After a strong start to the season and tallying a 2-0 record, the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes are headed out west for a prime time showdown with the No. 24 Arizona Wildcats in Tucson Saturday night. Most experts are claiming this match-up will be Iowa's first true test of the season.
Looking forward to this key early season matchup, I have simulated this game several times and a clear winner has emerged. Keep in mind, these are just computer simulations but should help you understand what to expect during Saturday night's big game.
Iowa's running game has been the key factor so far this season, with sophomore running back Adam Robinson picking up where he left off last season and finding the end zone four times.
The return of another sophomore in the form of Jewel Hampton who was out last season with injury, has already paid dividends with his debut against Iowa State where he rushed for 87 yards and scored a touchdown. My simulations indicate that Robinson will carry the ball around 16 times for 93 yards, with at least one touchdown to his credit, and his fellow running back Hampton carrying the ball 14 times for around 67 yards and just maybe one touchdown.
Arizona will prepare well for Iowa's explosive ground game and not allow as much production as weeks past, which will open the door for Iowa to do big things through the air on Saturday night.
Team favorite and quarterback Ricky Stanzi through two games has a passing efficiency of 183.59 so far this season with 29 completions for 41 attempts. He has thrown a cumulative 433 yards and has three touchdown passes to his credit. Expect more of the same or even higher numbers Saturday night for Stanzi as both teams look to put on an air show. Through my simulations, Stanzi averaged 22 completions for 37 attempts, throwing for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
The targets for Stanzi and Iowa's air show were widely spread, but based on the simulations, one receiver will find great success. This season's current reception leader, sophomore tight end Allen Reisner had a team-leading nine receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown. At least one touchdown for Reisner can be expected Saturday night.
Stanzi's familiar target of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, who so far this season has six receptions for 69 yards, will more than double those numbers Saturday night. As my simulations indicate, six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown is not out of the question.
When speaking of Iowa's wide receivers, you can't forget about junior Marvin McNutt. Although very effective thus far this season, McNutt's numbers will slightly sag. My simulations indicate that he will have around two receptions for 48 yards, but finding the end zone may be out of the question.
On the other side of the ball, expect Iowa's dominating defense to pick up where they left off at Kinnick Saturday afternoon, but with slightly less effectiveness. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn as based through my simulations, will have around seven tackles and at least two of them for a loss. Arizona's explosive and sometimes dangerous passing game will exploit a slightly weak cornerback in Micah Hyde.
Based on my simulations, Iowa will win against Arizona 38-28 and move to 3-0 for the season before returning to Kinnick Stadium to take on Ball State before Big Ten conference play begins.
This article is based solely on computer simulations and does NOT indicate or promise the final outcome of the game and it is not recommended to place wagers on based upon it.