KEYS TO THE GAME
1) DO WHAT YOU DO - Iowa doesn't need to do anything fancy in this one. Stick to your offense and the rest should fall into place. Expect a heavy dose of the run to start. That should net them a pretty large lead.
2) GET YOUNG KIDS INVOLVED - They need to get young guys like Jay Scheel and Jerminic Smith involved early. I could see maybe a bubble screen to one of the two early on in the first quarter just to get their feet wet. On the defensive side, there needs to be a nice mix of the Nelson's at defensive end and Aaron Mends needs to see the field quite a bit as well.
3) PROTECT BEATHARD - There is no doubt that C.J. Beathard is one of the more important pieces to the Iowa plan in 2016. He was hobbled for most of the year last season and did a heck of a job playing through it. He'll be wearing a knee brace throughout the season as a precautionary measure, but if Iowa gets out to a big lead there is no reason for him to still be playing. I expect we might see a full quarter of Tyler Wiegers.
1) DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER - The only way that Miami keeps the score respectable is if Iowa gives the ball away and allows for a shorter field for the Redhawks to operate on. That's the only way. They're not going to beat Iowa when everything is all square. Don't turn the ball over and this one is a comfortable win.
2) OPEN IT UP ON OFFENSE - Iowa doesn't have to figure out what it has in the backfield or how they can run-block or run the ball. They'll still do it because that is their identity. But I think this is a perfect game where they can figure out what everything else they have offensively a week before they face Iowa State. Go back and look at the tapes from last year against North Texas and Illinois State. At least early on in the game, they attacked through the air, or at least attempted to, to see what they have. I think we see similar against Miami on Saturday.
3) LIMIT THE BIG PLAYS - It's pretty simple, defensively. Inferior teams have trouble sustaining drives so you make them methodically move the ball down the field because they lack the consistency to do so. It's a challenge for them. But if you give them chunk plays, they're more apt to score. You give them life, confidence, and play into their hand. They can't reel off several plays in succession to score on a defense the caliber of Iowa. Make them put together long drives because that's the shortcoming of a team like Miami.
HAWK TO ROCK
DYLAN: Akrum Wadley. I believe Wadley gets a heavy dose of the carries this weekend because of his play making ability. I think he gets somewhere between 12-15 carries and goes for over 100 yards with a touchdown.
DEREK: My Hawk to Rock on offense will be George Kittle. I think they will want to involve the young receivers some, and I expect them to, but this will be a team that wants to use this game as a good opportunity to test their passing game. I think their best weapon in the passing game this year will be George Kittle. So throwing it more means more of Kittle. He's a touchdown maker and likely finds the end zone at least once on Saturday. My Hawk to Rock on defense is Ben Niemann. I think he was the most underrated player on the defense a year ago and I think he turns it loose as he finally gets to step back out on the football field.
DYLAN: Just about everyone is picking the Hawkeyes to roll in this one. There are favored by nearly four touchdowns over a team that will probably finish in the lower half of the MAC this season. I'm sure the player are itching to get back out there after a brutal loss to end last season.
I think the Hawkeyes take it out on the Redhawks and roll to a 42-13 victory. They will find a lot of success on the ground, while still mixing in the pass to get these young receivers acclimated to game speed. We should see nothing but happy Hawkeyes come Saturday evening.
DEREK: Iowa likely experiments with the passing game quite a bit which could result in some growing pains or early struggles. That means a lot from inexperienced guys like Devonte Young, Ronald Nash, Jerminic Smith, and Jay Scheel. They're talented but they're also still figuring it out because there's not a lot of snaps, ever, from that group of four. That likely limits what they put up on the scoreboard. If they get too impatient, they could resort back to the running game and absolutely smoke Miami. However, I think the passing game will be the emphasis. The defense will be stout. Iowa cruises 38-10.