Matt and Zac Snyder of Bleacher Report and mittensportsreport.com break down this week's University of Michigan football matchup.
When Michigan Has the Ball...
Michigan's Passing Attack vs. Iowa's Secondary
Zac says: The Michigan passing game stopped itself with dropped passes early in the game last weekend. Tate Forcier moved the ball through the air with authority once those catches were secured.
Forcier showed he won't be intimidated by a hostile crowd, so don't expect the crowd at Kinnick to get to him this Saturday.
The play of the Michigan receivers has been inconsistent, a pattern they will need to reverse against the Iowa secondary, which leads the Big Ten with 10 interceptions on the year. Sophomore Tyler Sash leads the team with five interceptions. Advantage: Even
Matt says: Tate Forcier will need to be more of a game manager against Iowa. He's gotten himself in trouble at times trying to make plays but not being able to escape the grasp of a lineman.
Michigan will need to get the backs and slot receivers involved with screen passes in order to open up the field for a big play.
It won't be easy for Tate this week; the Iowa defense will be licking their chops to get after the freshman QB, and the crowd should plenty of support for the Hawkeyes. Advantage: Iowa
Michigan's Running game vs. Iowa's Front Seven
Zac says: Michigan had a hard time establishing the run against the Spartans. As long as that was a result of an amped-up defense in a rivalry game and not a sign of future problems, then the Wolverines will be just fine.
Their performance allowed Wisconsin to take over the top spot among Big Ten ground attacks, but Wolverine runners had put Michigan among the top ten rushing teams in the nation.
Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor will be a formidable duo for Iowa's middle-of-the-pack defense. Advantage: Michigan
Matt says: The word out of Ann Arbor is that Brandon Minor is healthier than he's been all season. The Wolverines need to get back to running the football with the dominance they showed early in the season if they hope to have success in Big Ten play.
I think the U-M coaching staff will make a concerted effort to get the ground game going. Let's hope last week was an aberration. Advantage: Michigan
When Iowa Has the Ball...
Iowa's Passing Attack vs. Michigan's Secondary
Zac says: The Michigan pass defense has been a disappointment so far. Boubacar Cissoko and J.T. Floyd have rotated in and out as neither has stepped up to take control of the job opposite Donovan Warren.
Iowa has spread the ball around this season with four receivers catching between 11 and 15 passes.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has explosive playmaking ability but has only scored once in 2009. Iowa's offense is more of the run-first mentality and doesn't generally put up big numbers through the air. Advantage: Even
Matt says: Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi has been prone to interceptions so far this season, but Michigan's secondary has been unable to put up much resistance.
The winner of this matchup will be the one that makes the fewest mistakes. Both the sides should give the opponent opportunities for big plays. Advantage: Even
Iowa's Running Game vs. Michigan's Front Seven
Zac says: Iowa's losses of Shonn Green to the NFL and Jewel Hampton to a season-ending injury have left them a little short at running back. That being said, Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher have stepped up and each averaged over 4.5 yards per carry.
The last time out was a challenge against Arkansas State as neither runner was able to top 50 yards. Michigan's run defense will be good enough if they can avoid giving up big chunks at a time. Advantage: Even
Matt says: Michigan actually did a nice job against the MSU running backs last week, but the 75 yards that they allowed to quarterback Kirk Cousins was not acceptable.
The Wolverine defensive line will need to do a better job of keeping contain to bottle the runners up. The Wolverine linebackers will need to do a better job in helping out the three-man front. Advantage: Even
Zac (4-1) says: The Iowa crowd may be even more rowdy than the fans in East Lansing last Saturday. A night game under the lights at Kinnick Stadium makes for one of the most difficult places to play in college football.
Michigan has something to prove following their disappointing play against Michigan State. Iowa had problems defending the way Arkansas State spread the field and needed a blocked kick to get by Northern Iowa, yet beat then No. 5-ranked Penn State in Happy Valley. Each team has something to prove, you can flip a coin on this one. Final Score: Michigan 27, Iowa 21
Matt (3-2) says: Michigan needs to put pressure on Stanzi to force him into making mistakes. The secondary just isn't strong enough to allow the quarterback to sit in the pocket long enough to find the open man.
On offense, the Wolverines need to establish the run early and take the crowd out of the game. This will be a difficult test for the Wolverines; a win would set a good tone for the rest of the season. Final Score: Michigan 35, Iowa 24