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The Pants Predicts: #5 Iowa vs. Colorado State

Can the Hawkeyes cover a big spread against a quality Mountain West opponent?

NCAA Football: Colorado State at San Diego State
Can Todd Centeio and the CSU Rams make this a close one.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The #5 Iowa Hawkeyes are set to play host to the Colorado State Rams for the first ever matchup between the two programs this Saturday. The Rams are fresh off their first win of the season, a 22-6 thrashing of Toledo in CSU’s first road game of the season.

The Hawkeyes are looking to stay perfect at home and on the season as they hope to extend their current winning streak to 10 straight games. But they face a Colorado State program that boasts solid offensive and defensive lines and perhaps the nation’s top tight end prospect. Oh, and their punter (the 3-time All-MWC selection) isn’t too bad either.

Iowa opened as a 22-point favorite in this one with the over/under set at 45.5.

The Pants is collectively on the Hawkeyes here and a significant portion of the staff thinks Iowa will cover that lofty spread. Our consensus prediction has Iowa winning this one 38-8.
That puts us on Iowa with the 22 points with a pretty comfortable margin. In terms of total points, we’re darn near right on top of the over/under with our projection at 46 total points. That puts us on the over, but by the narrowest of margins.

Here are our individual predictions on how this one plays out.


The Iowa offense continues to leave doubts in the minds of Hawkeye fans who yearn for an explosion. While that may be an expectation for many teams across the country when they face lower level competition, I don’t expect that that to be the case for the Hawkeyes this week.

Instead, I look for Iowa to focus on continuing to build on the running game progress that was made a week ago first and foremost. There are likely to be a few more deep shots against a defense that isn’t leading the nation in interceptions, but not enough to appease the message board boo birds. Especially given this Hawkeye defense is a virtual lock to extend their streak of holding teams under 25 points.

Iowa 31, Colorado State 9


In his weekly press conference Kirk Ferentz stated the offense had their best day of practice on Tuesday. I think Iowa starts to open things up a little to prep for the heart of the B1G schedule. Defensively, Iowa matches up well to face a team that wants to throw to their NFL caliber TE and run the ball with a 240-pound running back.

My bold prediction is that one of the true freshman wide receivers gets into the end zone and Iowa stretches their consecutive win streak to double digits.

Iowa 37 - CSU 13


Brian did his best to set Spencer Petras up with high percentage throws through much of the Kent State game and Petras largely complied with his highest passing accuracy to date. It left plenty to be desired from a yards after catch and “scheme guys open” perspective but is a foundation to build on. I think the Hawks use tomorrow’s game against Colorado State to test the downfield passing game, via play-action, just a smidge as quick scores would force the Rams out of their preferred smash-mouth style.

The defense does what it does - we see a couple picks - and Iowa plays the game from 20+ points ahead for much of the game. We see Alex Padilla for the bulk of the 4th quarter against his hometown team.

Iowa 35, Colorado State 9

Rob Donaldson

Last week, the Hawkeyes’ play calling on offense was about as vanilla as you’ll ever see it, as Iowa’s receivers rarely performed double moves on their routes, the passing game was almost entirely one-read-and-throw the entire game with no real play development and the Iowa running game really only excelled on a handful of play and most of those plays came on misdirection calls.

Obviously, Brian and company are trying to divulge as little as possible against these inferior opponents as Big Ten play approaches. That said, the starters were forced to stay in the game for much longer than I’m sure the Iowa coaching staff would’ve hoped this past weekend and there comes a point where you just need pummel an opponent to build up a bit more confidence with your offense. That’s what I think ends up taking place this Saturday, as the Hawkeyes go on to rout the Rams in impressive fashion.

Iowa 44, Colorado State 6


Colorado State has legitimate talent at the tight end and punter positions, a handful of capable pass rushers, and a running back who is bigger than some linebackers. However, Iowa’s defense should be able to make life difficult for CSU quarterback Todd Centeio, and there are plenty of reasons to expect the Hawkeye passing game to look crisper than usual against a Rams defense that has given up nearly 250 yards through the air against less-than-stellar competition. The Hawkeyes should dominate on both sides of the ball, and the coaches can spend the second half prepping for next Friday’s trip to play Maryland on a short week.

Iowa 42, Colorado State 10


You know what people forget?

Steve Addazio has never beat Kirk Ferentz. It’s an exclusive club starring PJ Fleck, Tom Allen, Matt Campbell, Scott Frost, Clay Helton and a bevy of other guys I can’t be bothered to look up right now. Anyway,

Iowa 37, CSU 3


Iowa should dominate this matchup, should not be remotely close. Colorado State has a couple of bad losses including getting 20 pieced by FCS South Dakota State (who I know are the defending FCS national champions, do not bring up NDSU I would prefer not to talk about that.)

I would love for the offense to really put on a show before Maryland next Friday. Go Hawks!

Iowa 42, Colorado State 6


I would really, really like this game to be just a blowout win. The defense, I’m sure, will do their part. Whether the offense can do theirs (on the blowout end, I mean) is a different question. I think Colorado State is a much better tune-up matchup for us than Kent State, so I’m goin to say yes. Get the starters out early in the 4th quarter, try out some stuff, have fun, get ready for next Friday.

Iowa 34, Colorado State 10

Here’s a recap of how we see this one playing out.

That’s how we see things. What’s your prediction for Iowa’s matchup with Colorado State, Hawkeye fans?