Iowa at Michigan State
Time: 3 PM (CT), Saturday
Spread: MIST -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Iowa Hawkeyes fell to 3-1 after a 21-19 loss last week to No. 4 Penn State. Iowa now travels to face Big Ten foe Michigan State as 3.5-point underdogs at 3 PM (CT) on Fox Saturday. The game has a low over/under of 44 points, which is appropriate because the Hawkeyes defense has improved this year and held Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lions in check to 21-points last week, despite the loss.
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Iowa has really benefited from the emergence of the pass-receiving Akrum Wadley out of its backfield. Not only has Wadley led the team with 338 rushing yards, but he has 10 catches for a team-leading 227 yards, including a 70-yard TD run and two receiving TDs. Wadley has also rushed for two TDs, and Nathan Stanley has been solid at quarterback. Stanley has 846 passing yards on 61 percent completions and a per-catch average of 8.06 yards per attempt.
He has 12 TDs and just one interception, and the Hawkeyes have been a little better than expected on offense thus far this season. No. 2 back James Butler is averaging 39.5 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry as well. The defense has held three opponents to 21 points or less, but Iowa State did score 41 against it in Week 2.
That game saw the hosting Cyclones throw for 347 yards and rush for 120 at a 4.6 yard-per-carry clip. While Iowa certainly had its own successes offensively, it did show the potential weaknesses of a secondary that was burnt for four TDs and managed to pick off just one pass. The game was won in OT and easily could have turned into a loss, so Iowa will have to be on guard against Michigan State’s aerial assault.
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Michigan State is 2-1 after falling to Notre Dame last outing 38-18. The Spartans defeated Bowling Green and Western Michigan in Weeks 1 & 2, but face No. 8 Michigan next week, a game it could find itself below .500 after, if it were to suffer defeat this week to Iowa. The Spartans’ quarterback Brian Lewerke has thrown for 751 yards, with six TDs and two INTs. He has also led the team with 206 rushing yards on just 26 carries, good for an average of 7.9 yards per-carry, including a 61-yard TD rush this season, one of his team-leading two TDs.
Darrell Stewart Jr. and Felton Davis III are the team’s top two receiving options, and have combined to catch for 301 yards and three TDs between them. The Spartans are averaging 5.2 yards per rush as a team, and passing the ball well, so it is not unlikely they manage to prevail as the favorites they are. However, we expect Iowa to make this closer than a one-touchdown game, with a high potential even that it is an overtime affair. This is a pretty evenly pitted matchup, and Iowa possessing home field advantage is what gives it the extra edge to really push this one to the wire.