Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/2/11

The 13th ranked Michigan Wolverines (7-1, 3-1) will hit the road for a key matchup with Iowa (5-3, 2-2). The game will kickoff at noon and be televised on espn.

Michigan used to dominate the series against the Hawkeyes. Before losing the last two games, U-M had won 10 of 12 against Iowa. It’s time to get back to those winning ways against this conference foe.

Iowa

The Hawkeyes are 5-0 at home. However, those 5 wins have come against some pretty soft competition; Indiana, Northwestern, Louisiana-Monroe, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee Tech.  Last week, Iowa lost a stunner at Minnesota. Michigan will be the first ranked opponent that the Hawkeyes have played.

Sophomore RB Marcus Coker leads the Big Ten in rushing and is coming off a 252 yard performance in the loss at Minnesota. Senior WR Marvin McNutt ranks second in the B1G in receiving with 48 receptions for 858 yards and 9 TDs.

Iowa’s rushing defense has been spotty this year and that is a concern for their head coach. “The number one focus will be on stopping the run,” Kirk Ferentz said. “The bad news there is that Michigan is running for about 250 a game. They probably could go 400 if they chose to. They’re a very good running football team with a lot of good players touching the football. It’s going to be a big challenge.”

Fitzgerald Toussaint

Michigan

U-M enters the contest with a revved up rushing attack that leads the Big Ten and ranks 8th nationally. They also have 2 of the conference’s top 7 rushers; #5 Denard Robinson (103.1) and #7 Fitzgerald Toussaint (71.9). Toussaint has separated himself from the rest of Michigan’s RB pack and is coming off a career 170 yard performance against Purdue last week. The biggest bugaboo for Michigan’s offense has been interceptions. Robinson has tossed 11 of them and Devin Gardner has also chucked one. Avoiding costly interceptions on the road will be crucial.

Defensively, Michigan is improving on a weekly basis. They’re not where they need to be yet, but they’re miles ahead of where they were last year. They rank 3rd in the Big Ten and 7th nationally in scoring defense. They rank 35th nationally in total defense and have forced 20 turnovers. What’s remarkable about this defense is they are starting 2 true freshmen; Blake Coutness at CB, Desmond Morgan at LB and 1 redshirt freshmen, Jake Ryan at LB.

Prediction: So far this season has followed the script exactly as I laid it out back in August. I projected Michigan would finish the season with 2 losses (Michigan State and Nebraska). This was a game I identified as a win and I am even more confident about that pick now than I was back then. The defense will have a big game and the offense will be sharp in a 31-14 Michigan victory.

You can follow me on Twitter @isportsRob

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