ESPN identifies Iowa Hawkeyes’ season-defining 2023 game

Spring football is just about to get underway. That means a chance to at least better formulate what Iowa’s two-deep depth chart might look like.

Given several key transfer portal additions, the spring will be an important time to see how all of the new pieces are fitting in with Iowa’s established playmakers. There’s burning questions for both sides of the football.

The biggest for Iowa is just how much different does the offense really look? There’s some interesting storylines defensively, though, too.

As spring football arrives nationally, with its arrival are thoughts on each team’s upcoming 2023 slate. ESPN took a look at each top 25 team’s season-defining games.

ESPN’s Blake Baumgartner has a pick for Iowa’s season-defining game.

Iowa benefits immensely from the fact neither Ohio State nor Michigan is on its 2023 slate. It’s where you start when looking at Iowa’s potential for this fall. Full stop. That’s why—provided offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz can get the offense headed in the right direction—the Hawkeyes could see themselves competing for the Big Ten West crown and could possibly be a sleeper for the College Football Playoff.

Its trip to State College to begin Big Ten play on Sept. 23 against what could be a preseason top-10 Penn State team is by far its stiffest test of the season on paper. Should they find a way to get out of one of the most hostile environments in the Big Ten with a victory, then potential dreams of more than just a second Big Ten West title in three seasons could commence in Iowa City. – Baumgartner, ESPN.

After dropping the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series game for the first time in the past seven tries, the Hawkeyes will no doubt be laser-focused on revenge come Sept. 9 in Ames. Still, outside of internal expectations, there isn’t a ton of hope for an Iowa State team that finished 2022 with a 1-8 Big 12 record and 4-8 mark overall.

That means that Baumgartner is probably onto something. Iowa’s Sept. 23 date at Penn State is a prime opportunity for Cade McNamara and the Hawkeyes to demonstrate on a national stage that they have arrived as a complete football team.

Though Penn State is replacing longtime starting quarterback Sean Clifford, the Nittany Lions enter 2023 on an uptick after their Rose Bowl triumph over Utah and an 11-win campaign. Penn State still needs to figure out both Michigan and Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions established themselves as the clear No. 3 in the Big Ten by the end of last season.

Iowa didn’t have Penn State on its 2022 schedule. That means the last meeting between the two was memorable one. Here’s a quick trip down memory lane.

Nico Ragaini off a dime

'And here they come!'

Nico, Spencer break the play down

Ball. Hawk.

Inside the locker room

'I was at that game'


'Iowa fans, you should be pumped up'

Something magical about beating Penn State

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire