Preview: Michigan vs. Iowa

Preview: Michigan vs. Iowa


October 15, 2010
Iowa running back Adam Robinson averages 96 yards a game rushing.

I haven’t had time this week for a full preview, so this is going to be fairly brief.

Rush Offense vs. Iowa Rush Defense
Iowa has the #2 rush defense in the country.  Michigan has the #6 rush offense.  Something has to give.  I’ll bet that Michigan runs for more than 63.2 yards (Iowa’s average), but Denard Robinson won’t be getting 200 yards against the Hawkeyes.  I like Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan as a football player, but Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn is probably going to eat him alive.  Still, Iowa hasn’t played a team yet that has a great running game.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. Iowa Pass Defense
Iowa is #28 in pass defense (179 yards a game), but #10 in pass efficiency defense.  I have a feeling that Denard Robinson is going to continue struggling in the passing game this week, because Iowa should be able to get a pass rush and harass him.  If Iowa’s defense can corral him with their front four, then Iowa’s back seven should be able to confuse Robinson and force him into some turnovers.
Advantage: Iowa

Rush Defense vs. Iowa Rush Offense
Iowa running back Adam Robinson is averaging 96 yards a game.  His backups are somewhat meaningless, but the starter averages 4.9 yards per attempt and Michigan can’t stop the run very well.  The game won’t be won on the ground by Iowa, but they should be able to pick up some yards in chunks, especially if nose tackle Mike Martin’s sprained ankle slows him down.  Reports indicate that middle linebacker Kenny Demens might get significant playing time, so perhaps there’s some hope for improvement against the run.
Advantage: Iowa

Pass Defense vs. Iowa Pass Defense
I’ve never been very impressed with Ricky Stanzi, but he’s doing well so far this year.  He’s thrown 10 touchdowns compared to only 2 interceptions.  Meanwhile, Iowa has a couple big play receivers in Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (15.9 yards a catch) and Marvin McNutt (18.3).  Those could be killer combinations for a Wolverines secondary that ranks #119 in the country against the pass.
Advantage: Iowa

Final Predictions

  • Denard Robinson throws two interceptions but breaks a 60-yard run.
  • We see more of the backup running backs than we did last week.
  • Ricky Stanzi throws a stupid interception like the gimme he tossed to Donovan Warren last year.
  • Cameron Gordon gets beaten up the seam by a tight end.
  • Iowa 28, Michigan 24

11 comments

  1. Comments: 21395
    Alex
    Oct 15, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Do you think we'll see a similar performance out of Denard as last week or will it be the ability of the Iowa D (and not DR's mistakes) that force turnovers? Do you like Michigan's chances if Denard finds a way not to turn the ball over?

    Also could this be the game where our kick return game comes alive (considering what happened to Iowa vs. Zona)?

  2. Comments: 21395
    Oct 15, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    @ Alex

    I think Iowa's defense will force turnovers, whether it's tearing the ball out (I have questions about Denard's ball security) or luring him into throwing interceptions or just plain outworking our receivers for the ball. But if Michigan doesn't turn the ball over at all, then yeah, I like Michigan's chances.

    I'm done counting on Michigan's kick return game to make a big impact. Stonum has looked hesitation all year, and the blocking hasn't been there at all. I'd love for it to happen, but I'm not expecting it.

  3. Comments: 21395
    Anonymous
    Oct 15, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    I like your analysis. What would Michigan have to do to pull out a victory in this one?

  4. Comments: 21395
    Anonymous
    Oct 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    28-24 Iowa seems a bit optimistic to me, esp. given the ankle injuries to Molk and Martin. I suppose the official line will be that "they're fine" but I doubt that a true sprain is going to heal completely in one week. If we were likely to get more than workmanlike contributions from our RBs it would certainly help Denard, but I haven't seen anything from Shaw or Smith to give me much confidence that they can be true difference-makers. The coaches seem to have made the decision that Cox isn't worth playing, and who knows what their thinking is about Hopkins—he made the only two really physical runs against MSU by our RBs all game, and then he doesn't see the ball again. I don't think we've got much of a chance unless we are +2 or higher in turnovers. If the final margin is less than 10 I'll be surprised. — Don

  5. Comments: 21395
    Anonymous
    Oct 16, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    @anonymous
    throw lots of(successful) screens to slow down the iowa dline, for starters.

    -horn

  6. Comments: 21395
    Oct 16, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    @ Anonymous 5:25 p.m.

    If Michigan can win the turnover battle, I think they'll pull out the victory. Unfortunately, I think Iowa will force a couple interceptions and maybe a fumble or two…and Michigan's probably not going to force a bunch of turnovers.

  7. Comments: 21395
    Oct 16, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    @ Don

    I think you're the first person on this blog to ever call me "optimistic." LOL

  8. Comments: 21395
    Oct 16, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    @ horn

    I don't really think screens are the answer. Since Denard is such a strong runner, you don't really see defensive linemen getting upfield quickly to try to get to him – that opens too many running lanes. Bubble screens could work against Cover 2, but those don't really slow down the defensive line.

    I think they need to roll Denard Robinson out of the pocket, force the corner to make a choice, and Denard can either scramble or hit a receiver in the zone between the CB and the S. We need to hit some passes outside the numbers, because throwing in the middle of the field is difficult against this defense.

  9. Comments: 21395
    Anonymous
    Oct 16, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    good point on denard. sorry u guys lost =(. who do u have next week? good luck with neb in the future, their fans are classless. booing curtis williams after he goes down with an injury.

    -horn

  10. Comments: 21395
    Anonymous
    Oct 17, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    I'll admit to a tendency towards pessimism, but unfortunately I've been right much more frequently than not over the last three seasons. I predicted we'd be no better than 6-6 this season, and I haven't seen anything so far that leads me to think that's going to be off the mark. I would be much more surprised by 8-4 than 5-7. Those who are still thinking 9-3 or 10-2 are living in some maize-and-blue fantasy land. Our offense is OK, but not as potent in conference play as most were supposing after our non-conference schedule was done, and with our sieve-like defense and frequently horrid kicking game, a sixth win should not be regarded as a gimme. If we can't get it before the Wisconsin game, it ain't happening. — Don

  11. Comments: 21395
    Oct 17, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    @ Don 6:39 a.m.

    I still think Michigan will be better than 6-6. Michigan State and Iowa are both pretty good teams. I think Michigan has made them look better than they actually are, but we have a good chance against Penn State, Illinois, and Purdue. And I'm not going to count out a potential victory against Wisconson and/or Ohio State. Neither team is unbeatable.

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