We've got a classic Big Ten rivalry game on tap in Week 13 when the Michigan Wolverines take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Expectations were high for Michigan entering the season. Many expected the Wolverines to challenge Ohio State for the conference title, but this team has already suffered three losses this year (all of which were against Big Ten teams) and enters the game in fourth place in the Legends half of the conference.
The Wolverines needed three overtime sessions this past weekend to knock off Northwestern and have lost three of their last five games—hardly the kind of finish most people expected.
Iowa has also lost three of its last five games and is tied with Michigan with a 3-3 record in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes hung tough against Michigan State and Ohio State, however, and should provide a stiff challenge for the Wolverines at home this Saturday.
Here's a look at when and where to catch the action for this contest, along with injury reports for both teams.
When: Saturday, Nov. 23 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Watch: Big Ten Network
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 47.5 points
- Spread: Iowa (-6)
Michigan Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Ondre Pipkins||DT||Out for season - Knee - 11/2/13|
|Drake Johnson||RB||Out for season - Knee - 9/3/13|
|Russell Bellomy||QB||Out for season - Knee - 8/30/13|
|Will Hagerup||P||Out for season - Suspension - 8/30/13|
Iowa Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Dominic Alvis||DL||Ques Sat - Back - 11/17/13|
|Michael Malloy||RB||Ques Sat - Illness - 11/17/13|
Will Devin Gardner Turn Things Around?
It's safe to say the Devin Gardner hype machine has been stashed in a cold, dark place after his dismal 2013 campaign. He was touted as one of the nation's top playmakers before the season began, but Gardner's performance on the field this season quickly put that talk to rest early on.
For the season, Gardner has completed just 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His production on the ground has been notable (461 yards with 10 touchdowns), but he's only averaging 3.2 yards per carry.
As a result of Gardner's mediocrity, Michigan's offense has languished: The Wolverines rank No. 52 in the nation in passing yards, No. 95 in rushing yards and No. 40 in scoring.
Iowa will challenge Gardner and Michigan this weekend.
The Hawkeyes have only allowed 18.7 points per game this season (No. 12 in the nation) and rank No. 9 in total defense, allowing just 319.2 total yards per game.
Michigan has put together a few underwhelming performances this year, and this team isn't carrying much positive momentum into the game.
Iowa's rushing attack will control the clock and keep Gardner and his offense off the field, and when the Wolverines have the ball, the Hawkeyes have the personnel to shut them down—both in the running and passing games.
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock is coming off a big game last weekend in which he threw two touchdowns and zero interceptions to lead his team in a big win over Purdue. He also performed well against Ohio State earlier this year, and he'll have another strong outing this weekend to complement his running backs.
It's going to be a close game that comes down to execution in the fourth quarter, and the home team will find a way to get the job done.
Iowa wins 28-21.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78