Iowa Hawkeyes (-1) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers
Both teams have their season riding on this game. It’s a crucial game for both teams to get back on track after suffering a loss a week ago. With neither team significantly better than the other this season, it’s tough to understand why Iowa is a one-point favorite on the road.
The Hawkeyes are coming into this game following their best offensive showing since week one. They scored 31 points, rushed for three touchdowns and C.J. Beathard threw for 204 yards and a score. It wasn’t pretty, however Desmond King set them up in the return game and Iowa managed to get into the end zone, something they’ve struggled with.
That being said, it was the first time Iowa has given up more than 30 points in a single game this season. After a bend but don’t break mentality the past couple of weeks, Iowa’s defense couldn’t bend anymore and broke badly.
They now take on a rushing attack who is averaging five yards per carry. After struggling with an athletic quarterback against Easton Stick earlier in the year, Iowa will need to be much better against Mitch Leidner. Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks will get the majority of the carries, however Minnesota would rather use Leidner’s legs than let him air it out.
Defensively, the Gophers rank outside the top-50 in points allowed per game. They’ve allowed at least 20 points in every game this season, even Indiana State burned them for 28 points. The Hawkeyes should be able to score, however that’s what everyone thought when they played Rutgers.
If Minnesota punches a hole through the heart of the defense like North Dakota State and Rutgers did, Iowa won’t leave Minneapolis with a victory. The Hawkeyes can bounce back this week, but they have to get off to a fast start.
Prediction: Minnesota 28 Iowa 20