Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes

#14 Iowa Hawkeyes
#24 Michigan Wolverines

Game Stuff
When: October 16, 2010
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Time: 3:30 PM EST
TV: ABC Regional/ESPN National (Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham)
Local Radio: FM 104.3 WOMC, AM 1050 WTKA
Line: Michigan +4
Over/Under: 54
Last Meeting: 2009, #12 Iowa 30,  UM 28
Series Record: UM Leads 40-11-4
Michigan Record: 5-1 (1-1)
Last Game: Loss vs MSU 17-34
Iowa Record: 4-1 (1-0)
Last Game: Win vs Penn State 24-3

Iowa Stuff
Location: Iowa City, IA
Enrollment: 30,328
Conference: Big Ten
Nickname: Hawkeyes
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz
OC: Ken O'Keefe
DC: Norm Parker
2009 Record: 11-2 (6-2)

A Little History
Both Michigan and Iowa come into this game with something to prove. For Iowa, they need to prove that their loss to Arizona, and the 1st half defensive collapse that caused it was just a fluke. They've played a relatively weak schedule, so this is probably their biggest test so far. For Michigan, they must also prove that they're better than their one loss to Michigan State. Michigan impressed everyone with their wins against inferior opponents, but when tested against a tough defense, things fell apart.

Iowa has had a tough time in Ann Arbor in recent years. Their last win on the road was a 34-9 butt-kicking in 2002. And of course we all remember the 2 point loss in Iowa City just last season.

Iowa is enjoying a little resurgence lately, thanks to the stingy play of their defense, and the play of senior QB Ricky Stanzi. Stanzi may not be the best QB in the Big Ten, but he's good enough to win. With that defense like that, you don't need to score a ton of points to win. They say defense wins championships, and in a conference like the Big Ten, this is proving to be correct.

Stats Comparison (through 10-9-10)

Rushing Offense Avg/Yds297.33172.2MICH
Passing Offense Avg/Yds236.33254.2IOWA
Total Offense Avg/Yds533.67426.4MICH
Scoring Offense37.3333.6MICH
Rushing Defense Avg/Yds146.3363.2IOWA
Pass Efficiency Defense134.98102.07IOWA
Total Defense Avg/Yds450.67242.2IOWA
Scoring Defense26.8310.2IOWA
Net Punting Avg/Yds35.9535.63IOWA
Punt Returns Avg/Yds6.8314.33IOWA
Kickoff Returns Avg/Yds19.2923.78IOWA
Turnover Margin.17.8IOWA
Pass Defense Avg/Yds304.33179IOWA
Passing Efficiency167.67173.87IOWA
Sacks Avg/Gm1.52IOWA
Tackles For Loss Avg/Gm66PUSH
Sacks Allowed Avg/Gm.332MICH

On the surface, yes these stats look very lopsided, but consider the following...

Eastern Illinois (FCS)108 (FCS)83 (FCS)107 (FCS)
Iowa State639693
@ Arizona (Loss)92526
Ball State33117104
Penn State856888

Iowa hasn't exactly been dominating the best offenses in the nation. The only offense they've played with a pulse, Arizona, beat them 34-27. Hey, if people are going to point how how bad Michigan's opposing defenses are, then turnabout is fair play. Tip of the cap to MnB for this.

Video Stuff and Etc
Remember 2009? Tate Forcier does...

Remember last year when Tate looked awful and Denard came into the game in the 4th quarter and ran right down the field to score?

Rich Rod's Monday presser:

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg likes Iowa.

Iowa Offense
PASSINGComp/AttYardsComp %TD/INTRating
Ricky Stanzi82/121122667.810/2176.8
James Vandenberg5/84562.51/0151.0
Adam Robinson984804.9756
Jewel Hampton271144.2171
Brad Rogers9667.3180
2133415.945 (TD)4
Marvin McNutt1527518.3662
Allen Reisner1721412.6551
Adam Robinson714320.4480
Colin Sanderman910511.7271

Why the stats? Because charts are fun, that's why.

Iowa ranks near the upper-middle to upper of the pack in pretty much every important offensive category. I think Iowa's passing game is slightly more threatening than their running game, but with a defense like ours, anything can be threatening.

Stanzi is a pretty good passer, ranked 3rd in passing efficiency nationally. He throws the ball around pretty much 100% of the time, never leaving the pocket unless he has to. He's been pretty consistent through the air this year, averaging between 204 and 288 yards per game.

Iowa hasn't really played a defense worth a damn outside of Arizona (26th nationally overall) which resulted in a 34-27 loss. But it wasn't the Arizona defense that won that game, it was their offense. The score was 27-7 at halftime. Arizona has the Iowa defense on their heels. After halftime, it was another story. The Iowa defense stiffened and they fought back into the game. And it took a heroic late drive by Arizona to win the game.

Michigan's run defense was abyssal last week against the Spartans. We had our moments, but a few big runs here and there, some badly missed tackles, and some of the worst linebacker play I've ever seen resulted in a huge game for MSU. Expect a rushing attack very similar this week. Our defensive front will be tested again...and hopefully will rise up for the challenge, but I'm not expecting anything dramatic. Iowa will move the ball on us. They have a better O-line than MSU, but their rushers might be slightly less impressive.

The biggest receiving threat, and Stanzi's favorite target is Derrell Johnson-Kouliano. As you can see above, he's the statistical leader for the Hawkeyes. 

Iowa Defense
Okay, here's where the real fun begins.

Iowa's defense is ranked #4 overall in the country. Michigan offense is ranked #3 overall. Something has to give. Iowa has only allowed 36 points all year. They have yet to allow a rushing touchdown.

But it should be noted that Iowa will not have their defensive coordinator, Norm Parker in attendance. He recently had a foot amputated. Yes, you read that correctly. YIKES!

Michigan State did the best job of anyone so far this year of slowing down Denard Robinson. They did it by committing to stopping him on the ground, and forcing the pass. That normally wouldn't be such a problem, except our receivers forgot how to catch that day. I fully expect Iowa to try and do the same thing.

No question, whoever gets the better of this matchup is going to win this game.

I think the bulk of the responsibility falls onto the offensive line. Aside from Adrian Clayborn, who is a freak btw, Iowa boasts one of the best defensive lines in the country. We will have our hands full with this defense, which is probably the best unit we're going to face all year.

Final Thoughts
We can win this game if we do three things. 1) Don't turn the ball over. 2) No bad penalties. 3) Tackle well.

Its really that simple. Iowa is not the kind of team that does these three things wrong, so neither can we. I honestly think if we play fundamentally good football, then we'll have a chance. If we come out and play like he did last week by dropping passes, throwing interceptions, poor tackling...than it's going to be a similar result.

We're going to have the homefield advantage much more than we did last week. There will be some Iowa fans there, but not nearly as much as Sparty last week. So it's going to be important for us to be able to just focus on doing the small things right.

I'm not going to predict a final score, or even a winner. But I will predict that the team with less turnovers and more rushing yards will win this game. Enjoy, and Go Blue!

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