The Hawkeyes look to return to their winning ways this Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers at Kinnick Stadium. The 3-2 Hawks dropped consecutive road games by a total of 12 points to put them at their current record, and the Hoosiers recently lost to Illinois by a 35-14 count.
At quarterback, the Hoosiers have notorious Hawkeye killer, Antwaan Randle-El. The 5-9 waterbug recently surpassed the milestone of passing for 6,000 yards and rushing for 3,000 more in his career, which is a very impressive mark. For the Hawkeyes, Kyle McCann has struggled lately, throwing 4 interceptions against a Michigan State secondary that lost a cornerback to academic ineligibility before the season, then two more to broken ankles in the weeks before the Iowa game. However, coach Kirk Ferentz remains confident in McCann, saying "McCann will bounce back. … He is our guy."
The Iowa defense will probably not duplicate the 45-point performance against Indiana last year. The defensive line has given up only 94 yards per game on the ground, which is the 12th best in the nation. Also, opponents have only managed 18.2 points per game. Even more impressive is the fact that many of the yards and points given up were against the reserves, like the 80-yard touchdown run given up against Miami (OH) by the 3rd team defense. Altogether, the Iowa defense ranks 6th in the nation in yards per game. Since Indiana is a run-first team, this plays into the Hawkeyes' strengths.
Indiana's defense, on the other hand, is struggling this year. Their best defensive effort came against Utah, where they "only" gave up 28 points. The Hoosiers give up 385 yards and over 31 points per game, which leaves them firmly entrenched in the lower half of the nation.
On the injury front, Ferentz expects Jerry Montgomery to miss the game with an ankle sprain suffered in the 31-28 loss to Purdue. Jared Clauss is an adequate backup with plenty of game experience, so the dropoff will be marginal. On the offensive side of the ball, TE Tony Jackson and FB Robbie Crockett are doubtful for the contest. On a positive note, Andy Lightfoot should return to action.
The weather forecast is certainly favorable for fans as well as the football players. The forecast is up to a comfortable 68 degrees without a cloud in the sky, which means this could be the best day to watch Iowa football for the rest of the year. Luckily, about 10,000 tickets still remain, so go ahead and take advantage of the nice weather and catch what ought to be a second Big Ten victory for the Iowa Hawkeyes!