Preview: Iowa

Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
November 5, 2011, 12:00 PM

TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman, Quint Kessenich)
Radio: WWJ-950 AM, WTKA-1050 AM, Sirius 113/XM 194 (Frank Beckmann, Jim Brandstatter, Doug Karsch)
Line: UM -3.5
Over/Under: 51.5
Series Record: UM leads 40-12-4
Last Meeting: 2010: MICH 28 - IOWA 38
UM Record/Rank: 7-1 (3-1), #15 (BCS)
UI Record/Rank: 5-3 (2-2)
Gametime Forecast: Overcast, 52ยบ, Winds SSE 15 MPH

Relevant links from sites we trust
MZone does it's weekly Know Your Foe. FFFF from Ace at MGoBlog. Game previews from Big House Blog, BWS and Midnight Maize kindly asks Lloyd Carr to Pick a Door.

And while it doesn't have much to do with this game, John U. Bacon honors Bump Elliot with a great story. And btw, Three and Out will debut next week on the New York Times Best-seller's list at #6! Great work Bacs!

My preview-ish, kinda thing
This game had a whole different feel before last week when Michigan was fresh off a loss to Michigan State, and Iowa had yet to lose to the best high school team in B1G history.

But now that Michigan has redeemed itself against Purdue, and Iowa was thoroughly embarrassed in Minneapolis last weekend, this game just feels differnt. I don't know how, because normally heading into Iowa City and their pink visitor locker rooms would typically make me at least a little nervous. But Iowa does play better at home, and I do believe that the loss to Minnesota was a blip on the radar, even for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa's defense isn't great. Oddly, its one of the worst passing defenses in the league, and pretty much middle of the road in every other defensive category. Opposing offenses are averaging 48% on 3rd downs against them.

But all of Iowa's losses are on the road, so I guess a case could be made there.

Look, I don't think Michigan rolls in this game. I'd like to see it, but I'm conditioned enough to not expect anything. The emergence of Fitz Toussaint last week was delightful to see, and we're going to need him this week. But I don't think we get out of Iowa City with a win unless Denard plays well. I think against this defense he can do it...he matches up well against Iowa.

On the other side of the ball, Iowa QB James Vandenberg is a good player, and a real threat against our defense right now. We're going to be tested against his arm, I have no doubt. His favorite target, senior Marvin McNutt is having a nice season. Keenan Davis and freshman Kavonte Martin-Manley are also putting up some respectable numbers.

Sophomore RB Marcus Coker is Iowa's answer on the ground. So far he's averaging over 22 carries and 121 yards per game (which leads the B1G). The 6-0, 230 lb back will certainly test us up front.

They key for Michigan this week is injuries. We hope to see Jordan Kovacs back at safety, and of course along the line...Taylor Lewan and Ricky Barnum, who might be benched in favor of Michael Schofield...who's been starting in his place since week 5.

I expect to see Countess continue his role in Woolfolk's corner spot as Troy fills in for Jordan at safety. If Kovacs returns, Troy will likely bump Thomas Gordon.

Along the line, it's been a steady combination of lineups which include a heavy rotation of Nathan Brink, Ryan Van Bergen, Jibreel Black and Will Heininger all rotating between DT and DE. I expect this will continue. Roh and Martin have been playing well on the other side, with Roh really stepping up lately. And don't even get me started on Jake Ryan. What a future this kid has in this defense.

All in all, Michigan should win this game, we certainly have the talent to do so. But November road games in this league are tough. When you have two teams relatively close, it comes down to coaching. In 2010 we averaged 35.2 point against. So far in 2011 we're only giving up 14.6...with virtually all the same players. I'm sorry...that's coaching.

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1 comment

  1. Borges is an idiot. How about we get plays in on time so we're not running off 10 seconds at the line of scrimmage every play. And how about we role Denard out and play to his strengths (running/throwing on the run) rather than his weaknesses (dropback passing). Hats off to the defense though. Again the coaches cost the kids the game. Don't get me wrong, Hoke, Borges and Mattison are great coaches and will figure it out, but come on, give them a better chance here....