinnick Stadium.
Ferentz passed Fry in wins last season with a 31-28 victory over Nebraska in Iowa’s final regular-season contest. He added win No. 152 at the Outback Bowl as Iowa capped a 9-4 season with three straight victories. That put a positive spin on a disappointing campaign in Big Ten play as the Hawkeyes finished a distant second behind Northwestern in the West Division, marked by a three-game losing streak by a combined 10 points.
Ferentz’s first order of business will be replacing the incredible production from tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, who were both first-round picks in the NFL Draft by Detroit (Hockenson at No. 8) and Denver (Fant at No. 20). The pair combined for 88 catches, 1,279 yards and 13 of Iowa’s 27 receiving touchdowns in 2018. The new starter is senior Nate Wieting, who had just three catches in nine games over the last two seasons. Quarterback Nate Stanley does have quality wide receivers in Brandon Smith and Imhir Smith-Marsette, who totaled 51 catches and 722 yards between them.
But the Hawkeyes could wind up being a power running team as their top three backs return, led by Mekhi Sargent. The junior had 745 yards and nine TDs in his first season with Iowa and will have a pair of standout tackles in Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs opening gaps for him.
This could be a make-or-break season for Chuck Martin as he enters his sixth season at Miami. Martin has a 22-39 record and only one bowl appearance with the RedHawks. He’s coming off a 6-6 season, but needed three straight victories at the season’s end to reach the .500 mark.
The RedHawks have lost 12 straight games to ranked non-conference opponents since a 13-10 victory at then-No. 12 North Carolina in 1998. Ending this skid looks to be an uphill challenge since Martin has not named a starting quarterback among Jackson Williamson, redshirt freshman A.J. Mayer and true freshman Brett Gabbert – the younger brother of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Whoever does line up under center at least has a pair of experienced receivers to throw to in Jack Sorenson, who had 53 catches for 745 yards in 2018 and Luke Mayock – son of Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock – whose 22 receptions were second-most among returning players.
How to watch the game:
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Live stream: You can watch the game live on fuboTV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.