This matchup is more intriguing than the Iowa offense against the Indiana defense. The Hawkeye defense battling the Hoosier offense is strength against strength.
Iowa is near the top of the league in most defensive categories while the Indiana offense tops the conference in most offensive categories.
The advantages are tough to find. There's not a lot of chinks in the armor of the Indiana offense. They run the ball well and especially pass the ball well.
Indiana does not possess the ball very long. Their time of possession is one of the worst in the Big Ten. That is a good thing for Iowa and something they need to continue to build upon. What is the key to that? Getting off the field on third down. Iowa's third down defense has been great and Indiana has played poorly on third down. How do you play to make that come to fruition? Win first down and put Indiana out of their comfort zone on third down.
Run defense becomes more important and making the Hoosiers one dimensional. The Hawkeyes have stopped the run well all year and they will look to do the same on Saturday. The main cogs of that have been star defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and inside linebacker Josey Jewell. Those two will be key again when Iowa travels to Bloomington this weekend.
Against a team that likes to spread it out and air it out, turnovers become a factor as well and the Hawkeyes have been one of the best in the country at forcing them. A Desmond King interception would add to his nation lead in the category.
Iowa has forced many turnovers in the passing game this year but their pass defense has been a bit of a 'bend but don't break' as a whole. They do allow yards through the air and the Hoosiers could get a bunch of them. If Indiana doesn't get bogged down on third down, it could come down to whether or not the Hoosiers find the end zone or if they have to resort to field goals.
Another problem could be a pass rush. Iowa hasn't had a consistent pass rush since Drew Ott injured his knee and was sidelined for the rest of the season. They have to send more than four to pressure the quarterback the way they want. That could cause problems if Nate Sudfeld can get enough time because it means less guys in coverage.