The Iowa Hawkeyes and Stanford Cardinal are getting ready to take the field for the 2016 Rose Bowl. Which players will have an impact for each team?
Iowa and Stanford come into this game looking like teams that are very similar. Both of them like to pound the rock between the tackles and play tough, hard nosed football. While they are similar, they are also very different.
Stanford averages about five more points per game than Iowa, but the Iowa defense gives up about four less points per game. The Cardinal give up about 146 yards rushing to their opponents, or around 4.6 yards per carry whereas Iowa gives up 114.9 yards per game rushing to their opponents, or just 3.4 yards per carry.
With Christian McCaffrey suiting up for the Cardinal, it gives them one of the most dynamic play makers in the country. The Heisman Finalist led the team in rushing, receiving, and receptions. Coach David Shaw does a great job at setting McCaffrey up for success. With a very solid offensive line to run behind, McCaffrey consistently finds himself out in space and that is when he’s most dangerous.
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McCaffrey rushed 319 times for 1,847 yards, and 8 TD’s. He also caught 41 passes for 540 yards, and 4 TD’s. Iowa has to slow down McCaffrey if they want to find success in this game. They’ve had about a month to prepare for him, but he’s such a great talent that I think you need to see if first hand before you’re actually ready for it.
Unlike Stanford, Iowa goes with a host of playmakers. They’ve rode Jordan Canzeri, Leshun Daniels, and their quarterback, C.J. Beathard, throughout the season. They’ve found success pounding the ball between the tackles, chewing up clock, and taking the ball away. They’ll have a host of healthy running backs when they take the field today.
For Stanford, it’s Kevin Hogan. He reminds a little bit of Beathard in the sense that he is a good game manager. Hogan gives his team a chance to win every time out by not turning the ball over and getting it into the hands of the right guys. Hogan completes 69% of his passes and threw for 24 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. If Hogan plays well, Stanford probably wins.
For Iowa, it’s Tevaun Smith. Smith is a nice compliment to a solid running game. He has the ability to stretch the field and Beathard has the arm to get it to him. We saw it in the Big Ten Championship game when C.J. and Smith hooked up for an 85 yard touchdown pass. If Iowa can stretch the field, it keeps the safeties back and opens up the run game more.
The Iowa defense is able to slow down McCaffrey and force Stanford to use other playmakers, while Jordan Canzeri comes back with a chip on his shoulder and gashes the Stanford D for 100+ yards on the ground.
Iowa 27 – Stanford 20
Beathard doesn’t turn the ball over and remains efficient as he leads his Hawkeyes to victory. This earns him Rose Bowl MVP honors.
Iowa and Stanford kick of at 4:00 p.m. CT inside the Rose Bowl.
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