I just don't see South Carolina's offense being able to do much against Iowa's defense. I know that Steve Spurrier is the coach on the other side, and that gives me pause. But this Iowa defense is very disciplined, and has faced a plethora of spread formations this year, and various types of spreads. I don't know that Spurrier will be able to throw anything at this defense that it hasn't seen a number of times. Their offense has been very poor this year, they fired their offensive line coach before the bowl game, they don't gain 100 yards per game on the ground as a team, etc.
Defensively, they were to be feared before losing Emmanuel Cook and Jeff Brinkley, two key players on defense. Cook was their leading tackler, and that could have slowed down Shonn Greene. I just think the Hawks do what they have done all year, and they only thing that can beat the Hawks, are the Hawks themselves; turnovers.
Iowa 24, South Carolina 6
While reviewing statistics and scouting this game, I've looked hard to find an advantage South Carolina enjoys in this game. The Gamecocks' offense has struggled almost as bad as Iowa's did in 2007. We all remember that, right? Their defense is salty, but has been worn down by an ineffective offense. Sound familiar? From what I've seen of South Carolina this season, it reminds a lot of the Hawkeyes from a year ago. So, would you take the '08 Hawks to beat the '07 Hawks? That's what I thought.
Sometimes weird things happen in football games that blow logic out of the water. And that possibility could sink Iowa in this one. Stanzi has been prone to the turnover and this is his first bowl game. Murray and Mossbrucker have been inconsistent, at times, this season. Greene and King have remained relatively healthy all year.
I just have faith in this Iowa team. It's built and shown a lot of character. They'll prepare well and be ready for this game.
Iowa 24, South Carolina 10
Against any previous Iowa team, I'd be a little concerned. With Amari Spievey and Bradley Fletcher starting at cornerback, however, I'm not seeing how the Gamecocks are going to be able to consistently move the ball. Their RB isn't anything more than a mid-level Big Ten back. The mobility of their quarterback concerns me a little, but then I realize that the three biggest running threat QBs on Iowa's schedule, Kellen Lewis, Juice Williams, and Darryl Clark combined for a total of 65 yards.
On the defensive side, I can't imagine Iowa's running game being stopped. Iowa's faced better rush defenses during the year, and South Carolina's not faced a rusher that's at all close to Shonn Greene. I think some early success for Greene will translate to some openings for Ricky Stanzi, particularly with play-action pass.
I'll call for one defensive score (Amari Spievey, 27 yard INT return) and a few good kick returns setting up short fields.
Iowa 31, South Carolina 14