October 13, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Le

Big Ten Conference Football Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes (Part 2: Defense)

The Iowa Hawkeyes come into the 2013 season after finishing tied for 5th in the Big Ten – Legends with an overall record of 4-8 and a conference record of 2-6. The Hawkeyes will look to end this season a lot better than they ended last season. After opening with a 4-2 overall record, they lost six straight Big Ten conference games to end the year.

The Hawkeyes will be returning eight starters on defense. The three players Iowa lost are DL Steve Bigach, DL Joe Gaglione, and DB Micah Hyde. The biggest of these losses will be Gaglione and Hyde.

Nov. 3, 2012; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers receiver Duwyce Wilson (81) is tackled by Iowa Hawkeyes players Nico Law (21) and James Morris (44) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Indiana defeated Iowa 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Schultheiss-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten last season, Gaglione and Hyde put up some decent numbers in their respective fields. Hyde recorded the fourth most tackles (78 total) on the team, broke up fourteen passes, forced two fumbles, and recovered three fumbles.

On the other hand, Gaglione recorded 51 total tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, five sacks, and two forced fumbles.

One thing Iowa’s defense will need to improve on in 2013 is sacking the quarterback. In 2012, the Hawkeyes ranked last in the Big Ten as they only had thirteen sacks. On top of that, Gaglione was the team’s leading “sack artist.”

This season will need to be a group effort for the Hawkeyes, but they will be looking for senior leadership from LB James Morris. Morris was second on the team in tackles with 113 total tackles in 2012. He also had nine tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, and one interception.

When it comes to Iowa’s defensive backs, the Hawkeyes will return three starters while only losing Hyde. They will return B.J. Lowery, Tanner Miller, and Nico Law.

These three players should be able to anchor the DBs, but who will replace Micah Hyde. That question will be answered later this offseason as Iowa will a ton of young players competing for the chance to start in 2013.

The Hawkeyes success in 2013 will be directly tied to the success of their defense. They will need to get after the quarterback a lot more and generate some more sacks this upcoming season. If they do not, they will be at the bottom of the Big Ten – Legends again in 2013.

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