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Game Preview: Iowa vs. Michigan

Posted By Debbie Baratz On Nov 3 2011 @ 6:04 pm In Iowa | No Comments

After Iowa’s stunning team loss to Minnesota, this team needs to regroup and prepare for a difficult November schedule.

For the first time in a long time, I am questioning Iowa’s playcalling and have joined Hawkeye Nation in asking for change.

Iowa’s even-keeled skipper Kirk Ferentz said [1] after Saturday’s loss,

“We’re just going to keep working. The cavalry is not coming. We’re not going out and picking up any free agents this week,” Ferentz said. “We’re going to keep playing.”

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

Defense

The Hawkeyes defense, which has been a strength the past few seasons–finishing nationally in the top 10 for points allowed [1]–appears to be a shell of its former self this season. It ranks at the bottom of the conference with a No. 8 rushing defense and sits at the bottom with 238.6 passing yards allowed per game.

The defense also has a penchant for giving up too many points: a combined 55 points to Northwestern and Indiana.

And there’s also the 414 yards the Hoosiers grabbed in Kinnick. Earlier in the week, Ferentz was quoted as saying Iowa could easily give up 400 yards to Michigan.

Michigan, on the other hand, seems to be improving. After the dark days of defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and last year’s defense giving up 35.2 points per game [2], No. 13 Michigan is only allowing 14.6 points per game this year.

Last week, Michigan’s running game had 339 rushing yards [3] against Purdue.

Good luck with that Iowa.

Advantage: Michigan 

Offense

Other than mentally checking out by quarterback James Vandenberg or dropping passes by one of the wide receivers, the offense has pretty much been clicking all season. Vandenberg sits at No. 2 in the conference with 24o yards passing, thanks to his great connection with wide receiver Marvin McNutt.

Running back Marcus Coker had a career-high day with 252 yards rushing against Minnesota. He leads the conference at 121 yards per game and got some help last week from James White.

McNutt is Iowa’s all-time leader for touchdown receptions and should continue adding to the number.

Michigan brings stellar rushing quarterback, Denard Robinson. He ranks No. 5 in rushing for the conference and last year, Iowa’s defense had no problem stopping him. But as we know this is a different defense.

Robinson will be helped by starting tailback Fitz Toussaint, who had a career-high day [4] last Saturday with 170 yards.

Advantage: Iowa 

Special Teams

Just when I was becoming a believer, kicker Mike Meyer let me (and everyone else) down on Saturday with his two missed 24 and 43-yard field goals. This bit the Hawkeyes, who needed the six points for a win.

Michigan has Brendan Gibbons as its kicker. The sophomore is 6 for 8 on field goal attempts with a long of 38 yards.

Saturday’s kickers both have made 75 percent of their kicks.

Advantage: Iowa 

Iowa has never beaten Michigan three times in a row but anger, embarrassment and the home field is just what the doctor ordered. I see an ugly Iowa win this week.

Winner: Iowa 35-31

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URLs in this post:

[1] Kirk Ferentz said: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-ap-fbc-strugglinghawkey,0,4281002.story

[2] giving up 35.2 points per game: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Michigan-defensive-turnaround-starts-up-front-2245539.php

[3] 339 rushing yards: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Michigan-defensive-turnaround-starts-up-front-2245539.php#ixzz1cgAZe8gH

[4] career-high day: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Michigan-defensive-turnaround-starts-up-front-2245539.php#ixzz1cgD4joce

[5] Subscribe to author's RSS feed: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/author/dbaratz/feed/

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