Hawkeyes Mic: Hawkeyes — Scarlet Knights Predictions (09/23/16)
The Hawkeyes Mic picks are in for the Iowa-Rutgers 2016 opening Big Ten Conference game. It’s unanimous again, but perhaps there is some sense that confidence in the predictions isn’t at its highest level. Check them out — see if you agree or disagree.
Scott Dochterman — Iowa 38–20: Was last week a wake-up call for Iowa? The season resides on that premise. The Hawkeyes played as poorly up front on offense as I’ve seen against North Dakota State. I expect they get back on track offensively and their run fits are better this week. Rutgers has some explosive players but not enough to sustain drives or stop repeatedly Iowa. (LandOfTen.com; @ScottDochterman on Twitter)
Steve Batterson — Iowa 35–21: If the Hawkeyes can limit the big-play potential of Janarion Grant and a Rutgers team which has scored six touchdowns of 40 or more yards through three games, Iowa should be able to win its Big Ten opener for the seventh time in eight years. Unlike the well-rooted North Dakota State program the Hawkeyes lost to last weekend, Rutgers is a team in transition. The Scarlet Knights have lacked offensive consistency and have struggled to defend the run, something which should help cure what ailed Iowa’s rushing attack a week ago. Expect the Hawkeyes’ per-carry average to be closer to the 5.5 yards per carry it averaged against Iowa State than the 1.4 it mustered last week against the Bison. (The Quad City Times; @SBatt79 on Twitter)
Tyler Tjelmeland — Iowa 31–13: Iowa is the better team in this match up in nearly every aspect. After a loss to FCS Juggernaut NDSU last week, Iowa should feel like they have something to prove. Look for a heavy dose of LeShun Daniels between the tackles early to open up the pass late. Typical B1G-type game for Iowa. It should win easily. (HawkeyesMic.com; @TylerTjemeland on Twitter)
Jack Brandsgard — Iowa 27–17: Like North Dakota State, Rutgers loves to establish their run game early and often, averaging nearly 230 yards on the ground so far this year. NDSU poked holes in Iowa’s run defense last week, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments, if any, are made to control the line of scrimmage defensively. Iowa will likely feature Akrum Wadley a lot against Rutgers, as the junior running back will be playing with a chip on his shoulder against his hometown team, one that didn’t recruit him heavily out of high school. Wadley is also nearing full health after a knee injury held him back against NDSU, so the coaching staff will probably look to get him involved to get back in the swing of things. Wadley’s attack will be bolstered by the return of James Daniels and Sean Welsh, two experienced offensive linemen that will help create running room for Wadley and LeShun Daniels. Having the offensive line back at full strength should also open things up for C.J. Beathard, who took a couple shots last weekend and never really seemed comfortable in the pocket. This is a pivotal week for the Hawkeyes as they’ve come to a fork in the road after a suffering a gut-punch loss. I believe in this team’s leadership to right the ship. Look for Iowa to rebound nicely. (HawkeyesMic.com; @JackBrandsgard on Twitter)
John Patchett — Iowa 35–21: Should Iowa fans be concerned that for the 2nd consecutive week the Hawkeyes are playing a team coached by a man who grew up in Iowa, was a fan of the Hawks, and whose first name is Chris? While it’s a bit creepy, I think the answer is “no”. Iowa failed to make “makeable” plays vs. NDSU. I think it will do so this week against at Rutgers team that is in the rebuilding mode. Special Teams have excelled in the first three games — that will be critical in this contest, especially considering the electric Janarian Grant, who does pretty much everything except play in the O or D lines. The Scarlet Knights have all new linebackers and their pass defense has been leaky. C.J. Beathard can exploit that — especially if the running game gets back on track and play-action can be employed. Iowa rebounds in Piscataway (had to get the word “Piscataway” in here someway). (HawkeyesMic.com; @HawkeyesMic on Twitter)
Note: You can access the PDF version of our predictions here.
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