Michigan travels away from the Big House for just the 3rd time this year, to the land of pink locker rooms, farm boys, cornfields, and well, not much else.
One thing is certain this year in the Big 10, winning on the road, isn’t easy. Just ask Iowa, who played Division 2 Minnesota last week (ok ok I kid, but man, they’re one of the worst Div 1 teams I can remember). Road teams in conference play thus far this fall have notched just 8 wins, and Kinnick isn’t the easiest road venue.
Iowa has a good young QB in James Vandenberg, a tough, physical running back in Marcus Coker, and a top notch WR in McNutt. Not much else about the Hawkeyes scares me.
There are a couple things that do however. First of all, one has to think the embarrassment of last week’s loss to the Gophers will insure Iowa will come out fired up, and I expect their best shot.
Secondly, Michigan’s offensive line is severely banged up. While there isn’t much depth in that unit, the backups aren’t a huge drop off. Even though Iowa’s front four is night and day compared to last years juggernaut front four, they won’t be getting our best shot.
The saving grace is Iowa has given up a good amount points to everyone they’ve played. Especially on the ground. If the offensive line can be remotely productive, I expect Fitz, Denard and company to put up some good yards and control the clock. Keep McNutt in check , double him if you need to, and limit long first down runs by Coker, and force Iowa into 2nd and 3rd and long. Mattison isn’t shy in throwing blitzes from everywhere at QB’s, especially young ones, and forcing them to think quickly.
Iowa should score a decent amount, but Michigan will score more, barring Denard Denard’n himself. Michigan 31, Iowa 27.