Iowa will fly to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers Saturday. Iowa is 8-0 on the year while Indiana is 4-4 though they are winless in Big Ten play. They began the year 4-0 but have since lost to Ohio State, Michigan State, Rutgers, and Penn State. Iowa's four conference wins have come against Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, and Maryland.
The two teams couldn't be any different. Iowa has established a style of football reminiscent of their successful teams in the past under Kirk Ferentz. They run the ball, control the clock, and play great defense. Indiana is a team that has been typical to teams coached by Kevin Wilson. They have a high-powered offense, play up-tempo and score quick, and have struggled to stop anybody defensively. They surrendered 55 points to Rutgers and 52 to Michigan State most recently.
It will come down to how this game is played. If Iowa can impose their style on the game, Indiana is in trouble. If the Hoosiers can implement their tempo to the game, the Hawkeyes end up playing a type of game they are not comfortable with and then they are in trouble. So what style wins out probably dictates the direction the game heads in.
Indiana competed with Ohio State for the full 60 and competed with Michigan State for a large portion of the game as well. However, they did only score 7 on Penn State and struggled, losing 29-7.
How did Penn State do that? They have the best defensive line in the Big Ten. They controlled the line of scrimmage, pressured the quarterback the entire game, and stuffed the Hoosier run game. Unfortuantely for the Hawkeyes, without Drew Ott they probably don't have the men up front to make that kind of impact.
Because of that, this game is probably played more like the games against Ohio State and Michigan State where the Hoosiers were able to hang around.
Running the ball and strong defense is still a key factor in football and Iowa is the team that can do that the most successfully. LeShun Daniels should have a field day as he really clashes with what Indiana is built to defend. They don't have the personnel to contain that style of physical play. Iowa should be able to score a lot of points.
I do think the Hawkeye defense is legitimate but this will be their toughest task to date. They probably contain Indiana more than most but I expect that they will surrender points more than they are accustomed to.
The difference in this contest? How these teams close games. Iowa has closed particularly well this year, most notably against Pittsburgh, Iowa State, and Wisconsin. Indiana has been less effective in these situations. They were not able to close out games against Ohio State and Rutgers and lost their grasp on the game against Michigan State.
It'll be a close game but Iowa will finish strong as they have all year en route to the win.