No. 5 – Iowa Hawkeyes 3-2 (1-1)
Last Week: 3
At some point it’s no longer an overreaction. The Iowa Hawkeyes simply aren’t a good football team this year and they’ve shown nothing to discourage that statement over the past couple of weeks. Their what seemed to be a North Dakota State loss-hangover has turned into reality for the Hawkeyes.
Their defensive line couldn’t take advantage of arguably the worst offensive line in the Big Ten this past week. Instead, Justin Jackson ran for 171 yards and a score, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Not to mention that Clayton Thorson and Austin Carr connected for three touchdowns, as well. Northwestern came into the game failing to score more than 25 points in a single game this season, but put up 38 against what seemed to be a stifling defense coming into the year.
Offensively, Riley McCarron had a career-night this past week, stepping up for the injured Matt VandeBerg. Still, it was evident that C.J. Beathard missed his top option. The uncertainty also might have caused him to hang onto the ball too long at times and take a sack.
Although, their running game only managed to average 1.9 yards per carry. To make matters worse, LeShun Daniels Jr and Akrum Wadley only rushed for 107 yards on 31 carries — 3.5 yards per rush. With no VandeBerg, Iowa can’t afford to have no run game.
Iowa hasn’t been able to effectively stop the run all season and seem to keep getting worse every week. Maybe the North Dakota State loss messed with them and they’ve been unable to get back on track. Either way, the 2016 Iowa Hawkeyes are a lot worse than the 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes.
With no real identity on either side of the ball, it’s surprising that they opened this week as a 1.5 point favorite over Minnesota, despite the game being in Minneapolis. That being said, besides Purdue and Illinois, there aren’t any sure-thing wins this season. That is a very scary statement for a team with just three wins on the year.