NCAA Football – Week 12
Michigan hosts Iowa in a key game for the Wolverines as they chase a Big Ten regular season title. Denard Robinson is listed as questionable for this game, so the oddsmakers haven’t put out a line on this game. Needless to say, whether Robinson plays or not is a very big deal. Let’s take a look at how this game might play out.
Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes are having an extremely disappointing season. A few years ago, there wasn’t a hotter coaching prospect in the country, but Iowa has struggled the last couple seasons. The Hawkeyes have wins against Northern Illinois (their only loss), and on the road at East Lansing. The problem is Iowa also has losses to Indiana, Central Michigan, Purdue, and a blowout home loss against Penn State. Mark Weisman has been the team’s best offensive player, but he has missed two straight games. He is questionable for this one due to a hip injury. James Vandenburg has had a very difficult season. He has just 5 touchdown passes and six interceptions on the year. Iowa averages only 20.8 points per game.
The Iowa defense has done a pretty good job keeping the Hawkeyes in the game this year. Opponents are scoring only 22 points per game against this unit. They have done a nice job bending without breaking, and forcing opponents to kick field goals. This defense will have to step up in a big way this weekend in Ann Arbor.
Denard Robinson’s health is a major question mark going into this weekend’s game. Robinson hasn’t played since getting injured in an October 27 game against Nebraska. He is listed as day-to-day right now, and there are some rumblings that he won’t be able to go again this week. Brady Hoke said on his radio show this week that he would consider putting Robinson in for a play even if he isn’t completely healthy, since this is Robinson’s last home game in his career. If Robinson can’t go, it will be Devin Gardner under center for Michigan. Gardner played well in the team’s last two games, and he has lots of talent. Fitzgerald Toussaint hasn’t had the type of year he had last year, which has slowed down the offense a bit. The Wolverines average just 383 yards per game, which is down quite a bit from a year ago.
On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan has been terrific again this year. It is truly amazing what Brady Hoke has been able to do for this defense. Two years ago, this was the worst defense Michigan’s football program had ever seen. Now, Michigan is ranked first in the nation when it comes to defending the pass. Opponents are averaging just 18.2 points per game.
The Wolverines need this game pretty badly, and I have a feeling they’ll get it regardless of who is playing quarterback. Look for the Michigan defense to step up in a big way this week.
Michigan 27 Iowa 13