Greetings Once Again Hawkeye Faithful!
Floyd Stays Home! Iowa traveled to Minneapolis and put their boots to the rear ends of the Golden Gophers, taking the victory in dominant fashion 23-7 (highlights here). Man of the Match goes to RB Mark Weisman, who racked up 147 yards on the ground. It was a tremendous performance by the Hawks, and except for some shaky kickoff coverage, it was maybe the best performance by the Hawks on the year. Minnesota came into the game averaging well over 250 yards on the ground, and the Hawks held them to only 30 yards on 27 carries. For the year, Iowa has not given up a rushing TD, and save for some inconsistent pass coverage, have performed well above expectations for the season. On the other side of the ball, the offense has performed well, but they haven’t been great at finishing drives. If they had been doing this, the Iowa State and Minnesota games probably would have looked a lot more like the Western Michigan score. Regardless, the Hawks have been playing great, and if they can keep this up they can put some fear into the rest of the B1G. This week is homecoming in Iowa City, and this year’s opponent for the annual Black and Gold spirit game is the Michigan State Spartans, so let’s take a look!
First and foremost, MSU has just as stout a defense as the Hawks, maybe even more so. Finding running lanes and getting Weisman free will be a challenge this week. MSU knows exactly what the game plan for the Hawks will be, and the likelihood of Iowa being able to dominate at the point of attack this week is low. This game is your classic “three yards and a cloud of dust” Big Ten game of years past, and the Iowa O-line is the most important factor in the Hawks getting the win. If they can get a good push, give the RB some lanes, and keep Jake upright then this game will go our way. If the MSU D-line dominates, then we’re in for a long day, pure and simple.
Gone are the days of MSU’s single back carrying the entire team, this year’s MSU offense has shown better balance between the rush and the pass game, but neither have really struck a lot of fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. MSU has struggled to find consistency in the passing game as well, as Connor Cook and Andrew Maxwell have exchanged playing time through their first four games, with Connor Cook the presumed starter for now. The Spartans run 5-6 deep at WR, and they pose a legitimate threat to the Hawkeye pass D, but if the QB’s can’t get them the ball then it should be a good day for the Hawkeye defense.
What Will Happen?
This is far and away the toughest test for the Hawkeye offense, and establishing the run game will make it much easier for Jake to work the play action pass to open things up for the passing attack. Jake will be crucial in this game, and for the Hawks to get the victory, he’s going to have to step up and lead the Hawkeye O. He’s your likely Man of the Match this week, and if he can come up with a performance like this, then Iowa gets the win 17-14.