INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
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I’m happy to let summer pass through as slowly as possible, but still willing to look at Iowa’s 2014 football schedule.
Aug. 30 — Northern Iowa: History shows if UNI gives Iowa a tough game it doesn’t mean the Hawkeyes won’t have a strong season.
Iowa was luck-luck-lucky to beat the Panthers in their 2009 opener, then proceeded to win its next eight games on the way to an 11-2 season.
The only time UNI beat Iowa in their 16 meetings was in 1898, when LUNI was called Iowa State Normal School. The Normals won, 11-5, but the Hawkeyes went unbeaten over their following 23 games.
Sept. 6 — Ball State: In their two meetings, Iowa outscored Ball State by a total of 101-0.
Those were somebody else’s Cardinals, though. They now own a 2-game winning streak over the Big Ten (both against Indiana), and won by two touchdowns at Virginia last year. They scored 40 or more points on seven occasions, and won 10 games.
Sept. 13 — Iowa State: The last ISU-Iowa game in Kinnick was a 9-6 Cyclones win. That was the lowest-scoring game involving Iowa in the last four seasons. It was the lowest-scoring game involving Iowa State since its 6-6 tie with Oklahoma State in 1991.
Sept. 20 — at Pittsburgh: The last time Iowa played at Pitt was 2008, a 21-20 Panthers win. In that game, Shonn Greene rushed for 147 yards for Iowa and LeSean McCoy rushed for 78 yards for Pitt.
Both players entered the NFL in 2009. They have combined for 9,191 rushing yards, 2,638 receiving yards, and 71 touchdowns. McCoy has three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Greene two.
Sept. 27 — at Purdue: The longitude of West Lafayette, Ind., is 86.9125 degrees West. The longitude of Bloomington, Ind., is 86.5292 degrees West.
Thus, Purdue is in the Big Ten’s West Division, and Indiana is in the East.
Oct. 11 — Indiana: Iowa beat Indiana 49-3 in 1983. Third-string Hawkeye quarterback Cornelius Robertson called a timeout with three seconds left, then threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to walk-on Scott Helverson with no time remaining. Iowa passed six times in the last 47 seconds.
First-year Hoosiers Coach Sam Wyche had his players kneel on the sidelines and stare at the scoreboard in the final seconds. After the game he met with them on the field and told them to remember the moment.
“Nobody is going to kick sand on Indiana anymore,” Wyche said. “I won’t forget this one.”
After the season, Wyche left Indiana to coach the Cincinnati Bengals.
Oct. 18 — at Maryland. Iowa and Maryland have no football history with each other.
Nov. 1 — Northwestern. Phil Steele’s preseason magazine picks Northwestern to finish second behind Wisconsin in the Big Ten West, with Iowa third and Nebraska fourth.
Of course, last year Steele’s magazine said Florida State’s quarterbacking unit was the 45th-best in the country. In fairness, he wasn’t the only one who didn’t see Jameis Winston coming.
Nov. 8 — at Minnesota. This will be the fourth time in five years Iowa has played at Minnesota. When the Hawkeyes were 15-point favorites there in 2010 and 2011, they lost. When they were a 2-point favorite there last year, they won by 16.
Nov. 15 — at Illinois. When this game is held, Iowa will have played 77 times since the last time it faced the Fighting Illini, in 2008.
It has played three times in Arizona since the last time it played Illinois. It will have played Ball State twice since it played Illinois. It has played teams from Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana since the last time it played Illinois.
Nov. 22 — Wisconsin. In the time it takes to drive from Iowa City to the University of Maryland, you could drive from Iowa City to Madison to Iowa City to Madison to Iowa City.
Nov. 28 — Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have won their last nine games that were decided by seven points or less. But in games decided by 21 points or more, Nebraska has a 1-game losing streak. Iowa fans remember it well. So do Husker fans.
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