By Brendan Stiles
To get you all ready for Saturday’s game between Iowa and No. 23 Michigan, I put together a list of things you ought to know before these two face off at “The Big House.”
At the end, I’ll provide what I think are three keys to an Iowa victory.
Iowa Hawkeyes (4-6, 2-4) at No. 23 Michigan Wolverines (7-3, 5-1)
Michigan Stadium; Ann Arbor, Mich.
Nov. 17, 2012
11 a.m. Central
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese, Jenn Brown)
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, Rob Brooks)
Brendan’s Three Keys to the Game:
1. Force turnovers
As odd as it might sound, Iowa leads the Big Ten in turnover margin. The only way the Hawkeyes have any chance Saturday is if the defense forces Michigan turnovers and can set up short fields for the offense to work with. Iowa has scored defensive touchdowns each of the past two weeks and might need one again here in order to pull off what would be a major upset.
2. Win field position battle
One area Michigan has struggled this season is kickoff coverage. With that in mind, as well as the first key about creating turnovers, field position is critical. If Iowa can consistently start drives at its own 30, 35, 40 or further down field, the Hawkeyes can at the very least keep this a close game and put themselves in position late. However, if Iowa’s consistently giving Michigan better field position to work with, the Wolverines are going to be able to frequently come away with points barring turnovers.
3. Avoid giving up big plays
It really doesn’t matter who’s playing quarterback for Michigan because its offense is all about making big plays down field. Defensively, Iowa can’t let this happen. The Hawkeyes have to tackle a lot better than they have the last few weeks, otherwise the Wolverines are more than capable of turning big plays into points and making this game a rout.