What a long week waiting for this game. It's homecoming, a blackout, a night game, and it's against Michigan. I'm about to hit the road and make my trek to Kinnick. I'm pretty excited to say the least. If you are stuck at home today, sorry, but here's at least a little something to read while you are waiting.
The need to know:
What: #12 Iowa vs Michigan
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
When: 7:12 PM October 10, 2009
TV: ABC (National Coverage)
Michigan, like Iowa, has been plagued by injuries on offense. Starting center, David Molk, is out causing the offensive line to struggle in the past couple of games. Also, runningback Carlos Brown is likely out with a concussion sustained in practice this week. The other back, Brandon Minor has been battling an ankle sprain this year, but should be fine to start. Also, QB/"Anointed One" Tate Forcier hurt his shoulder a couple weeks ago against Indiana.
All that said, though, Michigan has a very potent offense. Watch out for the zone read in the run game and bubble screens in the pass game. Sash and Greenwood are going to have to tackle well especially against the bubble screen is Norm insists on having Hunter and Edds cover the slot receiver. Also, watch out for a set with Forcier and Robinson (the speedy backup QB)...they could have a lot of options out of that set.
The key will be to pressure and contain Forcier. He can beat you with his feet and makes amazing plays when he rolls out of the pocket. Hopefully this cold and snowy weather will hurt the Californian's performance. I'm sure he'll be feeling it the first time Clayborn or Binns gets a hit on him.
Michigan runs a hybrid 3-4/4-3 type defense where the outside linebacker plays on or off the line. The front 7 are pretty good and the rush defense is led by Brandon Graham. Obi Ezeh (awesome name by the way) is also pretty strong up front. However, if Michigan is content with only keeping those 7 in the box, Iowa should have some success running the ball.
The secondary of Michigan has been particularly bad. Donovan Warren, kind of like Spievey, has been a lock down corner, but the rest of the defensive backs have been bad. They are shuffling around a little this week as Troy Woolfolk (a safety) is moving to corner. The secondary plays pretty soft as well, so hopefully Stanzi can hit those short routes all day long.
THE SPECIAL TEAMS
This is probably the only week this year, were the opponent has better special teams than Iowa. Zoltan Mesko is a fantastic punter...probably better than Donahue (I know that's blasphemy). Their kicker has been a little bit more consistent than Murray this year going 5/6 on field goals (Murray is 6/9).
Iowa should have a slight advantage when on offense and on defense, but Michigan is very capable of the big play and has proven it can come from behind. If Iowa can establish the run, take advantage of the Wolveriene's somewhat suspect secondary, and contain Forcier, then Iowa should win by a couple of scores.