Reese Strickland/USA Today

Bold Predictions: Iowa at Rutgers

Derek's bold predictions for Iowa's first road contest of the year as they travel to Rutgers.

Derek Young of Hawkeye Insider hands out his bold predictions of the week. 

WADLEY BUSTS A LONG ONE

Akrum Wadley will be highly motivated entering this contest. He was largely overlooked by Rutgers during the recruiting process despite only living 15 minutes from the campus. He barely even received any interest. Couple that with the fact that I think his health will be improved and Iowa will be determined to run the ball after last week's struggles, and Wadley should have tremendous opportunity to get away from the defense this week. 

IOWA RUNS FOR 250+

I touched on this a bit already but the Hawkeyes will want to establish and find their identity after the crisis a week ago against North Dakota State. The Bison shut down the Iowa running game despite that being the centerpiece of the offense. Everything Iowa does is dependent on a sound, solid, and successful rushing attack. That much was clear and on display last Saturday. James Daniels is back. Sean Welsh is back. It's a group that was embarrassed a week ago and that won't happen again. Expect a lot of carries and a lot of downhill action from Iowa.

JANARION GRANT GETS LOOSE AT LEAST ONCE

Miami (Ohio) busted a couple big plays on offense. Allen Lazard got free once for a big play on a screen pass in Kinnick Stadium. North Dakota State had their share of long runs, including a quarterback draw from signal caller Easton Stick. This defense has been better than the surface suggests. They've received an unfair amount of criticism for allowing just 16 points against NDSU. Iowa State only netted a field goal. But they have struggled in the back end, particular at safety. That last line of defense has been a bit weak. They've been vulnerable to the big play because of it. I don't think it goes away this week and they're facing a pretty good playmaker in Rutgers' Janarion Grant. Expect him to break free much the same way Allen Lazard did. 

DEFENSIVE LINE ROTATION GETS BIGGER

Folks have referred to the snap counts of the defensive line in reference to some of the fatigue. That may be part of it but the fact they've been on the field so much for games, losing the time of possession battle, is worse. That's the main culprit for the fatigue in my mind. However, combine the two and it's really not good. The snap counts will catch up to them by the end of the year, though. It would be advantageous to add at least one more lineman to the fold along the defensive front. They have six now with Hesse back healthy. Hesse, Anthony Nelson, Matt Nelson, Faith Ekakitie, Jaleel Johnson, and Nathan Bazata are who comprise the main rotation. Garret Jansen got a few snaps at defensive tackle against NDSU. I think Lattimore could begin to see some meaningful snaps. It would benefit them in a lot of ways. 


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories