Odds presented by: DraftKings Sportsbook
|Michigan Wolverines||-10.5 (-110)
|O 43.5 (-110)
|Iowa Hawkeyes||+10.5 (-110)
|U 43.5 (-110)
Most league championship games are between two great teams who have fought their way to be there. Unfortunately, it feels like even Iowa fans will tell you, this is not a great team. The Hawkeyes don’t have a reliable quarterback, while this is the most confident Michigan team in two decades. The Wolverines just got the monkey (or maybe gorilla) off their back by slaying Ohio State, and now it feels as if they have all the momentum in the world. Iowa has a great rushing defense, but it is hard to see how they score even more than 10 points.
Garcia’s 2021 record: (22-22)
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What a difference a season makes. Just last year, Michigan went 2-4, and Jim Harbaugh had to take a pay cut to keep his job. Fast forward not even 365 days, and the Wolverines did the impossible — they beat the Buckeyes and now are headed to Indy.
There was nothing fancy about this. It was just a team that dominated the game the old-fashioned way on the ground. Hassan Haskins was one of the main cogs in this offense, but there’s no doubt he was also the beneficiary of one heckuva performance from the offensive line.
Haskins ran 25 times for 169 yards, and a career-high five touchdowns as Michigan broke its eight-game losing streak against Ohio State. What Michigan is doing almost flawlessly right now is staying ahead of schedule.
The Wolverines are rarely, if ever, in a 2nd-and-7 scenario or worse after the first play of a series, which helps their offense keep defenses off balance when the entire playbook is constantly open.
On the flip side, Iowa was able to keep its season alive on the back of its defense, although it is far from the dominant unit it was believed to be at the beginning of the season. Iowa has given up between 20-27 points in six of the past seven games.
And that’s against offenses like Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska, none of which are close to Michigan’s team. That said, Iowa’s calling card on defense is its run defense — they held the Cornhuskers to just 129 rushing yards on 43 carries (three yards per attempt).
There’s no nice way to put it — Iowa’s offense isn’t good.
They haven’t had a quarterback for weeks, with Spencer Petras on the sideline, however, he had to rescue them against Nebraska on Friday. The Hawkeyes fell behind 21-6 before scoring 22 unanswered for the win.
Petras has thrown for just 1,532 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions. Since this is the Iowa offense, his top target has of course been a tight end in Sam LaPorta. LaPorta led the team in catches (40) and yards (486) but found the endzone just twice
However, the best player on this offense is without question running back Tyler Goodson. The junior from Georgia has rushed for 1,101 yards and six scores, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
That said, Michigan’s defense is swarming. Aidan Hutchinson is a legitimate Heisman contender at defensive end, David Ojabo is a one-man wrecking crew and the Wolverines are littered with speed in the back-seven. It’s hard to see Iowa moving the ball in this one.
For Michigan, the x-factor is going to be quarterback Cade McNamara. He has had to put up with a lot this season — people calling for him to be benched, saying he isn’t a leader, and clamoring for five-star backup J.J McCarthy.
But he never wavered and instead could be Michigan’s first Big Ten Champion quarterback since Chad Henne when these same teams (Michigan and Iowa) split the league title in 2004.
Iowa is going to put ALL of its focus on the run game — that leaves it up to McNamara to have enough of a connection with his pass-catchers, like A.J Henning and Erick All, to keep the defense honest.
For Iowa, the key is going to be special teams. They blocked a punt for a touchdown last week vs. Nebraska, and in order to win this game, it will need to come up with a big play. A block, a fake, an onside kick — something to help give this offense a chance.
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|Michigan Wolverines vs Iowa Hawkeyes Information|
|Teams||Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes|
|Location||Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Time||Saturday, Dec. 4 8:00 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ABC|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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