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Continued: Big Ten spring football:  Offseason of change welcomes two more

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 23, 2014 - 12:30 PM

I­O­WA

Coach: Kirk Ferentz (16th year).

2013: 8-5, 5-3.

Bowl game: Lost to LSU 21-14 in the Outback Bowl.

Start­ers re­turn­ing: Offense 8, defense 5.

Top re­turn­ees: QB Jake Rudock (18 TD pass­es, 13 inter­cep­tions), RB Mark Weis­man (975 rush­ing yards).

Spring news: Sev­er­al top play­ers re­turn, but there’s a hole at line­back­er, where the Hawk­eyes lost three longtime start­ers.

Sched­ule notes: The non­con­fer­ence slate brings Northern I­o­wa, Ball State, I­o­wa State and Pitts­burgh. The Hawk­eyes got a fa­vor­a­ble draw from the Big Ten East, with games against In­di­an­a and Mar­y­land.

Football fe­ver tem­per­a­ture: 70. The Hawk­eyes re­stored faith last year, re­bound­ing from a 4-8 fin­ish in 2012. I­o­wa should en­ter the fall as a strong can­di­date to win the Big Ten West.

NE­BRAS­KA

Coach: Bo Pelini (sev­enth year).

2013: 9-4, 5-3.

Bowl game: De­feat­ed Geor­gia 24-19 in the Ga­tor Bowl.

Start­ers re­turn­ing: Offense 5, defense 8.

Top re­turn­ees: RB Ameer Ab­dul­lah (1,690 rush­ing yards), DE Randy Greg­o­ry (10 ½sacks)

Spring news: Pelini has light­ened up a bit, at least pub­lic­ly, and the Corn­husk­ers hope to turn a cor­ner as they be­gin the post-Taylor Martinez era with Tommy Arm­strong Jr. run­ning the offense.

Sched­ule notes: Af­ter open­ing with Flori­da Atlantic and Mc­Neese State, the Huskers play at Fres­no State and Mi­am­i (Fla.). Their cross­o­ver games are at Mich­i­gan State and home against Rut­gers.

Football fe­ver tem­per­a­ture: 75. In­stead of fir­ing Pelini, Ne­bras­ka gave him an ex­ten­sion through 2018. His teams have lost ex­act­ly four games in each of the past six years.

  • related content

  • Quarterback Mitch Leidner advanced the ball on a keeper during the Gophers' spring game.

  • Tommy Armstrong Jr. takes over for Taylor Martinez at quarterback for Nebraska.

  • Quarterback Connor Cook and Michigan State will try to make it back-to-back Big Ten titles.

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