FACTS & STATS: Site: Kinnick Stadium (70,585) -- Iowa City, Iowa. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Michigan 5-1, Iowa 3-3. Away Record: Michigan 2-2, Iowa 0-0. Neutral Record: Michigan 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Conference Record: Michigan 3-3, Iowa 3-3. Series Record: Michigan leads, 41-13-4.
GAME NOTES: Iowa's senior class will try to leave Kinnick Stadium victorious one last time as the Hawkeyes host the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten Conference battle on Saturday.
Michigan narrowly escaped its third consecutive loss last week as it defeated Northwestern, 27-19, in triple overtime at Ryan Field to improve to 7-3 overall and climb back to the .500 mark in the league standings. The Wolverines trailed the Wildcats by three points with less than a minute left in regulation before kicking a game-tying field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Coach Brady Hoke's team continued to struggle offensively after scoring only 19 total points over its previous two games against Michigan State and Nebraska.
The Hawkeyes coasted to a 38-14 victory at Purdue on Nov. 9 before last week's bye. Iowa's win over the Boilermakers made it bowl eligible for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons. Coach Kirk Ferentz's squad enters this matchup tied with Michigan in the Legends Division race for fourth place. This will be the final home game of the 2013 season for Iowa before it closes out its slate on Friday at Nebraska.
This will be the 59th time in history Michigan and Iowa collide on the gridiron. The Wolverines own a sizeable, 41-13-4, all-time series lead. When these Big Ten rivals met last season in Ann Arbor, Michigan scored 28 unanswered points to run off to a 42-17 victory which snapped its four-game losing streak versus the Hawkeyes.
Michigan is netting 34.3 points per game despite ranking only ninth in the Big Ten with 383.3 total yards per outing. The Wolverines produced only 365 total yards last week in Evanston and failed to post any points on the scoreboard until the 11:45 mark of the fourth quarter. Devin Gardner completed only 24- of-43 pass attempts for 226 yards and a touchdown before ending the game in the third extra session with a rushing score.
Gardner is completing just under 60 percent of his throws on the season and has tossed 15 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Despite the high number of turnovers, the junior signal caller is tied for first with Ohio State's Braxton Miller in total yards per game (295) in Big Ten play. Michigan recently replaced senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in the backfield in favor of rookie Derrick Green, who tallied 79 yards on 19 carries last week versus Northwestern.
Jeremy Gallon had a stellar showing in last week's victory with 10 receptions for 115 yards. The senior wideout has racked up 1,062 yards and seven touchdowns on 65 receptions, which gives him the 11th most receiving yards among FBS players. Sophomore tight end Devin Funchess (684 yards, five TDs) is the only other consistent contributor to the aerial attack.
In conference play, Michigan's has surrendered 372 yards of total offense and 28 points per game. It allowed averages of 311 total yards and 21 points to its non-league foes. The Wolverines' defensive unit had a strong outing versus the Wildcats, who were limited to only 322 total yards and 20 first downs. James Ross III was relentless as he recorded 13 total tackles and a sack. Ross III is the team's leader on the season with 75 stops while junior lineman Frank Clark's ability to penetrate the offensive line has yielded 10 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Iowa's offense had a breakthrough versus Purdue's hapless defense, as the team set new season-highs versus FBS opponents with 39 points, 509 total yards, 28 first downs and 318 rushing yards. Sophomore tailback Jordan Canzeri stole the show after entering the contest with 173 rushing yards on the season. Canzeri compiled a career-high 165 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Sophomore signal caller Jake Rudock submitted a decent performance as well with 191 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-20 passing.
Rudock has posted similar numbers to his counterpart in 2013 by completing just under 60 percent of his throws for 1,916 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Kevonte Martin-Manley is pacing Iowa with 35 catches and 30.4 receiving yards per game. Senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is the top red zone threat, as four of his 20 grabs have resulted in six points.
Iowa has earned a spot in the postseason on the defensive side of the ball, where it ranks third among Big Ten schools with allowances of 319.2 total yards and 18.7 points per game. The Hawkeyes managed to stifle Purdue, which ended the game with 266 offensive yards and an average of 1.9 yards per carry. Senior linebacker Christian Kirksey recovered a fumble. Kirksey and James Morris are tied for the Hawkeyes' lead with 80 tackles each. Morris has also picked off three passes.
The Wolverines took a step in the right direction last week, but they face a much tougher challenge this week in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes should be well rested and have plenty of motivation to knock off Michigan. Iowa's defense will most likely cause problems for the visitors, who had trouble against the Wildcats' much weaker unit last week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 24, Michigan 17
Saturday, November 23, 12 p.m. (et)