Both teams come into this Big 10 opener with a chip on their shoulder after losing this past weekend. For the Iowa Hawkeyes, they lost on a last second play to end the game. For the Spartans, they suffered a beat down by Notre Dame and look to rebound at home against Iowa. Kickoff inside of Spartan Stadium is at 4 P.M. ET.
The Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1) almost pulled off the upset victory against Penn State last weekend. Unfortunately, they gave up the winning touchdown as time expired, and PSU got the hard fought win. For the Hawkeyes, they need to bounce back and get this tough victory in East Lansing, Michigan. This will be a true test for the Hawkeyes: can they bounce back and play with the same intensity on the road as they did against PSU?
For Michigan State (2-1), they suffered a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Fighting Irish at home 38-18. They were dominated in every aspect of the game. They need to turn things around quickly and pull out this victory against a tough Iowa team.
The spread opened with Michigan State favored by 2 points. It has since gone up to 3.5 points.
In the last 10 meetings, the teams have spilt the series at 5 wins apiece. Over that span, Iowa has outscored the Spartans 21.4 to 19.3. MSU has taken the last two meetings and you can bet that Iowa has revenge on their minds. In fact, I would expect these Hawkeyes to be in a nasty mood after last week’s loss.
For Iowa, they need to keep pace with Wisconsin in the Big 10 West division. Right now, the Badgers look like the team to beat, but you can’t sleep on Minnesota either. If the Hawkeyes want to be taken seriously, then they need to get the “W” this week.
In order for the Hawkeyes to win this game, they need their defense to play as well as they did last week against PSU. They ran an effective bend, but don’t break defense and held the mighty PSU offense to just 21 points. Iowa does have the players to be a suffocating defense, which they can do to Michigan State this week. But, the Spartans do have a potent offense that’s averaging 472 total yards per game and 27 points per game. So, Iowa’s defense will be in for another battle.
MSU is turnover prone, which was evident in their loss last week to Notre Dame. The Spartans outgained the Irish in total yards, but their 3 turnovers led to Notre Dame winning the game. Iowa has an opportunistic defense that can get after MSU’s Brian Lewerke who not only is their top quarterback, but also leads the team in rushing yards.
For the Hawkeyes offense, they need to rely on running back Akrum Wadley who has 338 rushing yards, 227 receiving yards and a combined 4 Td’s on the season. Wadley was instrumental in the Hawkeyes almost defeating PSU last week. Quarterback Nathan Stanley has an excellent 12 Td’s to 1 interception ratio and he’s proven that he can make big plays when needed. I expect the duo of Wadley and Stanley to lead the Hawkeyes to victory this week against a solid Spartans defense.
Iowa is 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games against MSU. They’re 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games at the Spartans. MSU is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games when favored by 3.5 points to 10 points. They’re also 1-4 ATS when a home favorite of 3.5 points to 7 points.
This game should be a hard fought battle against two solid defenses. Don’t let Iowa’s defensive numbers fool you. If you saw their performance against PSU last week, you know that they’re legit. I expect Iowa to focus on containing Lewerke and making MSU beat them another way. Unfortunately for the Spartans, I don’t see it happening. Iowa will unleash Wadley on MSU this week and Stanley will pick apart the defense after they’ve been softened up by Wadley. Not only do I see Iowa covering the spread, but I see them winning this game outright 17-14.