Iowa Preview 2009

The Michigan Wolverines invade Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City at night with hopes to ruin the Hawkeyes homecoming; however, they are a touchdown underdog. Iowa has won 41 of its last 49 games at home, one of those 8 losses was to Michigan in overtime in 2005. Iowa has lost three in a row to Michigan, but since the last meeting was in 2006, this is the first meeting between Coach Rodriquez and Coach Ferentz.

On offense, Iowa starts Junior Quarterback Ricky Stanzi; he is not a scrambler like Cousins, but he is 43% on 3rd down conversions. His favorite targets are Sophomore Marvin McNutt and Trey Stross; they average 48 and 46 yards per game. Redshirt Freshman Tailbacks Adam Robinson is averaging 72 yards per game on the ground and Brandon Wegher is averaging 54 yards per game. The Hawkeye offensive line is led by Senior Dace Richardson and Junior Brian Bulaga. The matchup with Brandon Graham and Bulaga will be a good one. Senior Rafael Eubanks is the Center, Right Guard is manned by Junior Julian Vandervelde and Senior Kyle Calloway is the Right Tackle. One thing you can be sure about in Iowa, this is a corn-fed offensive line; big, strong and beefy. They are solid in run blocking, and don't give up many sacks. Iowa plays "power football." Iowa is ranked #10 in the Big Ten in scoring offense, #7 in pass offense, rushing offense and 3rd down conversions and #9 in total offense; yet, #1 in time of possession. Nationally, they rank #74 in total offense, #55 in passing offense, #62 in rushing offense and #82 in scoring offense. Iowa is not a prolific offense. We should be able to stop them, and hold them below 20 points offensively; if we can't stop this offense, we are headed to a 6-6 season. Iowa managed 17 points against Northern Iowa, 21 against Penn State, 24 against Arkansas State, 27 against Arizona and their season high of 35 points against arch-rival Iowa State in Ames. Much of their scoring has been due to defensive turnovers, defensive scores; however, their offense has converted many of these turnovers into points.

On defense, it is quite another story for the Hawkeyes! We will have quite a challenge running the football since their defense has not allowed a rushing touchdown in the last 33 quarters although they are only ranked #51 in rushing defense; they are tough to run on in the red zone. Their pass defense is ranked #31 nationally and #3 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeye pass efficiency defense is ranked #1 in the Big Ten and #4 nationally with 10 interceptions and 5 TDs. Their total defense is ranked #32 nationally, #3 in the Big Ten, and scoring defense is an impressive #10 nationally. Their red zone defense has only permitted 4 TDs in 5 games whith 10 opponent trips to the Hawkeye red zone. Iowa is ranked #5 in the nation in turnovers gained, and #17 in turnover margin. Iowa is led on defense by Senior Linebacker Pat Angerer, and Junior Linebacker Jeremiha Hunter. Senior A.J. Edds is the other linebacker. Sophomore defensive back Tyler Sash is #2 the nation in interceptions with 5 picks in 5 games. Sophomore Brett Greenwood is the other corner. Amari Spievey is the safety. The Hawkeyes should be able to thwart a weak Wolverine passing game. Junior Adrian Clayborn will be putting heat on Forcier; he has two forced fumbles and three sacks in five games. Sophomore Broderick Binns is the other defensive end. Juniors Karl Klug and Chris Ballard are the defensive tackles, hard to move out. This is another great Norm Parker and Phil Parker product, both are formerly Michiganders who have been coaching the Hawkeye defense for the last 11 years.

Special Teams are led by Junior placekicker Daniel Murray and Junior Punter Ryan Donahue. They are both consistent, and the Hawkeyes always have solid special teams; they are ranked #4 in kickoff coverage in the Big Ten and net punting ranks #31 nationally. Junior Paul Chaney Jr. is their kickoff and punt returner; he also will run some reverses and is a backup wide receiver.

I'm predicting a Wolverine defeat! I don't think we'll be able to run the ball effectively against the Hawkeyes, and my opinion is that we'll lose the turnover battle and Iowa will convert turnovers into points. Our poor red zone offense will struggle against a tough Iowa defense; our only hope is to break some big plays early and get a lead on them that would take the crowd out of the game and put pressure on a mediocre Iowa offense to come from behind. While this idea sounds romantic, but the more realistic reality tells me that Iowa prevails.

Michigan 16 Iowa 24