Michigan Pass vs. Iowa Pass Defense
Slight Edge: Iowa
is averaging 220 yards through the air and almost two TD passes
per game. The concern is that his INT tendency is starting
to rear its ugly head. He has thrown five in five games, and
four have come against the weak secondaries of Oregon and
Indiana. Iowa has picked off more passes (seven) than TDs
allowed (four). The Hawkeyes keep nearly everything in front
of them and make you try and beat them in a footrace after
the catch. Not that the Wolverines don't have the capability
to do so, but they are much more adept at simply beating teams
over the top, straight up.
will be forced to use a lot of Chris Perry out of the backfield
and Massaquoi and Mignery from the TE position to produce
as well as distract. It would be wise to utilize this early
and play into Iowa's defensive game plan. This will draw in
the secondary to play closer and tighter to the line of scrimmage,
giving Michigan the potential to then hit 'em over the top.
the Hawkeyes need to bring pressure from the inside out on
Navarre. He is a better runner than people credit him for
if he has an inside lane, so forcing him to pivot and move
outside will slow him and give the reinforcements a chance
to move up and make the play.
a pretty nasty defense (17th in nation), and if Bob Sanders
is healthy, that makes them even better. This defense gave
up more yards than expected last week and will be challenged
all week to bounce back. Expect it to happen.
Iowa Pass vs. Michigan Pass Defense
Big Edge: Michigan
in ranking 108th in pass offense. Insult to injury is, well,
more injury. Mo Brown and Ed Hinkel are out and will miss
the clash with the Big Blue. Their absence has seen QB Nathan
Chandler subtly diminish in potency. Not that the Hawkeyes
were a big time passing presence, but the losses of their
two starting receivers certainly makes it like driving with
a bum wheel.
brings the nation's third best pass defense (fourth best pass
efficiency defense) into Iowa City. They have not allowed
a touchdown through the air yet this year, and look REALLY
GOOD to continue that streak against the Hawkeyes. U of M
has quick, aggressive corners and intelligent safeties in
the middle. Overlooked in this area, though, is their pass
rush. The Wolverines have a fierce front-four, and their LBs
are great at blitzing the quarterback. They may not have the
sacks you would expect, but reading between the lines will
show you that they put a good deal of pressure on opposing
QBs. Look out Chandler.
to be successful, they'll need to open up with quick, three
step drops. Michigan's pass rush is too quick, and Iowa's
O-line gave up five sacks to the Spartans last week. Quick-hitting
passes might make Michigan start to jump the routes. When
this happens, then Iowa can throw a pump so as to air it out
downfield, allowing their speedy receivers to run under it.
If the Hawkeyes couldn't muster a pass game against Michigan
State, though, dialing it up against the Wolverines looks
Michigan Run vs. Iowa Run Defense
Slight Edge: Michigan
Chris Perry has cooled off since the three-game ignition that
started his "campaign". Chalk part of it up to less
carries and more of a concentrated effort to seek balance
through increasing the passing game. The other part can be
attributed to opposing defenses (well, mainly Oregon) doing
a stalwart job in congesting any running lanes. He will be
looking for a breakout game to get back in the Heisman race.
If he can do so against this Hawkeye defense, you can put
him back in the Top 5.
cue Corso, "Not so fast my friend!" The Hawkeyes
are allowing only 84 yards on the ground per game (15th nationally),
though that stat may be a bit tainted. See, the Hawkeyes haven't
really faced a team that dedicates itself to running like
Michigan does, and certainly no one near the caliber of the
will make an absolute effort to methodically run the football.
They'll work on it all week, scheming against how Iowa will
assuredly bring seven and eight guys in the box. I expect
to see misdirection, trap plays, lead plays, and a carefully
plotted draw sprinkled in here and there. Michigan is gonna
say, "No fooling around. If you're gonna beat us, you're
gonna have to shut down our run game." They'll give Iowa
problems, forcing the Hawkeyes to bring eight (and maybe even
nine) up. Iowa is good, but not being battle-tested against
a good running team will give them some fits early on. I like
Perry to jump back into the minds of Heisman voters after
Iowa Run vs. Michigan Run Defense
was shut down in last year's tilt, so don't think he won't
be itching to run right at the Wolverines this time. He's
averaging 123 yards a game and almost six yards per touch.
His offensive line has done an adequate job of opening holes
and flattening potential tacklers. Then again, "Russ"
doesn't need much. He is great at making guys miss and deceptively
quick as he hits the hole - defenders usually have to be in
just the right position to get him.
have been just okay - 114 yards per game given up - at stopping
the run this year. Have they really faced any opposing run
teams? Not really. Notre Dame is about as close to being a
running team as you can get, and we have all seen the ill-achieved
productivity the Irish have shown on offense. Still, Michigan
has the athletes and tenacity to thwart the run game. They
do a good job of keeping the opposition in tight areas, delaying
progress and ultimately neutralizing ground gain. Michigan
will be ready; can we say the same for Iowa's line?
will need to keep Russell relatively fresh, especially for
use in the passing game, so look for them to give some "surprising"
carries to fullback Edgar Cervantes. They'll also require
productivity out of backup tailback Marcus Schnoor. The Hawkeyes'
zone blocking scheme will see its share of both successes
and failures against this Michigan defense. Michigan will
send some run blitzes to clog the middle and outside gaps,
defusing Russell's speed and agility. We'll see how well Iowa
counters this strategy in the second half. If Russell can
get it going in the third and fourth quarter, Iowa should
be on the greener side of the fence.
kicking units. Michigan has return units. The Hawkeyes have
been dangerous on special teams under Ferentz, and the Wolverines
have secured this area well under Carr. The elements will
cancel each other out, leaving it up to the field goal squads.
Obviously, Iowa is leaps and bounds ahead of Michigan here,
so the Wolverines will want to keep this game out of the fate
of any last-second PK needs.
Michigan in the mouth last year, and you can bet the wounds
have not yet healed. If you wanna see smash-mouth football,
keep your dial tuned to ABC and hide the remote. Both these
teams have an extreme sense of urgency.
was the catalyst in last year's embarrassment of the "Maize
and Blue". Nathan Chandler poses no similar threat, but
to beat this Wolverine team, the Hawkeyes are at sometime
going to need him to throw the ball effectively. Iowa turned
the ball over four times last week and could not overcome
an early deficit. Iowa plays best when they are ahead. Kirk
Ferentz has taught his teams to go for the jugular right away
and clamp on tight. When they get behind, they tend to scramble,
and not so well. The Hawkeyes must drive down and score on
the opening possession, something Michigan has not allowed
yet in 2003.
Michigan, they have to reestablish themselves as a dominant
running team. Iowa prides itself on defending the run, so
shaking up this identity will jolt the entire defense and
allow the Wolverines to control the game, accordingly. I think
Chris Perry gets back onto the fringe of the national spotlight
with a solid rushing performance against the Hawkeyes in Iowa
City, but will need to have his passing game come out and
spread the field.
the game is being played at Iowa City, the Wolverines have
been circling this rematch since last October, and the early
loss to Oregon has really put the rest of the season into
focus for this group. The lack of a perimeter/deep threat
for the Hawkeyes puts too much pressure on Russell and the
run game. This allows Michigan to work on this all week and
come prepared with a scheme that will predictably shut down
the Hawkeye ground attack. If Iowa wins, it will be because
Nathan Chandler proves himself as a Big Ten quarterback. I
don't see that happening this week.
you had your fun
this year, Michigan gets even and ruins
homecoming (with a trip to Ohio State next).
Chappy's Pick: Michigan 28 Iowa 13