Iowa State vs Iowa football: Previewing the Hawkeyes special teams


It’s been a wild ride for the Iowa place kickers, who may have a long year ahead of them if the results from the first two games hold up.

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Starting lineup:

The Hawkeyes went 1-for-2 in field goals against Northern Iowa, but went a dismal 1-for-4 in their game against Ball State last week. Marshall Koehn missed the first attempt, a 35-yarder, late in the first quarter. He rebounded with a 26-yard chipshot early in 2nd quarter, but then missed a 37-yard attempt right before the half.

Mick Ellis took over but didn’t look any better, completely shanking a 29-yard kick. But he was able to get the extra points on two key touchdowns to aid the team in a come from behind win.

Iowa is replacing longtime kicker Mike Meyer who was fairly reliable for four years. They may not have that luxury until either Koehn or Ellis get their kicking down. We won’t know who will be taking the kicks until gametime as both are listed as the starter.

JUCO transfer Dillon Kidd beat out Connor Kornbrath as punter and Matt VandeBerg is placed as the top punt returner over Kevonte Martin-Manley. Martin-Manley’s highlight from last season was two back-to-back punt returns for TD against Western Michigan, but had a muffed punt in the Outback Bowl against LSU.

There seems to be a lot of fluctuation in the Iowa special teams this year. In comparison, Iowa State has the advantage in this area with a solid place kicker, great punting from a freshman so far, and of course there’s the dynamic Jarvis West returning kicks. If the Cyclones want to pull this game out in Iowa City, they likely need to make some plays or take some chances in special teams.