IOWA CITY, Iowa - The directive started at the top and worked its way down the chain of command. Nobody at Iowa wanted to talk about or give much credence to last year's debacle at Michigan.
"We put that behind us at the end of November a year ago and we've just been looking forward," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said of the 42-17 beat-down in Ann Arbor.
That's not to sat that the Hawkeyes completely exorcised memories of Wolverines Quarterback Devin Gardner slicing them up with his arm and legs.
"It was hard to watch," Ferentz said after revising that game film in preparation for Saturday's Michigan game at Kinnick Stadium. "The good news is I think we're a totally different team than we were a year ago."
That's the focus for this season's Hawkeyes (6-4 overall, 3-3 Big Ten). They can do nothing about the 513 yards (314 passing by Gardner) of offense Michigan slapped on them in 2012.
"For us, we're a completely different team," Senior Iowa Safety Tanner Miller said. "That was already a year ago. What happened in that game is not going to have any effect on what happens in this game. You can really dwell on it."
The Hawkeyes say they're not looking for revenge when watching Michigan film from their game there last year. They look at it to figure out what went wrong.
"You can take the things that they tried to do to us in that game," Miller said. "Maybe they'll come back to some of those things because those things worked. You have to think of it in that aspect.
"But as far as what happened in that game, you can't really put too much emphasis on it."
Iowa clearly is improved from a year ago when they were in the midst of a six-game losing streak. The Wolverines appear to be the same inconsistent group that finished 8-5 in '12.
Interestingly, Michigan and the Hawkeyes share two of the same conference victories this fall. They are the only teams to beat Minnesota in league play and they both defeated Northwestern in overtime.
Iowa checked in Wednesday morning as a six-point favorite at the Las Vegas Hilto. Ferentz, who'd rather play the role of underdog, downplayed it.
"I'm unaware of that, but last year we never even got our hands up, especially in that second quarter," he said. "It was over pretty quickly. They've got a lot of the same faces back from a year ago.
"I can't remember a Michigan team that wasn't extremely talented. We've still got a lot of work to do at our end, so it's going to be a tough, tough task for us."
Iowa is 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are 7-3 and 3-3. Michigan is receiving votes in the coaches poll.
Michigan holds a 41-13-4 advantage in a series that began in 1900.
Iowa opened as a three-point choice on Sunday at the Las Vegas Hilton. That number quickly jumped to 6.5 before dropping to 6 as of Thursday morning. The total stood at 47.5.
-Wolverines are 6-18 Against The Spread in their last 24 games in November.
-Hawkeyes are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Iowa Front Seven v. Michigan QB Devin Gardner: We talked in the opening about Gardner's heroics in last year's game. Much of that had to do with how comfortable he became without any pressure from the Hawkeyes. If that happens again, the results will be similar.
Iowa RBs v. Michigan Front Seven: While the Wolverines have allowed teams to hurt them through the air, they rank 13th nationally this week against the run, giving up just 111.2 yards per game. Conversely, the Hawkeyes run for 193.9 a contest. With an expected windy, cold day in Kinnick on Saturday, the team that finds success on the ground could very well be the one walking off the field victorious.
Michigan - Fitz Toussaint (concussion, probable).
POINTS OF INTEREST
-Sophomore tight end Devin Funchess' 684 receiving yards in 2013 are the most all-time by a U-M tight end in a single season, surpassing Jim Mandich's previous program record of 662 yards in 1969.
-QB Devin Gardner is averaging 287.2 yards of total offense, which ranks second in the Big Ten and 26th in the nation. He ranks first in the Big Ten and 19th in the country in points responsible for per game (15.0 avg.). His 2,872 yards of total offense through 10 games already rank sixth on U-M's single-season list.
-Michigan has put together 25 70+-yard touchdown drives this season.
-Junior defensive end Frank Clark has established new career highs in sacks (4.5), tackles-for-loss (9.5), total tackles (36) and fumble recoveries (two).
-Cornerback Blake Countess is tied for first in the Big Ten -- and 22nd in the country -- with four interceptions this season, while defensive back Raymon Taylor and safety Thomas Gordon are tied for fifth in the conference with three INTs apiece in 2013
-Michigan ranks 13th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing only 111.2 yards per game on the ground. The Wolverines have allowed only two 100-yard rushers through 10 games (Michigan State's Jeremy Langford and Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah).
-Michigan is bowl eligible for the 43rd time in program history.
-Michigan has generated 46 offensive plays of 20+ yards through 10 games this season - 33 receptions and 13 runs.
-Michigan starts two freshmen and a sophomore on the interior of its offensive line.
-The combined record of the four teams to defeat Iowa this season is 37-3. The Hawkeyes six wins are against teams that are 20-43.
-Iowa has five players on its roster from the state of Michigan, including WR Kevonte Martin-Manley (Pontiac), DB Ruben Lile (Detroit), LB Laron Taylor (Detroit), DL Carl Davis (Sterling Heights), and TE Jake Duzey (Troy). Michigan has one Iowan on its roster: Amara Darboh (Des Moines).
-Iowa is bowl eligible for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons.
-Iowa's defense has held 9-of-10 opponents under their rushing average this season.
-The Iowa defense has allowed four rushing touchdowns this year, tied for the lowest total in the nation.
-The Hawkeyes are 5-0 when winning the turnover margin (Missouri State +1, Iowa State +1, Western Michigan +2, Minnesota +1, Northwestern +1), 0-4 when losing the turnover margin (Northern Illinois, -2; Michigan State, -1, at Ohio State, -1; Wisconsin, -1) and 1-0 when splitting the turnover margin (Purdue). The Hawkeyes are plus-1 overall this season.
-Iowa has allowed nine red-zone touchdowns this season, tied for the lowest in the nation.
-The Hawkeyes' 1,939 rushing yards through 10 games are the highest 10-game total since 2002 (2,055 yards).
-Iowa has scored 27 offensive touchdowns – 14 pass and 13 rush. Net yards are separated by 101 yards (2,040 passing yards vs. 1,939 rushing yards).
-The Iowa defense has held its opponent scoreless in the first quarter in 8-of-10 games. Iowa has not allowed a first quarter touchdown since Week 1.
After a sluggish start to the season, I've managed to pick the last four Iowa games correctly. I was feeling like I had a good handle on things. Then this game rolled around.
I believe that Iowa is the more complete team. Michigan possesses better overall talent, meaning there are more guys on its roster than the Hawkeyes' that will play in the NFL someday.
I expected the Wolverines to mesh by this point in the season but it hasn't happened. After close wins against Akron and a Connecticut team that has since fired its coach, they got spanked by rival Michigan State and needed three overtimes to beat a Northwestern team still searching for its first conference win this fall.
I do wonder about the pride angle for Michigan. It's not often that it's a six-point underdog to teams not named Notre Dame or Ohio State. And maybe the triple overtime win in Evanston last week provides the spark needed for it.
I'll believe that when I see it. The Wolverines' offense makes Iowa's look like Oregon. They have one touchdown in their last 12 quarters, not including last week's overtime.
SCORE: IOWA 17, Michigan 9