(Featured image courtesy of Eric Upchurch)
It’s hard to think we only have three more games until the regular season is over. While I don’t want the season to end, we are coming down the stretch to the final games that will decide teams in the conference championship and College Football Playoff.
If someone told me 10 weeks ago Michigan would be a 21.5 point favorite at Iowa I’d say you are crazy. Michigan keeps winning in impressive fashion and for the most part winning big, plus three wins against the current top 12 teams in the College Football Playoff. Their offense may be the most surprise so far ranked 2nd nationally in total scoring at an average of 48 points per game. Everyone knew early in the season this defense would be solid and one of the best units in the country. The defense is first in points allowed at 10.7 per game, yards allowed at 246 and 138.9 pass yards per game.
This will a tough road game environment playing a struggling 5-4 Iowa team, but they will have a mindset of ruining Michigan’s undefeated season.
Overall Series Wins: Michigan 41-Iowa 14
Longest Win Streak: Michigan 11-Iowa 3
Largest Victory: Michigan 107-0 (1902), Iowa 26-0 (1984)
Offensive Points Per Game: Michigan 48 (2nd nationally)/Iowa 26.6
Offensive Yards Per Game: Michigan 497.4/Iowa 335.4
Defensive Yards Allowed Per Game: Michigan 246.3 (1st nationally)/Iowa 402
Three Things To Watch For
1. Will Wilton Speight and this offense get in a rhythm and score close to their average?
Speight is coming off one of the best first half performances in school history as a Michigan quarterback with 13/16 and 292 yards. His total of 19/24 and 362 yards earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors shared with Curtis Samuel at Ohio State. He is the highest rated passer in the conference and 14th nationally. This offense has featured 19 players to carry the ball. The 36 rush touchdowns is the most since 1986. The offense leads the Big Ten in four categories and is second in seven additional offensive statistics.
2. Where is Jabrill?
As a solid contender for the Heisman Trophy, Jabrill Peppers will be used on offense and I think more early in the first half to make big plays and be a decoy. He is averaging 14.7 yards per carry. Defenses always have to know where he is and know when he is in to pay attention. This past weekend against Maryland, we saw a trick play with Peppers throwing the ball back to Speight that went threw down field for a huge play. He will get kickoffs, punt returns and defense to give Iowa havoc to try to move the ball.
3. Will the defense step up on the road in a tough environment?
This defense is really good, and may be the best since the Lloyd Carr era. They are leading the nation in seven, yes seven, categories. We have not seen a dynamic player like Jabrill Peppers on defense since Charles Woodson. This defense has caused eight starting quarterbacks in nine games end their day early and not finish due to injury. Teams have also started quick early and found ways to score like Michigan State and Colorado. This will be a true road test outside the state of Michigan.
Staff Predictions- Michigan Wins
I took the question to Twitter about how many points Iowa will score based on the average points allowed by Michigan.
Fan Poll Friday: Michigan has allowed only 10.7 points per game. How many points will Iowa score?
— David Noe (@DavidRNoe) November 11, 2016
My prediction is that Iowa scores finding the end zone, but still struggles on offense in the second half. I see Michigan scoring early and keeping it up all night without taking their foot off the gas. Speight has a huge game to prepare for next test and Peppers gets two touchdowns with a few big plays. My final score Michigan winning 42-17.