After Iowa’s disappointing loss to Iowa State, the Hawkeyes will try to get a W on the home field Saturday against Pittsburgh at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
While not perceived as a great team, the visiting Panthers have scored 35 points in each of their last two games but struggled in last week’s 35-29 win against Maine. Iowa and Pitt last met in 2008 with the Panthers taking a 21-20 win.
Iowa team captains this week are Tyler Nielsen, Mike Daniels, Marvin McNutt and James Vandenberg.
Sophomore linebacker Dakota Getz has injured his knee and is out for the season.
I am starting here because there were a lot of problems with the D in the Iowa State game. In coach Kirk Ferentz’s weekly press conference, he noted that the defense needs to contain the quarterback this week (and every week) and not let punt returns get too far.
Changes need to be made this week and if they don’t happen, the Hawkeyes will be sitting at a 1-2 season.
Pitt has made some changes on its defense this week as their linebackers have been weak in the last two games.
Defense is not their strong suit.
Advantage: Sorry Hawkeye Nation, gotta say it’s even.
Vandenberg has shown consistent play at quarterback and has good protection from his O-line. I’d like to see him get his numbers up this week.
Marcus Coker is once again a one-man running back show (35 carries last week) but he will get help from Jason White. Look for Damon Bullock to also help out.
Wide receiver Marvin McNutt didn’t add a lot last week but Keenan Davis stepped up and produced. Hopefully we’ll see more playing time from McNutt this week.
Pitt’s quarterback Tino Sunseri is 37 for 63 with 403 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions from the last two games. He has some work to do with timing and rhythm to get up to speed with the new rapid-fire spread offense and his coaches.
The Panther’s O-line needs to improve its protection on Sunseri as he’s already been sacked nine times this season.
Running back Ray Graham is Pitt’s shining star. He currently leads the nation in rushing with his 161.5 yards per game. He had 201 yards rushing in his first game with three touchdowns each in the last two games.
He’s a beast and the team leans on him for their offense. Iowa will need to stop him.
After an up and down season last year, kicker Mike Meyer continues to improve and display reliability. Last week, he had a career-high 50-yarder. Eric Guthrie is improving weekly as the punter but he’s no Ryan Donahue.
Pitt has Kevin Harper as their kicker who is two for five after two games. He had a long kick of 44 yards but missed a 39-yard field goal and an extra point last week.
Pitt comes to Iowa confident but with a shaky quarterback. The Hawkeyes are pissed and will be working hard for the win.
Iowa wins, 30-24.
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Written by Debbie Baratz