By Brendan Stiles
To get you all ready for Saturday’s game between Iowa and Central Michigan, I put together a list of things you ought to know before heading to Kinnick Stadium.
At the end, I’ll provide what I think are three keys to an Iowa victory.
Iowa Hawkeyes (2-1) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (1-1)
Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa
Sept. 22, 2012
11 a.m. Central
TV: BTN (Kevin Kugler, Danan Hughes, Tom Helmer)
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, Rob Brooks)
Weather: 51 degrees; sun; wind from NW
Brendan’s Three Keys to the Game:
1. Offensive patience
While Central Michigan’s 4-2-5 defense might be unique in terms of the Iowa offense’s preparation for Saturday, the Chippewas have only recorded a total of two sacks in two games. As long as the offensive line does its job in pass protection, quarterback James Vandenberg should have enough time in the pocket to hit passes downfield. If the Hawkeyes are patient enough, the passing game should be at its best and that’s going to open up the run game should Iowa build enough a lead early on.
2. Keep Chippewas’ ground game in check
Central Michigan enters Saturday’s game with (statistically speaking) the worst passing offense in the MAC and one of the worst passing offenses nationally. In other words, expect the Chippewas to come in wanting to ground and pound. If Iowa manages to keep the run game in check and make Central Michigan one-dimensional, there will be opportunities for the Hawkeye defense to cause turnovers Saturday afternoon.
3. Early statement
This is the closest thing to a sure win on the Hawkeyes’ schedule, so all three phases will need to set the tone early on if Iowa is going to win as handily as many on the outside expect. Not to mention that with Central Michigan coming off a bye week and playing its first road game of the season, some rust and maybe even a few jitters will come into play early on. As long as the Hawkeyes step on the Chippewas’ throat from the get-go, they should be fine. If Iowa allows a team like Central Michigan to hang with it deep into the second half though, that could be a troubling sign for the team moving forward into Big Ten play next week.