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Scouting Report and Prediction: Michigan State vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes

Scouting Report and Prediction: Michigan State vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes

A look at this week’s opponent…

The Iowa Hawkeyes lost a lot of talent, but at 6-3 (2-2) they are a dangerous team that is well coached and plays with toughness. The Spartans haven’t won in Iowa City since 1989 and this won’t be easy.

When MSU has the ball…

Beating the Hawkeyes isn’t a sure thing, but it also won’t be brain surgery. They excel when they are able to make teams one-dimensional. The key to this game is to run the ball and pass with the ball (balance) and make them guess when you will do each. If they are loading the box early to stop the run, then look for play action passes to force them out of the box.

If you get into third and long they can then back off. Their defense is not as good as it has been in the past, but it isn’t bad. They are giving up nearly 400 yards per game.

The key is simple. Use the middle in passing situations and simply run the ball. The scheme and the concept make this a game that you run Bell thirty plus times. Just avoid turnovers and when you have to, use your weapon Mike Sadler to boot the ball away.

I could write paragraph upon paragraph of hyperbole to impress you, but this isn’t nuclear physics. It is tough, hard-nosed football and the Spartans know that the game plan is simple.

When MSU is on defense…

This is real easy. The Hawkeyes are averaging nearly 400 yards of offense. This is a team that relies heavily on the O. Unlike the past where their talent was manage the game and let your D win it.

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MSU needs to stop the run. Their QB is talented, but not mobile. He will be back there and they have yet to face a DB group as good as MSU. If the Spartans stop the run and get pressure he will make mistakes.

If their QB has time he can pick MSU apart. The secret is stop the run and pressure. If MSU can do that all is well. Look for the Spartans to attack the QB who will stand like a statue and the key is pressure. If MSU gets it, game-set-match.


MSU hasn’t won in Iowa City since 1989. Who cares? They are coming into this game with a fifth year, third year starting QB. They have weapons and tools and with Iowa down, if not now then when?

I look for MSU to keep the game simple. Avoid turnovers stay balanced on offense.  Attack on D to stop the run and force them to the air. Their QB is susceptible to off blitzes and varying pressure and Narduzzi will punish him. Gholston and Rush should have a field day.

Mike Sadler is a difference maker with punting even with the kicking game struggling. I expect a tough bruising battle, but when the day is over both teams and fans to walk away saying that was a classic B1G type battle.

I love going to games in Iowa. Great stadium, great fans and a super environment make this place special. Iowa City is the most difficult place to play in the B1G in my opinion.


If not now then when? MSU is on a mission. They didn’t play well against the Gophers and as bad as practice was last week, it is as far in the other direction good this week. The Spartans take a pro playoff approach and take care of business in what should be a brutal, hard-hitting football game.

Make it MSU 21 and Iowa 20.