Iowa Hawkeye Football Schedule Prep: Week 10 vs UCLA

Each Monday, we'll look ahead game by game with a brief preview of the 2024 football schedule. In Week 10, the Hawkeyes head to the Rose Bowl for a date with the UCLA Bruins.
UCLA Spring Football Game
UCLA Spring Football Game / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The Iowa Hawkeyes won't make their first trip to the West Coast in the new-look Big Ten until Week 10 of the 2024 season. Waiting for them in Southern California will be the UCLA Bruins.

This game will mark just the 10th meeting between the programs. UCLA holds the series record at 6-3, winning the most recent game in the 1986 Rose Bowl game 45-28.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, it's not the 80s anymore. UCLA has won just a single bowl game in the past decade in four appearances, none of which were New York 6 contests.

That recent bowl win came in the LA Bowl last year, the final season with Chip Kelly in charge of the program. He took the offensive coordinator position at Ohio State, leaving UCLA to juggle the adjustments of joining a new conference with breaking in a first-year head coach.

DeShaun Foster played for the Bruins and has spent most of his coaching career at UCLA. His familiarity with the program will certainly be a boost, as is his hiring of Eric Bieniemy, who famously helped orchestrate the Kansas City Chiefs on a couple of their Super Bowl runs.

Bieniemy's offense has some firepower, but it will go on without promising freshman 2023 starter Dante Moore at quarterback, who took the opportunity to bounce to Oregon in the Transfer Portal. Veteran Bruin Ethan Garbers takes over the offense after throwing for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns in limited action last year.

Garbers won't lack targeting options. J. Michael Sturdivant and Logan Loya return after combining for 1,200+ yards and nine touchdowns on just under 100 receptions. Tight end Moliki Matavao has the makings of a breakout candidate in the offense as well.

The offensive line returns four starters and should be prepared to run the football. Foster is a former running back himself, and although Bieniemy's offense looks deep in the passing game, he won't shy away from establishing the run. TJ Harden and Keenan Jones will lead the backfield, with Harden being the frontrunner. He had 969 scrimmage yards and nine scores last year.

Defensively, the Bruins could struggle to adapt. Defensive coordinator Ikaika Malloe replaces D’Anton Lynn who crossed Los Angeles to help revive the USC Trojans' defense. Malloe will be tasked with replacing uber-talented edge rushers Laiatu Latu and Gabriel Murphy who combined for 21 sacks in 2023. He'll do so without his leading tackler, Darius Muasau, as well.

There are a handful of transfers who will look to mesh quickly and form a cohesive unit. Navy Edge Jacob Busic, and safeties Bryan Addison (Oregon), Ramon Henderson (Notre Dame), and KJ Wallace (Georgia Tech) will have to step in and be immediate impact players.

Last year, the Bruins held opponents to 18.4 points per game, the 14th-best mark in the country. It's difficult to see UCLA doing as well in 2024, especially in the Big Ten.

UCLA isn't a team to sleep on in 2024. They will be far from perfect and likely will scratch and claw for bowl eligibility, but they have the build of a program that will steal a few victories. Iowa figures to be the type of opportunity they can take advantage of.

On paper, Iowa has the advantage. The Hawkeyes defense is built to handle the offensive attack UCLA will employ while the Bruins defense will be average enough for Iowa to get enough movement on the scoreboard. This is one of the "should be a win if you don't screw around" kind of games for the Hawkeyes.

The game is set for Friday, November 8 at 8 p.m. on FOX.

You can check out last week's early preview against Wisconsin here.

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