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Why the Hawkeyes are especially hungry for opener

[ 0 ] July 25, 2013 |

CHICAGO — Iowa opened its 2012 football season with an 18-17 victory against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field.

The Huskies ended up in the Orange Bowl. Iowa lost its last six games to finish 4-8.

“If anybody had made that forecast that Saturday afternoon when we pulled out of Soldier Field, they probably could have made a lot of money,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “But that’s one of the great things about college football. I don’t think anyone saw 4-8 coming down our street. And they probably made a lot of money putting them in the Orange Bowl.”

The Huskies lost, 31-10, to Florida State in their prestigious BCS appearance in Miami.

The Hawkeyes spent the holidays at home licking their wounds.

“It was very disappointing, and kind of a reality check,” offensive lineman Brett Van Sloten said.

It was the first time in his college career that the fifth-year senior from Decorah wasn’t appearing in a bowl game.

“Christmas is great,” Van Sloten said. “But being home was not something we wanted to do as a team, and we’re looking to turn it around this year.”

That journey starts against Northern Illinois (again) on Aug. 31 at Kinnick Stadium.

The Huskies have a new coach. Dave Doeren left after last season to take the job at North Carolina State. His replacement, Rod Carey, was the Huskies’ offensive line coach and run-game coordinator last season.

“My sense is they’re not going to change a lot of things,” Ferentz said. “(Carey) was involved with the offense, and they’ve got a lot of the same coaches. We expect an opponent that will look very much like it did last year, one we’ve got a lot of respect for.”

Practice starts Aug. 5, and Van Sloten anticipates his teammates will show up hungry and ready to take a bite out of the disappointment of a bowless season.

“There’s a lot of hungry people,” Van Sloten said. “It’s something that eats at you. Being home for Christmas isn’t something you want to do. We’ve been doing strength and conditioning since December. We’re ready to turn the page and start playing football.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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