Iowa Hawkeye Football Schedule Prep: Week 7 vs. Michigan State

Each Monday, we'll look ahead game by game with a brief preview of the 2024 football schedule. In Week 7, the Hawkeyes travel to East Lansing for a contest with Michigan State.
NCAA Football: Spartan Stadium
NCAA Football: Spartan Stadium / Kirby Lee/GettyImages

The Iowa Hawkeyes will hit the halfway point of the regular season hoping to hit a stride that will land them in a favorable postseason position. That will begin with a road trip to Michigan in Week 7.

The Hawkeyes have a balanced history with the Michigan State Spartans. Iowa leads the all-time series 25-22-2 while carrying a two-game winning streak including a 26-16 win at home in 2023.

The Spartans are coming off a tumultuous season, to say the least. Jonathan Smith takes over as the new head coach after Mel Tucker's tenure came to an end mired in an off-field scandal and three losing seasons.

In 2023, the Spartans fielded one of the worst rosters in the Big Ten. The offense mustered just 15.9 points per game, third-worst in all of FBS, while the defense surrendered 28.3 per game which ranked 87th in the country. After a 4-8 finish, the Spartans are looking to rebuild in a new look Big Ten.

Smith returns 12 total starters, nine of which are on the defensive side of the ball. Smith, who rebuilt the Oregon State program, is offensive-minded and brought in some pieces from the Beavers to get started on improving the roster right away.

Aidan Chiles, a promising recruit for Smith to Oregon State, is expected to be the starting quarterback in 2024. He'll be looking for veteran wide receiver Montorie Foster, one of the few bright spots on MSU's offense a year ago with 43 receptions, 576 yards and three scores.

In the backfield, Nate Carter, who totaled 798 yards and four touchdowns in 2023, will pair with UMass transfer Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams, who had 1,157 yards and 12 scores.

Defensively, the Spartans add some depth in the Transfer Portal, but linebacker Cal Haladay will be the focal point following three 90+ tackle seasons at MSU. The unit will need to rally around him for a quick turnaround from an abysmal season a year ago.

Sure, Iowa's offense was the only one worse than Michigan State's last year, but there's more concrete reason to believe a drastic improvement is coming in Iowa City instead of Michigan State. Still, the Spartans should be a much-improved team under Smith right away, but it will take some time for them to become a threat to the top teams in the Big Ten, including Iowa.

The expectation ahead of the season is that Iowa should walk away with this one, though the scoreboard will likely read a bit closer than it should just as it did in 2023.

The game is set for October 19 with kickoff time and television and streaming channels to be announced at a later date.

You can check out last week's early preview against Washington here.

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