By the Numbers: Week 6 vs. Iowa

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LAST WEEK RECAP

The Wolverines trounced Rutgers and kicked off the search to replace Chris Ash as head coach in Piscataway.

NEXT UP: vs. Iowa: 20th, 17.0

PREGAME SP+: Michigan by 4.0, Michigan Win Probability 59%
Michigan finds themselves seven spots in front of the Hawkeyes in overall SP+ rankings.  However the margin has come down from 11.6 in the preseason to 4.0 in week six.

Michigan Offense (48th) vs. Iowa Defense (22nd)
The key question we need to see answered is whether or not Michigan will be able to run the ball successfully against a solid defense. Iowa has yet to give up 100 yards on the ground through their first four games. The only Power 5 opponent, Iowa State, did manage 4.8 yards per rush. That gives me reason for optimism that the Wolverines offensive line will have a fine day. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Shea Patterson’s role in the run game. It would be a major addition to the #SpeedInSpace concept to make the Hawkeye defense account for the QB as a run threat. Michigan may still be wary of Shea taking additional hits after he finally looked healthy and comfortable last week versus Rutgers. If he is not utilizing the QB rushing the ball on the read option, then Josh Gattis will likely be more focused on keeping Patterson clean in the pocket, or rolling out to ensure he can see his reads clearly downfield.

Michigan Defense (6th) vs. Iowa Offense (30th)
The fear for most Michigan fans is that Iowa will download the Wisconsin offensive road map to gash the Wolverines’ defense. I expect to see a much better performance against the Hawkeyes for a couple reasons. First, the depth at defensive tackle will be greatly improved with Michael Dwumfour available to start. Giving Don Brown the personnel option to put Dwumfour next to Carlo Kemp inside, and allow Kwity Paye and Aiden Hutchinson to stay on the ends is a major improvement over what we saw in Madison. Second, I was encouraged by the week-over-week improvement of Cam McGrone. The defensive game plan against the Badgers expected senior Josh Ross in the middle. The plan with McGrone in the middle against Rutgers looked to better utilize his speed, without requiring him to read and think a great deal on the snap of the ball. I’ll be looking at how often McGrone is sent as a blitzer, requiring upperclassmen Jordan Glasgow Kaleke Hudson, and Josh Uche to read and react more often than McGrone.

PREDICTION: The Hawkeyes’ offense and Michigan’s defense have both moved up the SP+ rankings since preseason. This creates a fascinating strength vs. strength match up. Who can limit the big mistakes when Michigan’s offense takes the field vs. Iowa’s defense? I think both teams will be relatively conservative to eliminate game-changing mistakes. If the Offense vs. Defense phases of the game turn into a wash, then the difference will be special teams where Michigan is ranked 4th in SP+ and Iowa 13th. I expect at least one key big play to come from the return game to go along with a significant field position advantage for the Wolverines.
Michigan 30 Iowa 23 (same as PRESEASON)

MICHIGAN RESUME UPDATE (10/2/2019)

  • SP+ Overall: 13th (↑13), 18.5
    • SP+ Offense: 48th (↑24), 31.8
    • SP+ Defense: 6th (↑6), 13.8
  • AP Poll: 19th (↑1), 350
  • Coaches’ Poll: 18th (↑2), 417
  • CFP Rank: N/A

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer Born & raised in Warren, MI. Now in Grosse Pointe, MI with my wife Bethany and our three hilarious kids. U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18