Previewing Iowa Hawkeyes Ahead Of Matchup Versus Utah State

Aug 31, 2023, 11:22 AM

LOGAN, Utah – Could questions at quarterback for the Iowa Hawkeyes give USU the opening needed to take down a top-25 opponent?

Utah State takes on the No. 25 Hawkeyes in Iowa City, IA on Saturday, September 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:03 a.m. (MT).

RELATED: Utah State Offense To Have Different Look With Blake Anderson Calling Shots

Head coach Kirk Ferentz enters his 25th season leading the Iowa Hawkeyes, who begin the season ranked in the top 25 for the fourth time in five seasons. With two more wins, Ferentz will become the 24th Division I coach to reach the 200-win plateau.

This game marks the third time in seven seasons that Utah State will open the season against a Big Ten opponent. The Aggies lost at No. 9 Wisconsin in 2017 and at No. 11 Michigan State in 2018.

RELATED: Utah State Football Has Questions To Answer Against Iowa Hawkeyes

All-time, Iowa is 2-0 against Utah State with both games coming on the road for the Aggies. The Hawkeyes dismantled USU 48-7 in 2002. They have outscored the Aggies by 97 points in two meetings.

Iowa comes into 2023 as one of six teams to win at least eight games in each season since 2015.

RELATED: 2023 Utah State Aggies Football Schedule

Hawkeyes Worth Watching


Iowa’s projected offensive line enters the season with 80 career starts, the 11th-most in the country. Miami (Ohio) transfer Rusty Feth has 34 career starts in 38 games played. Feth was second-team All-Mac last season.

QB Cade McNamara

McNamara looks to begin his Iowa career after throwing for 2,576 yards and 15 scores while leading the Michigan Wolverines to a 2021 Big Ten championship. McNamara completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,181 yards and 21
touchdowns as a Wolverine.

RELATED: Utah State Releases Depth Chart For Week One @ Iowa Hawkeyes

RB Kaleb Johnson

Johnson returns to Iowa after setting a Hawkeye freshman record with 779 yards on 151 carries. He scored six touchdowns as a true freshman and his 200 yards gained against Purdue is the 18th-most in a single game in program history. Johnson was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list ahead of his sophomore season.

WR Seth Anderson

The son of former NFL wideout Flipper Anderson joins Iowa after being named the Big South Offensive Freshman of the Year last season. Anderson finished with 42 grabs for 612 yards and seven touchdowns for Charleston Southern.


A Hawkeyes defense that held nine teams to 10 or fewer points last season returned six starters. Iowa’s defense held opponents to 270.8 yards and 13.3 points per game, ranking second in the country in both categories.

CB Cooper DeJean

DeJean enters as the preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. A junior, DeJean was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (DPOY), Chuck Bednarik Award (Defense), and Jim Thorpe Award (DB) watch lists, among others.

DeJean was named First Team All-Big Ten in 2022 after finishing with 75 tackles, five interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns. His three pick-sixes set an Iowa program record.

DL Joe Evans & DL Logan Lee

Evans and Lee started all 13 games next to each other last season and combine for 40 career starts.

Evans returns for his final season after leading the Hawkeyes with 6.5 sacks last season. He has 18.5 sacks in his career.

Lee begins the season with a streak of 27 consecutive games started. He had 54 stops, eight tackles for a loss, and three sacks last season.

LB Nick Jackson

A graduate transfer from Virginia, Jackson has started 33 games in his career. He was named Second-team All-ACC in 2022, finishing his Cavalier career with 354 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and three 100+ tackle seasons. Jackson was named to the Butkus Award preseason watch list.

Will McNamara Start For Iowa Hawkeyes?

The Hawkeyes offense is coming off of a season in which they averaged 18.6 points per game. Despite averaging the 117th most points in the country last year, Iowa finished with an 8-5 record thanks in large part to their defense. Enter Cade McNamara.

A senior transfer from Michigan, McNamara led the Wolverines to the Big Ten title game in 2021, finishing 13-3 as a starter. After missing most of last season with an injury, McNamara is questionable for Saturday because of a reported right quad injury, according to the Des Moines Register. McNamara has been cleared to practice but his availability for the the season opener will be a game-time decision.

If McNamara is unable to play, Deacon Hill and Joe Labas are listed behind him on the depth chart.

Hill is a 6’3, 258-pound sophomore QB who spent his first collegiate season with the Wisconsin Badgers. He played in one game without attempting a pass last season. Labas is listed at 6’4 and 213 pounds after redshirting as a freshman in 2022. Labas made his only start of the season in the Music City Bowl, completing 10-of-24 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown with zero turnovers.

Utah State Aggies vs. No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes

Saturday, September 2 – Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

Radio – Aggie Sports Network

• Play-by-Play: Scott Garrard

• Analyst: Kevin White

• Online: KSL Sports Zone

RELATED: Limiting Turnovers Will Be Key For Aggie Signal-Callers

T.V. – Fox Sports One

• Play-by-Play: Jeff Levering

• Analyst: Mark Helfrich

• Xfinity (Utah): Ch. 265/HD691

• DirecTV: Ch. 219

• DISH: Ch. 150

RELATED: Utah State Ready To Test Themselves Against Iowa Hawkeyes

Following The Aggies With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State begins the 2023 campaign with a road test against the No. 25 Hawkeyes. Iowa hosts the Aggies on Saturday, September 2 with a 10 a.m. (MT) season-opening kickoff.

Utah State football games are found on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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Previewing Iowa Hawkeyes Ahead Of Matchup Versus Utah State