Iowa Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
|Category||Iowa Offense||Minnesota Defense||Advantage|
|3rd Down Conversion||40.76||52||47.34||111||HHH|
|Red Zone %||84||48||80||44||-|
This is pretty close across the board and the story is pretty clear...both teams are not very good. Besides turnovers and 3rd down conversion, Iowa's offense and Minnesota's defense rankings are nearly the same....all ranking in the 70-90 range.
Iowa's running game has not been extremely effective this year, but Wegher and Robinson should both be playing this week (the tandem hasn't been together since Michigan State). Minnesota has given up lots of yards on the ground and Iowa's offensive line should be able to get a good push against the Gopher front 4.
The Gopher front 4 is not very good, and for the first time in a long time (maybe all season) there isn't really an elite defensive lineman that Iowa has to worry about. Minnesota does not get great pressure on the QB, which should mean good things for Vandenberg.
The one thing Iowa has to look out for (and that has doomed them in the losses) is turnovers. Minnesota has been able to stay close in games, despite their poor defense, by creating turnovers and Iowa has been all too cavalier with the ball.
Overall Advantage: Even (Maybe Iowa has a slight edge if the offensive line can play well)
Iowa Defense vs. Minnesota Offense
|Category||Iowa Defense||Minnesota Offense||Advantage|
|3rd Down Conversion||37.72||52||37.41||75||H|
|Red Zone %||88||99||8||26||MMM|
This is probably the most lopsided match up of the year. Minnesota's offense is just plain bad and Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country. It all starts along the line for both teams.
Minnesota's offensive line has been very poor this year. They are unable to create holes in the run game and give up over 3 sacks a game. When he has time, Weber has been okay at quarterback, but does not put up any numbers that would scare Iowa's stout pass defense.
Iowa's defensive line should be able to create all sorts of problems for Minnesota. The wildcat has worked okay against Iowa so I wouldn't be surprised if Gray gets a lot of touches in this game.
Minnesota has been good in the red zone, but it is not likely that they will see much time on Iowa's side of the field. If Minnesota is able to put up more than 10 points I would be very surprised.
Overall Advantage: Iowa by a large margin
Iowa Special Teams vs. Minnesota Special Teams
|Category||Iowa Special Teams||Minnesota Special Teams||Advantage|
|Field Goal %||69.6||61||78.6||36||MM|
Both teams do a very good job punting and covering punts. Iowa will need to watch out for the Minnesota punt return...though they've only returned 6 punts all year, they have been big returns.
I thought Murray would be an advantage last week and it turned out the OSU's backup kicker made the game winning field goal while Murray missed a 22-yarder. So this week I going with Minnesota having an advantage in the kicking game. Though I don't think Minnesota will get in field goal range a lot, and I think Iowa will be scoring touchdowns.
Overall Advantage: Minnesota...very slightly
Prediction: Iowa may not do a whole lot on offense this game, but it won't matter. The defense will completely shut down Minnesota to the point that a 24 point effort by the offense may look like a blowout.
Iowa 24 - Minnesota 3