1. DEFENSE FORCES FOUR TURNOVERS
Two for Tuesday this week tackles the bold predictions for the season opener for the Iowa Hawkeyes. They host Miami (OH) and they are just not a very good football team and should finish in the bottom part of the MAC once again. Not only that, but if there is a strength it is likely their defense. I do not expect from their offense and they shouldn't pose much of a challenge for the Hawkeyes' defense.
And with the defense bringing a lot of talent back, I think they'll be opportunistic out of the gate and create some turnovers. Four, in fact. I'd say one fumble recovery and three interceptions. It also would not surprise me if the defending Jim Thorpe Award winner starts early in his defending his crown and records a pick-six. I think Desmond King sets out with something to prove in game one.
I can also see Anthony Nelson coming off the edge on a third down passing situation and getting to the quarterback causing a fumble. A prediction on who recovers that fumble would be Ben Niemann. He has a nose for the ball for a linebacker and covers a lot of ground. I can see him being in the right spot at the right time.
The other two interceptions come from Josh Jackson and Bo Bower. I think Bo Bower playing Fisher's spot means he could drop in coverage and play in space quite a bit. He could take up a lane to the flat or jump a checkdown. I think the experienced but new starter has a nice beginning to his 2016 campaign.
2. JAY SCHEEL CATCHES A TOUCHDOWN
The offense will have more of a challenge than the defense will on Saturday but should still have their way for the most part. They'll know they can run the ball down Miami's throat whenever they want. This could be a time where they lean on the passing game just to see what they have and to help gain meaningful snaps and experience. It probably makes the final score lopsided but Iowa likely uses Saturday to get work in, figure things out, and get things accomplished. They aren't just going to be satisfied with taking Miami (OH) out back and showing them who is boss. They can beat Miami 56-3 if they want. They'll instead be more focused on getting better, improving, and figuring out what they have on their own. For that reason, the score may not be what some want or the butt-spanking they desire. Kirk Ferentz and his staff will use this game to think ahead and prepare for the meat of the schedule.
Because of that, we're going to see some passing early on I believe. They'll want to get some of the newcomers in the two-deep involved and acclimated since they have yet to step on the stage yet. One of those guys is Jay Scheel. Because they'll need a lot from him later on, I think they get him involved early and often to continue to get him ready for primetime later in the season. He should have a lot of chances to shine on Saturday. It's a pretty good bet that he finds the end zone.