Scouting Report and Prediction: MSU vs. Iowa

Hondo S. Carpenter

 

Can Captain Kirk Lead His Spartans to 9-0?  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.
Can Captain Kirk Lead His Spartans to 9-0? Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

A look at this week’s opponent…

The Hawkeyes are the second most talented team the Spartans have faced this season. They are very good and they are well coached. Because this game is in Iowa City, I think it is the most difficult game the Spartans have faced all season.

The Spartans haven’t won in Iowa City since 1989, but that is an overstated fact to me. This is not the Spartans of old, and that doesn’t intimidate this team.

When MSU has the ball…

The Spartans will face a defense that isn’t anything like they have faced the last two weeks. Illinois and Northwestern both stacked the box and forced the Spartans to the air. Iowa WILL NOT do that.

Iowa will dare MSU to try to beat their front seven. If the Spartans can run the ball, the Spartans will win. The Hawks understand how good the Spartans aerial attack is, and they will try to force the green and white to have to go to the air and they will be ready with seven defenders.

The MSU tackles have been very good in the running game, not as great in pass coverage. If Iowa is stopping the run without having to bring DBs into the box and if they are getting pressure with the front four, the game is over. The Hawks have the best front four in football and the Spartan OL will have its biggest test of the entire season no matter who the Spartans face in the bowl.

When MSU is on defense…

The Spartans will try to shut the Hawks rushing attack off. They get two DTs and of course, their future NFL CB Chris L. Rucker back and that should help of what was a slow starting D in Evanston last week.

MSU has to get a better attack from their front four and if they do, they will be in it. The Spartans showed last year (a better Iowa offense) that they can stop them and I expect them to have success.

Intangibles…

The Spartans lose this game if they make dumb mistakes and penalties. MSU can’t afford to go to Iowa City and have to beat the Hawks and themselves.

Dan Conroy finally missed a field goal. He had a terrible fall in the pre-game warm-up and that bothered him on the field goal he missed.

MSU needs to drop the hammer early and keep it down. They need to just take the bull by the horns and dominate this game. MSU needs to start fast. No slow start in Iowa City.

Coming into the season I thought MSU would lose this game. MSU has had several young players that are very talented play better than I thought they would this early. The Hawkeyes are not as good on offense or in the running attack as I thought they would be.  These things change my preseason prediction.

The Hawkeyes also have a beaten up LB group and that is another huge intangible.

Lastly, the return of the great Norm Parker, a Spartan and their DC is huge. Norm is loved in Iowa City and his return is as much of an impact as the return of Dantonio was for MSU.

Prediction…

MSU is on a roll. I give them the edge there. I also think that beat up Iowa LB group is huge and with the Hawks’ performance last week in special teams I give them another edge there.

Lastly, the Spartans have talked ever since the Hawkeyes win last year at the High Cathedral of the Spartan Nation Spartan Stadium about the loss. This is personal to them and they are motivated.

MSU feels disrespected and they know the only way to get it is to win. With a potential shot at a National Title and a Big Ten outright crown, I just don’t see Mark Dantonio’s guys not up for this heavyweight fight.

The Spartans win on Saturday and move to the top three in the polls on Sunday. Make it 24-21. 

 

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