Iowa Preview 2010

Iowa invades Ann Arbor after a Bye Week so they'll be well rested, ranked #16 nationally, 4-1 after an earlier loss to Arizona in Tucson and a 4 point favorite. Iowa has only allowed single digits of points to four opponents, but the Wildcats put up 34 on them. Last year, the Hawkeyes managed a 30-28 win in Iowa City capitalizing on 5 Wolverine turnovers.

I'm going to start with the Iowa Defense because it is the strength of their team, and they'll have 8 of 11 starters returning from the 2009 game. Iowa's rushing defense is ranked #2 in the nation allowing opponents only 63 yards per game. Their scoring defense is ranked #1 in the nation allowing only 10 points per game. Their total defense is ranked #4 in the nation allowing only 247 yards per game. Defensive End Adam Clayborn is their best defensive player resembling Brandon Graham with 25 tackles, 4.5 for loss, 1 sack and 2 quarterback hits. Teams run away from him, and double team him to protect the quarterback on passing plays. Seniors Karl Klug and Christian Ballard man the two defensive tackle positions, and either Junior Broderick Binns will start at the other defensive end or Ballard will move their with Junior Mike Daniels moving to tackle. Senior Jeff Tarpinian lead the team in tackles with 32, 2.5 for loss, 2 sacks and a forced fumble; however, he has been injured, and is not expected to return for the Wolverines. Instead, he'll be replaced by Senior Troy Johnson. Senior Jeremiha Hunter returns at WILL Linebacker and has 29 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries and the outside linebacker is Junior Tyler Nielsen with 24 tackles, an interception and 4 pass break ups. In 2009, Hunter led the Hawkeye defense against Michigan with 12 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Senior Free Safety Brett Greenwood leads the Hawkeye defensive backfield, and Junior Tyler Sash is the Strong Safety. Junior Shaun Prater has two interceptions, one for a TD and Sophomore Micah Hyde are the two cornerbacks. Former Michigander, Norm Parker, has done a phenomenal job as the Iowa defensive coordinator.

On Offense, Senior Quarterback Ricky Stanzi gets the job done. He is ranked #3 nationally and first in the Big Ten in passing efficiency; he has thrown 10 TDs with only 2 interceptions. Last year, Stanzi completed 20 of 38 against Michigan for 284 yards and 2 TDs. Stanzi's favorite target is Senior Derrell Johnson-Koulianos; he has 21 receptions and 4 TDs. Junior Marvin McNutt is the other wide receiver, and he has 15 catches and 2 TD. Senior Colin Sandeman is a key backup wide receiver, and has 9 receptions, one for a TD. Sophomore Keenan Davis is another wide receiver of note with 5 receptions, one for a TD. One thing for sure, their receivers coach, Erik Campbell, will have the receivers playing at their best for this one. At Running Back, Sophomore Adam Robinson is one of the best in the Big Ten; he is averaging 96 yards per game in rushing and another 29 yards per game in receptions with 6 TDs. Freshman Marcus Coker and Senior Paki O'Meara are solid backups at running back. Senior Allen Reisner is the Tight End and Senior Brett Morse is the Fullback; Reisner has 17 receptions and a TD while Morse has 3 receptions, one for a TD. The offensive line in Iowa is always solid, and this year is no exception although they are young and less experienced than in 2009. The coach's son, Sophomore James Ferentz, is the center. He is flanked at the guard positions by Senior Julian Vanderverde and Redshirt Freshman Nolan MacMullen. At tackle, Junior Markus Zusevics and Sophomore Riley Reiff are the starters.

Special Teams play for the Hawkeyes is always solid. Special teams play is all about coaching, and Iowa has a great coaching staff. Senior Ryan Donahue is their punter; he averages 44.4 yards per punt, #18 nationally. Freshman Michael Meyer is 2 of 3 on field goals; he and Sophomore Trent Mossbrucker are 22 of 23 on PATs. Neither are threats from 40+ yards for long field goals. Sandeman handles punt returns, and Johnson-Koulianos is their primary kickoff returner.

Since Rich Rodriquez became Michigan's head football coach on December 17, 2007, the only Big Ten teams he has defeated are Indiana (2-0), Wisconsin (1-1), and Minnesota (1-0); his record is 4-14, and is 0-3 against Michigan State, 0-2 against Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois and 0-1 against Iowa and Northwestern. He is the first of 18 head coaches in Michigan football history to lose to a Mid-American Conference school, Toledo. He really hasn't demonstrated he can be a successful coach for the Big Ten style of play which is "power" football, strong in the red zone and using time of possession to control the clock and the game. Iowa's Ferentz has proven to be a solid Big Ten head coach, and is the key reason why Iowa contends for a football title year in and year out and made a BCS bowl (Orange Bowl) earlier this year ending the 2009 season ranked #7. They have had four 10+ win seasons thus far in the first decade of the millenium.

Iowa never quits; they were down 27-7 at halftime in Tucson, and came back to tie the game in the 4th quarter against #17 ranked Arizona. They may still be able to win the Big Ten title since they play Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State at home, and they definitely have the Big Ten's best defense. I don't think we'll be able to establish a running game against the Hawkeyes, and if they get turnovers like Michigan State did, they'll make up pay. I don't think our defense can stop anyone, and Iowa should be able to come away with a win after two weeks to prepare for us.

Michigan 14 Iowa 24