IOWA CITY, Iowa. (KCRG) -
Game: #14 Iowa (4-0) at. #19 Michigan (3-1)
Kickoff: 11:05 a.m.
Venue: Michigan Stadium
Recent history has been kind for the Hawkeyes who have won the last two meetings and five of the last six against the Wolverines. However, Michigan holds a 41-15-4 advantage all-time in the series. When playing at Michigan, Iowa is 7-25-3 all-time with their last win coming in 2010.
Iowa Tidbits: Quarterback Nate Stanley has been on a tear to start the season, throwing for eight touchdown passes and no interceptions through the first four games. His 60 career touchdowns is third best in program history, one behind Drew Tate (61) and 14 behind Chuck Long (71). However, Stanley’s fortunes change when playing on the road against conference opponents. Stanley is 4-6 overall in conference road games with wins over Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.
Even though Michigan leads the all-time series against Iowa 41-15-4, since 2001 the programs have been nearly identical. Since 2001, the Hawkeyes have 152 total wins and five top 10 finishes nationally while the Wolverines have 151 wins and four top 10 finishes.
Iowa goes as the run game goes. The Hawkeyes have three running backs averaging over 50-yards rushing per game. Mekhi Sargent (74.8), Toren Young (62.8), and Tyler Goodson (50.5) are leading the way for the Hawkeyes who have the fourth best average in the BIG10.
Special teams is crucial in tight games and coming into the season Iowa had high expectations for that unit. Kick returned Ihmir Smith-Marsette has yet to get it going this season with an average return of 18.5 yards, 12th best in the BIG10. On punt returns Nico Ragaini has an average return of 8.4 yards which sits 8th best in the BIG10.
Keith Duncan will most likely enter the game as the most hated player on the Hawkeye roster in the eyes of Michigan fans. Back in 2016, Duncan was the hero kicking a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Hawkeyes to a 14-13 victory over the second-ranked Wolverines. Duncan has done his job so far this season, knocking home 10-11 field goal attempts and converting all 14 PATs.
A look at the opponent: #19 Michigan Saturday is homecoming for the Wolverines which normally bodes well for them as they’ve won 20 of the last 24 homecoming games. Two of those losses came from the Hawkeyes, 2002 & 2010.
Through four games, Iowa and Michigan have played two like-opponents. In week one, the Wolverines took down Middle Tennessee State 40-21. (Iowa def MTSU 48-3.) Last week, Michigan shut out Rutgers 52-0. (Iowa def Rutgers 30-0.) In their other two games, Michigan fought tooth and nail to defeat Army 24-21 in double-overtime, and then was pummeled by Wisconsin 35-14 the following week.
Like Iowa, Michigan rolls out with an experienced starter at quarterback in Shea Patterson. So far this season, Patterson has thrown for 905 total yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Patterson is joinged by seven other starters that returned on offense from last season.
The Wolverines stay balanced throwing the ball as five different receivers have over 90 yards receiving on the year. Ronnie Bell leads the way with 263, followed by Nico Collins (206) and Tarik Black (191). Donovan Peoples-Jones, perhaps their best receiver, missed the first two games of the season due to inury. In his first game back against Wisconsin, he caught a touchdown pass and then followed up catching four passes for 62 yards against Rutgers.
Michigan lots tons of talent on defense from last year and return only five starters. Through their first four games, they rank 13th in the BIG10 in rush defense allowing 168 yards a game but they top the rankings in the conference in pass defense allowing just 127.8 yards through the air per game.