Iowa Preview

Note: Abbreviated preview today because I have a real job and blogging ain't it.
Iowa's Numbers
6-4 overall, 3-3 Big Ten
Head coach: Kirk Ferentz
     Career: 118-99 (18th year)
     at Iowa: 106-78 (15th year)
Offense: Multiple
     Rush: Mark Weisman (167-777 yards, 4 TDs)
     Pass: Jake Rudock (167-279, 1,916 yards, 14 TDs)
     Rec.: Kevonte Martin-Manley (35-304 yards, 3 TDs)
Defense: 4-3
     Tackles: Anthony Hitchens (87 tackles)
     Sacks: James Morris (4.0-15 yards)
     Int: B.J. Lowery (3-48 yards, 2 TDs), James Morris (3-29 yards) and Tanner Miller (3-8 yards)

To put it simply, this is probably as close to a must-win for Michigan has you can get without unequivocally calling it a must-win. I don't know what Michigan's chances are next week against Ohio State, but I have to think they're much better this week in Iowa City.

What I know is that Brady Hoke dodged a massive bullet last week when the universe aligned and Brendan Gibbons and the field goal unit somehow managed to get a rushed field goal try off with one second left to force overtime against Northwestern. Had that not worked, Hoke would've faced a week of questions about coaching decisions, play execution, player development, etc. But that scrutiny has been postponed until Michigan loses again. So, beat Iowa, no matter how it's done...and all is well as Michigan prepares for the Buckeye Express™ to come to town.

Iowa is a better opponent than Northwestern. They run the ball better, the stop the run better. This will be a game that will be won or lost in the trenches...which doesn't bode well for Michigan's hit and miss running game. Fitz is expected to play, but I'm sure he will split time, a lot of time, with Green and Smith who looked pretty good last week.

The offensive line/blocking backs must have their best game since Notre Dame what seems like a million years ago. Keep the heavy blitzes away from Gardner, give him time to make plays, and make holes for the backs. That may seem like football 101, but at Michigan, it's like pulling teeth sometimes.

Defensively, keep doing what you're doing. If the offense can keep them off the field as much as possible, that'd help. And is a defensive/special teams touchdown too much to ask?

Tweet obnoxiously if...
• The Green/Smith combo is featured more prominently than Fitz, with expected results.
• Gardner isn't eating turf 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
• Defensive/special teams touchdown.
• There's no stopping the the Gardner/Gallon show.

Commence panic if...
• There's no Gardner/Gallon show.
• Michigan's running game consists of -3 yards and a cloud of linebackers.
• The turnover bug starts to bite.
• Random crazy Iowa game thing that no one can explain but immobilizes everything.

Iowa 21 Michigan 16

Related content:
• B1G Preview: Week 13
• Big Ten Power Rankings and Bowl Projections - Week 13

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