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Game Preview: Iowa vs. Indiana

Posted By Debbie Baratz On Oct 20 2011 @ 1:54 pm In Iowa | No Comments

The Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1) will host the Indiana Hoosiers (1-6, 0-3) for homecoming on Saturday at 11 a.m. In their last meeting, Iowa narrowly won 18-13.

Last week, the Hoosiers played sacrificial lamb for Wisconsin’s homecoming and lost 59-7.

Let’s take a look at this week’s game.

Defense

Iowa continues to struggle with its defense and is dealing with some key injuries. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz didn’t offer any specifics in his weekly press conference but said players James Morris, Thomas Nardo and Anthony Hitchens may play on Saturday.

Linebacker Tyler Nielsen leads the team with 12 tackles but suffered an injured hand in Saturday’s game and underwent surgery on Sunday. There has been no further details.

Iowa has allowed a staggering 51 percent completion rate on opponents’ third downs and at times, just don’t look good.

Indiana’s defense has a weak secondary and sits at the bottom of the conference [1] in almost every statistic.

Advantage: Iowa (finally)

Offense

Iowa is averaging 32.5 points per game and has been relying on their three wide receivers and one running back.

Quarterback James Vandenberg has a great arm and is 112 for 185, 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Unfortunately you don’t know which Iowa team is going to show up whether it’s the weak one in Happy Valley (253 yards and three points) or last week’s Hawkeyes (379 yards and 41 points) against Northwestern.

Vandenberg can either look very rattled or very clutch.

Wide receiver Marvin McNutt is one touchdown reception away from the school’s record. Will this be the week?

Marcus Coker continues to carry the running game on his back but he may get some help on Saturday from Jordan Canzeri or De’Andre Johnson.

Indiana quarterback Edward Wright-Baker is in his first season and is 86 for 144 (59.7 percent), 979 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He had a rough game against the Badgers, going 6 for 15, 54 yards and two picks.

The Hoosiers will bring a running game to Iowa City with running back Stephen Houston. He recorded his first 100-yard game as a Hoosier last week, gaining 135 yards on 19 carries and a 67-yard touchdown.

Against Wisconsin, Indiana rushed for 223 yards on 45 attempts (5.0 average) against the Badgers.

For the passing game, Indiana has wide receivers Kofi Hughes (16 receptions, 252 yards and two touchdowns) and DeMarlo Belcher (25 receptions for 286 yards and one touchdown).

Advantage: Iowa

Special Teams

Eric Guthrie and Mike Meyer are finding success with the kicking game. Meyer is 11 for 13 and his longest field goal has been a 50-yarder. Guthrie continues to improve with his longest punt going 59 yards against Iowa State.

The Hoosiers bring Mitch Ewald as their kicker (7 for 9 this season, with a long of 49 yards) and punter Adam Pines. His average punt is 37.7 with a long of 57 yards.

Advantage: Iowa

Winner: Iowa has struggled in their last two games against Indiana, rallying in the fourth quarter in 2009 for 28 points and last year, it was a dodge the bullet fourth quarter win. The Hawkeyes will pull it off on Saturday, but they’ll need to show up in the second half.

Like they always do.

Iowa wins 31-17.

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[1] the bottom of the conference: http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/stats/2011-2012/confldrs.html#conf.wi2

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