Bouncing Around the Big Ten: Iowa searching for upset hosting No. 4 Michigan
A look at Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska's upcoming contests. A glimpse at the rest of the Big Ten. And a few games that might fly under the radar from around college football in the latest edition of
While Nebraska enjoyed a bye last week, Minnesota and Iowa both notched their first Big Ten Conference win of the season. Here’s a look at all three teams’ games this upcoming week.
Michigan to visit Iowa ‘where top-five teams go to die’
Iowa (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) has a history of knocking off highly ranked opponents that pay a visit.
This will be the ninth time in the Kirk Ferentz era that Iowa has hosted a top-five team. Iowa is 5-3 in those games, including victories in five of the past six. One of those victories, a 14-13 squeaker, came against No. 2 Michigan in 2016.
“As they say, where top-five teams go to die,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) are leaving the comfort zone of home for the first time this season. They defeated Maryland in their Big Ten opener on Saturday 34-27.
Running back Blake Corum has already racked up nine touchdowns while averaging 7.5 yards a carry.
In Michigan’s final nonconference game, he tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns against UConn, and then turned into a workhouse last week against the Terrapins, rushing for a career high 243 yards on 30 carries and reaching the end zone twice.
Corum and the Wolverines offense will face by far their stiffest test to date. The Hawkeyes have allowed just 23 points this season, the fewest points given up in their first four games over the past 66 years.
The Iowa defense scored more touchdowns than the offense in their conference opener last weekend.
Iowa led 17-3 at halftime against Rutgers, thanks to a 45-yard interception return by Cooper DeJean and a 30-yard fumble return by Kaevon Merriweather. The Hawkeyes were outgained 361-277 but made it hold up for the 27-10 victory.
Ferentz knows his team could be in for a rough one if the Hawkeyes don’t generate a more consistent attack, and they’ll have to try to contain Corum and Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
“It’s going to take our best effort to have a chance in this ballgame,” he said. Last year in the Big Ten Championship Game, No. 2 Michigan drilled No. 15 Iowa, 42-3.
Iowa’s offense has been ordinary thus far, ranking last in the Big Ten in scoring and total offense with 17.0 points and 232.5 yards a game. Quarterback Spencer Petras has completed just 51.1 percent of his throws with one touchdown. The rushing game hasn’t been much better, averaging 3.0 yards a carry.
Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium.
Minnesota aiming to stay hot against Purdue
No. 21 Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) will look to continue terrorizing opposing offenses on Saturday when it faces Purdue (2-2, 0-1) in a conference matchup at Minneapolis.
The Gophers have allowed just 24 points this season. They’ve also allowed the fewest average yards per game in the nation (187.8), with the next-closest team, Alabama, at 201.2.
Thanks to those impressive defensive numbers and a lethal rushing attack, Minnesota has slid into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season.
Minnesota has averaged the second-most yards per game on the ground (294.5) and has 17 rushing touchdowns, which is tied with Michigan for first. Senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his first four games. He has eight touchdowns, including at least one in each game.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm knows his defense can’t overreact to the run, because if it does, it’ll get picked apart by Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan.
“The sound running game, once you start to want to commit more guys, they’re going to get you on a deep pass over the top,” Brohm said. “And if they’re allowed to do that, then they’re just going to continue to roll.”
The Boilermakers will need to tune up things in that department if they want to have any chance of slowing Minnesota. Purdue allowed 419 yards in a 28-26 win over Florida Atlantic last Saturday and gave up a touchdown with seven seconds remaining one week earlier while falling 32-29 against Syracuse.
With some injury concerns surrounding him, Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell also will look for revenge on Saturday should he play. He threw an interception on the last drive against Minnesota last season with the Boilermakers down seven.
Minnesota will look to pick up its ninth win in 10 tries against Purdue when the game kicks off at 11 a.m. from Minneapolis.
Nebraska trying to right ship against Indiana
Nebraska (1-3, 0-1) is coming off a bye, having lost 49-14 at home to then-No. 6 Oklahoma in the debut of interim coach Mickey Joseph. Since then, Joseph has parted ways with defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, whose unit had allowed 35.5 points and a conference-worst 514 yards per game.
Indiana (3-1, 1-0) is coming off its first loss, a 45-24 setback at Cincinnati. The Hoosiers had won their first three games by a combined 19 points, all at home.
“Our first road game last week, we didn’t handle the situation the way we needed to early for sure,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said.
“This gives us a chance to be able to go do that again, have the same flow, same schedule in regard to the travel piece of it. We’re going to change up things we do this week with our guys to try to be able to create a faster start for our team. That is going to be happening on a daily basis.”
Indiana has the second-lowest rushing average in the conference, at 114.8 yards per game, but faces a Nebraska run defense that’s last in the Big Ten at 233.5 yards allowed per contest. That includes 214 yards and two touchdowns in the week zero loss in Ireland to a Northwestern team that’s lost three straight games since.
Nebraska, which has sold out a record 385 consecutive home games dating back to 1962, has dropped its last six at Memorial Stadium against FBS opponents. Indiana has dropped five in a row on the road and six straight conference road games.
The game will get going at 6:30 p.m. from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
Last week’s Big Ten scores
Thursday, Sept. 22
Illinois 31, Chattanooga 0
Saturday, Sept. 24
Minnesota 34, Michigan State 7
Iowa 27, Rutgers 10
Ohio State 52, Wisconsin 21
Michigan 34, Maryland 27
Penn State 33, Central Michigan 14
Cincinnati 45, Indiana 24
Miami (Ohio) 17, Northwestern 14
Purdue 28, Florida Atlantic 26
This week’s games
Saturday, Oct. 1
No. 4 Michigan at Iowa, 11 a.m.
Purdue at No. 21 Minnesota, 11 a.m.
Illinois at Wisconsin, 11 a.m.
Rutgers at No. 3 Ohio State, 2:30 p.m.
Northwestern at No. 11 Penn State, 2:30 p.m.
Michigan State at Maryland, 2:30 p.m.
Indiana at Nebraska, 6:30 p.m.
In the AP poll
- Ohio State and Michigan at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, for the third week in a row.
- Penn State continued its ascension in the polls, now ranking No. 11 after moving up three spots
- Minnesota jumped into the poll for the first time this season, sitting at No. 21
Clear your schedule
Three FBS games you should tune into this weekend:
Purdue at No. 21 Minnesota — 11 a.m. Saturday — Minnesota is thriving in the search for a Big Ten West title, but it’ll take on its first division opponent on Saturday. Purdue hasn’t looked as sharp since Week 1 against Penn State, but if he plays, an Aidan O’Connell-led passing attack is always dangerous.
Oregon State at No. 12 Utah — 1 p.m. Saturday — Oregon State stymied a potent USC offense last week and only surrendered 17 points, nearly pulling off the upset but losing by three. Utah, already with a loss, more than likely needs to win out if it wants a chance at making the College Football Playoff.
Kansas at Iowa State — 2:30 p.m. Saturday — A 4-0 Kansas team playing host to Iowa State, who has a win over Iowa, will be a test that if the Jayhawks pass, will likely get them ranked. The high-flying Kansas offense will face a tough test in the stingy Cyclone defense, though.
Note: This report was compiled in part through previews from Field Level Media.