Saturday, November 17, 2012

Preview: Michigan vs. Iowa

Rush Offense vs. Iowa Rush Defense

Michigan's rushing offense has dropped off as Denard Robinson has missed the last 2.5 games due to injury; now the Wolverines are #35 in rushing with 194 yards/game after rushing 32 times for 133 yards against Northwestern last week.  Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has had two of his most productive games the last couple weeks with 70 and 92 yards, respectively, along with a 28-yard TD reception against the Wildcats.  Iowa, meanwhile, has the #60 rushing defense and gives up 155 yards/game.  Last week the Hawkeyes gave up 211 yards on 44 carries to Purdue.  Defensive end Joe Gaglione (9) and linebacker James Morris (7) lead the team in tackles for loss; linebacker Anthony Hitchens is a tackling machine with 114 total. (By comparison, Michigan's leading tackler is Desmond Morgan with 69.)  Michigan seems to be improving slightly at running the ball, but Iowa always seems to defend the run well; I also don't expect Robinson to play on Saturday, so that's a huge negative for Michigan's hopes of running the ball.
Advantage: Iowa

Pass Offense vs. Iowa Pass Defense
The Wolverines have improved at passing the ball over the last couple weeks, as backup quarterback Devin Gardner has thrown for 234 and 286 yards, respectively.  Wide receiver Roy Roundtree, in particular, has stepped it up with 7 receptions for 203 yards.  Even so, Michigan is just tied for #98 nationally with 189 yards/game through the air.  Iowa stands at #50 and gives up 226 yards/game and is #59 in pass efficiency defense, so they're perfectly mediocre.  They have just 11 sacks to rank #111 nationally, with the leading sacker being Gaglione.  The Hawkeyes have 9 interceptions, none of which have come from their supposed best cornerback, Micah Hyde.  Typically, they play a Cover Two defense, so Gardner's ability to throw corner routes and hit short timing passes will be critical, but Iowa is a scary team to play for an inexperienced quarterback.
Advantage: Iowa

Rush Defense vs. Iowa Rush Offense
The Wolverines are #59 in rush defense, but they hold up fairly well against straight-ahead, power running teams like Iowa.  Teams that give Michigan trouble are option teams like Air Force and Northwestern, but Iowa doesn't have the athleticism at quarterback or overall speed to give the Wolverines issues on the edge. Leading rusher Mark Weisman has missed the past two games, and Damon Bullock has run 48 times for just 144 yards (3.0 yards/carry) against Indiana and Purdue in those weeks.  Overall, Iowa is #98 in the country with just 124 yards/game rushing.  Iowa typically has a road grader or two on the offensive line, but that position group is weak and injured this season.  Weakside linebacker Desmond Morgan and middle linebacker Kenny Demens have been making more plays since defensive tackles Quinton Washington and Will Campbell have stepped up their games.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Defense vs. Iowa Pass Offense
Michigan has the #1 pass defense in the country and the #21 pass efficiency defense in the country, so they do well numbers-wise, though they haven't played many good passing attacks.  Meanwhile, Iowa throws for 198 yards/game, good enough for #94 in the nation.  Receivers Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley have eerily similar numbers (46 receptions, 560 yards for the former; 47 receptions, 545 yards for the latter), but they have combined for just three touchdowns.  Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has 31 receptions but only averages about 9.0 yards/catch.  Michigan really struggles to get to the quarterback and ranks #100 in the country with just 1.3 sacks/game.  Leading sacker Craig Roh has 4 total sacks, and linebacker Jake Ryan has 3.5 takedowns.  The Wolverines don't have any great coverage defensive backs, but they play fairly well together and the linebackers do a solid job in coverage.  Michigan is vulnerable deep, but they've been lucky because their opponents haven't been able to hit those deep passes.
Advantage: Michigan

Roster Notes
  • Michigan recruited DT Darian Cooper, OT Andrew Donnal, DT Faith Ekakitie, RB Greg Garmon, TE Ray Hamilton, OL Jaleel Johnson, OG Jordan Walsh, and QB John Wienke
  • Wienke was at one time committed to play for Michigan
  • Other players from Michigan include Canton (MI) Canton CB Kevin Buford, Utica (MI) Stevenson OG Carl Davis, Troy (MI) Athens TE Jake Duzey, Detroit (MI) Cass Tech S Ruben Lile, Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, Detroit (MI) Cass Tech LB Laron Taylor
  • LB Jim Poggi is the brother of 2013 commit Henry Poggi
  • Wide receivers coach Erik Campbell is a former player and coach at Michigan
  • Gardner starts but has his worst game as a passer
  • James Vandenberg hits a couple of those deep passes that those other teams' quarterbacks have been missing
  • The whole stadium blubbers uncontrollably when Denard walks off the field for the last time
  • Michigan 21, Iowa 14

A Look Back . . . 


  1. Did that photo come from an Iowa recruiting visit? :) It might help explain the handful of 4-star recruits they get.

  2. How does Michigan have the #1 and #21 pass defense nationally?

    1. Sorry, it's the #21 pass efficiency defense. Fixed. Thanks.

  3. I'd give the passing offense vs. Iowa's defense advantage to Michigan. Iowa's defense isn't very good. They got royally shredded by Robert Marve last weekend. Iowa got outgained by Purdue by over 200 yards, in fact. I'll be both surprised and disappointed if we only win this one by 7 points.

  4. What a horseit non-call to end that Iowa game. Watching those highlights reminded me how frustrating that loss was. The ones the last couple years before that were tough to take as well.

    It's tough to get over how Iowa has beaten us the last few years but that's a program that is really down. I don't think Vegas is too far off in thinking this is a blowout.

    Don't get the negativity towards Denard and Devin, but it's not the first time.

    Devin's going to have another good game because Devin is good. I have great respect for Iowa's defensive coaching and the system they run there, but this is a team that's really down and out. They MIGHT put up a fight, on the road, but Michigan is at a talent advantage here and I don't expect them to beat themselves with bad turnovers like they have the last few years...and I don't expect the woeful LB play that has also been there. Morgan is better this year, and if he isn't there are alternatives. Iowa's not going to score 20+ points tomorrow.

    Michigan 34 Iowa 13

  5. Second girl from the left = wow.