2013 Opponent Review: Iowa Hawkeyes

Going back to check on how Michigan's opponents did in 2013, who's coming back for that team, and checking to see if they're on the schedule in 2014.

Sooooo...Iowa...

/ shudders

How They Did

Date Opponent Result
8/31 Northern Illinois L 30-27
9/7 Missouri State W 28-14
9/14 @ Iowa State W 27-21
9/21 Western Michigan W 59-3
9/28 @ Minnesota W 23-7
10/5 Michigan State L 26-14
10/19 @ Ohio State L 34-24
10/26 Northwestern W 17-10 OT
11/2 Wisconsin L 28-9
11/9 @ Purdue W 38-14
11/23 Michigan W 24-21
11/29 @ Nebraska W 38-17
1/1 LSU (Outback Bowl) L 21-14

Things started out with a bang for the Hawkeyes by losing to the Northern Illinois Huskies. The Huskies were a team, by the way, that people were talking about being a good potential member of the B1G...and I bet only some of that was tongue-in-cheek; right, Purdue?

Versus Michigan: Michigan was up 21-7 at halftime, but the Hawkeyes came out and scored 17 unanswered in the second half to take the 24-21 victory. Iowa QB Jake Ruddock was picked off three times in the game, leading to Michigan points on two of those interceptions. He ended up with 239 yards on the day, on an average of 8 yards per attempt. Mark Weisman rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown, while Jordan Canzeri went for an additional 50 yards. As a team, the Hawkeyes tallied 168 yards on the ground. Michigan had 60 yards.

Iowa kicker Mike Meyer put the go-ahead three points on the board with 6:02 to go in the 4th quarter.

When Michigan had the ball: the defense did a good job of giving the offense some breathing room by returning an interception for a touchdown on Iowa's first play of the game. Another interception later in the game allowed Devin Gardner to throw another touchdown to put the Wolverines up 14-7. Gardner's 98 yards passing and two touchdowns would have been enough to hold onto the win, but having the defense disappear in the second half was disastrous. The defense had performed well in other games, but this was probably when people started questioning Greg Mattison in addition to Al Borges. The season was in a full-on tailspin from this point on.


Best Win: I'm going to have to go with the Minnesota win. The Gophers were 4-0 going into the game; spirits and hopes were high for the team's third year under Jerry Kill, and Minnesota had recent success against the Hawkeyes. The Iowa offensive line came out and controlled the line of scrimmage in a way no Minnesota fan had expected. Mark Weisman was able to rush for 147 yards, and Jake Ruddock had a solid 218 yards. The Hawkeye defensive front also did a good job of limiting the Gophers to a total of 165 yards.

I can't choose the Michigan game for the "Best Win" because the Wolverines were spiraling into apathy, everyone beat Purdue, and Nebraska was all over the place.

Worst Loss: from a prestige perspective, it has to be Northern Illinois. Now, as a Michigan fan I really shouldn't criticize when a B1G team loses to a MAC team. However, I've never said that I'm not a hypocrite. The Huskies have been a pretty popular and successful team in recent years, but a program in the B1G should not lose to a MAC program. Ever.

Losing to the eventual Rose Bowl champions and a team that was on the verge of playing for a national championship is nothing to be ashamed of from a certain perspective. The Badgers were having a good season under a new coach, and the Mad-Hatter's teams are always going to be dangerous.

Outlook for 2014

Jake Ruddock will be a junior in 2014 and clearly the team's starter; the return of LT Brandon Scherff to protect Ruddock's blind side could lead to some very positive things for Iowa. The O-line was a strength for this team last year, and having a senior in such a key position can only make it better. The other side of the O-line coin is the running game. Iowa will see the return of Mark Weisman, Jordan Canzeri, Damon Bullock, and LeShun Daniels, Jr. That's over 2,000 combined yards from last year. Although they've lost C.J. Fiedorowicz and a very good linebacker corps, I hate to admit that Iowa could be a very very good team in 2014. With games against Northern Iowa, Ball State, Purdue, Maryland, and Illinois, it's quite possible that Iowa could end up with ten wins.

Do they play Michigan in 2014?

No. Instead of Iowa, Michigan has the Maryland Terrapins in this late November slot. The Terps went 7-6 in 2013, losing to Marshall in the Military Bowl on December 27th.

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