One thing seems certain - Indiana will not do what Purdue did in its failed effort to knock off the Hawkeyes last week.
Purdue's injury-riddled and much-maligned defense went into its game in West Lafayette with priority No. 1 being to slow down Iowa quarterback Drew Tate. The Boilermakers' approach was to drop additional players into coverage to try to befuddle Iowa's junior quarterback. It didn't work. Tate threw for 188 of his season-high 357 yards in the first quarter alone, tailback Albert Young ran for 164 yards on a career-high 36 carries, and Iowa hammered the Boilermakers, 34-17.
Indiana will head into its game in Iowa City with Tate as its No. 1 priority as well, but expect the Hoosiers to try to get after Tate instead of dropping extra men into coverage. Iowa has been one of the league's worst teams in recent years in keeping its quarterback off his back, and the Hoosiers will likely use their blitz packages to try to pressure Tate into hurried throws and potentially turnovers.
Statistically, Tate has been brilliant this year in Iowa's four wins, and sub-par at best in the two losses. In the Hawkeyes' four wins, Tate is completing nearly 73 percent of his passes (60-83) for 878 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. In the team's two losses, Tate is an extremely pedestrian 27-50 for 203 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
While the Hoosiers will likely do a better job of getting after Tate than Purdue did, this is still a tall order for the Hoosiers. Iowa has won 21 straight at home, and Kinnick Stadium is every bit as difficult of a place to play as Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium.
Iowa is also a much-improved team offensively from what it was a year ago, thanks to the ability to run and throw the ball. Sophomore tailback Albert Young, who missed the 2004 season following knee surgery, is averaging nearly 100 yards/game and 6.0 yards per carry. He gives the Hawkeyes a legitimate 25-carry/game tailback, and Indiana will have its hands full with him as well.
Expect the Hoosiers to be able to move the ball against the Hawkeyes and to take another step in the right direction by making this a competitive game in Iowa City. Ultimately, the Hawkeyes will have too much for the Hoosiers on both sides of the ball and run their winning streak to 22.
HoosierNation.com Prediction: Iowa 27, Indiana 17
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Key Matchups
On Wednesday –Three Big Concerns
On Thursday –Two Things IU Must Do
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
On Saturday – Hoosier Gameday
One Day and Counting...
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