The slate of Big Ten games this week lacks the type of national spot light games that were on last week with Ohio State playing host to Wisconsin and Nebraska hosting Michigan State. However, Michigan playing in Iowa City at Kinnick Stadium is probably the game with the most division standing implications.
Two of the conference’s best quarterbacks face off with Michigan’s Denard Robinson leading the country in rushing by a quarterback and Iowa’s James Vandenberg comes in with a rating of 155.2 and seventeen touchdowns, while only throwing four interceptions on the year.
Michigan comes into the game having only lost to Michigan State in East Lansing in week seven to give them a record of 7 – 1. They beat Purdue last Saturday 36 – 14 at Michigan Stadium. Iowa comes off of a loss at a Minnesota team who had been outscored in it first three Big Ten Games 144-31, including a loss to Michigan by the tune of 58 – 0.
With Michigan looking somewhat dominant on defense, and their ability to run the ball, I could see them pulling out a decent sized win. On the other hand, Iowa is an unpredictable team and playing at home should benefit them, so I could see them also pulling the upset. I think it comes down to who can win the battle up front. I think Michigan has enough athletes to get enough big plays to win.
Nebraska plays host to a Northwestern team who got its first conference win of the year against a 1 – 8 Indiana team, 59 – 38. Northwestern has a good offense, which can struggle when playing elite defenses, though. Dan Persa is a quarterback, when healthy, is one of the best in the Big Ten, if not country.
Before rupturing his Achilles tendon last November, Persa had a completion percentage of just around seventy percent and this year he has a completion percentage of seventy five percent, so he can light it up through the air.
Northwestern on defense is a different story. They are giving up 31.5 points a game, good for ninetieth in the country, out of 120 schools. Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez should have a big day on the ground, and the Blackshirts should be able to use last week as a stepping-stone and continue to improve.