Iowa vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview. The Hawkeyes try to bounce back with a win over the Golden Gophers on Saturday.
Iowa vs. Minnesota Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – Noon ET
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis.
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Iowa’s undefeated regular-season in 2015 seems like a distant memory. The Hawkeyes lost at home to Northwestern, 38-31, last week, dropping them to 3-2. They lost to FCS foe North Dakota State and barely left Rutgers with a victory two weeks ago. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said he was “disappointed we fell short” against the Wildcats, who entered that game averaging more than 20 points fewer than they scored against Iowa.
Minnesota’s first defeat came last week in a 29-26 overtime loss to Penn State as it finished with its fewest point of the season. Penalties again were an issue for the Golden Gophers, who finished with eight. They’ve had at least that many in each contest.
What to Know About Iowa
Iowa’s problems stopping the run continued last week. Northwestern ran for 198 yards, 61 more than it had during any of its first three games. The Hawkeyes are giving up 182.8 yards on the ground per game to rank 11th in the conference and more than 190 in each of their last three. That doesn’t bode well for a matchup with Minnesota, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten averaging 228.3 yards rushing per contest.
Iowa’s offense wasn’t that great either last week, finishing with fewer than 300 yards for the second time in three games. LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley continue to share the workload in the backfield and have combined for 10 rushing touchdowns.
What to Know About Minnesota
Rodney Smith has been the workhorse tailback and he’s going to see plenty of reps against the struggling Iowa run defense. He ran for 104 yards last week against Penn State and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry on the season with five touchdowns, with Saturday being the only time he hasn’t reached the end zone.
Minnesota’s run defense has been so-so and ranks near the middle of the pack in the Big Ten allowing an average of 123 yards on the ground per game. Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard hasn’t attempted more than 28 passes per game, so the Golden Gophers should expect to see plenty of Daniels and Wadley in this matchup.
Offense: Minnesota – Iowa ranks 13th in the conference in total offense.
Defense: Even – The Hawkeyes are giving up an average of 5.11 yards per play, while Minnesota is giving up 5.16.
Special Teams: Minnesota – Iowa opponents are returning punts an average of 15.7 yards, the second-highest amount in the Big Ten.
Coaching: Iowa – Ferentz has a leg up on Tracy Claeys.
Intangibles: Iowa – The Hawkeyes ran for 272 yards in last season’s 40-35 win.
Matchup To Watch
Running games vs. Running defenses
Both teams center their attacks on the ground, and both teams know it. The team with the most rushing yardage likely will come out on top, and Minnesota should have the advantage in that regard.
Spread: Iowa -1.5
Iowa vs. Minnesota Prediction
This is going to be a tight game that will take a long, grinding drive to finish it off. I’m going with Minnesota to kick a late field goal and get the home win.
Iowa vs. Minnesota final score prediction: Minnesota 27, Iowa 24