#14 Iowa at #19 Michigan
When: Saturday, October 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI
The Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan in a battle of Big Ten hopefuls. Iowa comes in at 4-0 and tied for the top spot in the Big Ten West. Michigan sits at 3-1 with a brutal loss to Wisconsin already on their record. Another loss for the Wolverines will put the final nail in their College Football Playoff coffin. A win over a tough Iowa team could put Michigan back in the hunt.
Iowa knows how to produce offensive linemen. This season, the Hawkeyes might have the two best offensive tackles in America. Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson are phenomenal prospects on the edge with bright NFL futures.
Wirfs is a powerful, downhill blocker with a ton of strength in the run game. Jackson has missed a lot of time in 2019 and may not suit up for this game. If so, expect to see a powerful athlete with superb technique on the outside. Jackson has great hands and a strong frame, keeping rushers at bay with relative ease.
Defensive end A.J. Epenesa is still one of the nation’s top edge-rushers. His strong 2018 season carried high expectations into 2019, but his numbers are down.
He posted 10.5 sacks and 16.5 TFL as a sophomore. Now, opposing offensive lines are focusing on him. He only has one sack in four games this season. Can he turn things around and wreak havoc on the Michigan offense or will the Wolverines take him out of the game?
The Michigan passing attack has a ton of potential. Nico Collins is averaging 20.6 yards per reception, but he has not seen a ton of targets. Tarik Black is averaging 15.9 yards himself. Sophomore breakout Ronnie Bell has been the biggest surprise on the offense. Bell has 17 catches for 263 yards, but he has yet to reach the end zone.
Expect the defense to do all they can to avoid another embarrassment after the blowout loss to Wisconsin. Getting pressure on Nathan Stanley will be difficult, but Stanley’s arm is nothing to worry about.
If Michigan can stop the run, they will be in prime position to take control of the game. Linebacker Khaleke Hudson has to step up and blow up run plays early and often. Cornerback Lavert Hill is one of the premier talents in the country. He will be a 2020 draft pick – and a high one at that.