Friday, October 15, 2010

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Iowa

It's 6:00 AM Saturday morning and we are on the road from Kansas City to Iowa City. Two Michigan fans and two Iowa fans. Both sides brimming with excitement and confidence.

The Hawkeyes are just two weeks removed from dominating #9 Penn State on the road which easily erased the double blocked-kick win against Northern Iowa in the opening game of the season. They are 5-0 and winning in dramatic fashion.

The Wolverines are giddy with joy. We finally had a quarterback that could run the vaunted Spread-n-Shred after suffering through the SheriThreet year. We've eclipsed the win total from 2008 and barely lost to Michigan State in overtime for our first loss of the season, sitting at 4-1. Michigan football was back!

It was a night game. Prime time. Michigan was going to get over the hump. 2008 was behind us.

But it was also the middle of October in Iowa. At night. And they were breaking record lows. It was cold. I mean cold!
The temperature was nothing compared to the chill we left the stadium with. Standing in the aisle of the end zone, watching Tony Moeaki run through the secondary and being avoided like he had the Monkey virus from Outbreak, we went on a roller coaster ride. We're up. We're down. We're up. And eventually we stopped. We came up just short, falling 28-30, as Denard was a check down away from taking us on a game-winning drive.

Will this year be any different? Who knows. Last year, Denard averaged 5.4 yards/rush to a team that gave up only 3.49 and hit on 3/4 passes. With the improvement to the offensive line and Denard's increased passing ability, any thing is possible. But the defense. Yeah, but could it be worse than last year's "let's-show-the-NFL-how-awesome-Tony Moeaki-is" show? Maybe. Let's hope not.

On with the Keys:

Offense
Don't turn the ball over. We can't win if we lose the turn over battle. Plain and simple. Had we not had two picks in the end zone against State, its a different game. The good news is we've seen Denard learn and adapt, so I'm confident he doesn't have a repeat performance.

Defense
Find some pride. I talked earlier this week about heart and I think it applies here. Brian did a great job breaking down the play of the back side DE, that's all about effort man. And that's what I'm talking about. You know what the hell you're doing, now just focus and do it. Just play hard.

Special teams
Hangerup is settling nicely. Kick offs and field goals, I don't know. I like the "Don't be a factor in the game" key we'll stick with that.

Prediction
Hey THE KNOWLEDGE says we're gonna win, so who am I to argue?

Enough already and give me some previews. Previews:

At MGoBlog, Brian has nukes, kittens and special teams outlooks, oh my.

GoBlueMichiganWolverine gives us a snapshot of Iowa and their game predictions which spell doom for...

In Rod We Trust gives us some classic literature as we ponder the game.

Maize and Blue Nation has stuff and gives us three keys to success.

Maize and Go Blue hopes his prediction is like is Notre Dame prediction.

The Wolverine Blog again gives us their fun with numbers look.

UMGoBlog thinks the game comes down to defense and that is nerve-racking.

Beauford at Maize n Brew asks who really is the Iowa Defense and is punished by the dreaded "Fall Wedding" for his prediction.

The Big House Blog isn't sure about the game but knows that Iowa's defense is good.

I love that the M Zone gives me info I can give to my Hawkeye buddies. It makes me smile.

Burgeoning Wolverine Star is new to the preview list, and sees a MSU repeat.

Touch the Banner is also fresh on the list and sees turn overs man in an abbreviated preview.

And in true WLA style: The Iowa Roundtable.

The Mathlete of MGoBlog fame share's his wizardry and predicts a squeaker.

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