A week ago, we were talking about how things weren’t pretty, but at least Iowa escaped with a win against a quality FCS opponent. Now we’re talking about how things were downright ugly and Iowa lost to an in state rival in week two.
The Hawkeyes enter week three with a 1-1 record and statistically the worst offense in the country. That’s offset by a top-6 defense in basically every category (total defense, scoring defense, yards per play allowed, and on and on). Not that the defense or remarkable special teams play has made Hawkeye fans feel any better about things as the meat of the 2022 schedule looms in a few weeks.
But before we get to that point, the Hawkeyes have their non-conference finale on tap this weekend as the Nevada Wolfpack come to Kinnick Stadium for the first ever meeting between the two programs.
The Wolfpack are coming off their first loss of the season as well as they fell 55-41 to Incarnate Word in week two. That was after a pair of wins to start the season as Nevada took down New Mexico State 23-12 and Texas State 38-14.
Here’s an early look at what you need to know about this week’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Time: 6:40 pm CT
Matchup: Nevada Wolfpack (2-1, 0-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1, 0-0)
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Preliminary Weather Forecast: temps in the upper-60s, 20% chance of rain with winds gusting up to 15 mph
DraftKings Opening Line: Iowa -23, O/U 40
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Saturday’s matchup will be the 1st ever meeting between the Hawkeyes and Wolfpack on the gridiron. While Nevada and Iowa have never faced off, the Wolfpack are no strangers to power five competition. Nevada went 1-1 in 2021 matchups against P5 opponents, including a 22-17 win at Cal in week one and a 38-17 loss at Kansas State in week three.
Nevada won their last matchup with a Big Ten opponent when they defeated Purdue 34-31 in the 2019 season opener. That matchup was held in Reno. The Pack haven’t played a road game against a Big Ten opponent since a 2017 week one loss at Northwestern. Nevada is 3-5 over the last five seasons in matchups with P5 opponents, but only last season’s win over Cal came on the road.
Iowa is 2-0 against Mountain West opponents over the last five seasons. That includes a 24-14 win over Colorado State a season ago and a 24-3 win over the Josh Allen-led Wyoming Cowboys in 2017.
Preseason Prep Work
As we march toward kick off, be sure to check out our preseason preview for this week’s matchup. There’s loads of important details and unique looks at this week’s opponent, including this great stat:
131st (out of 131) in returning production: Not only did the Pack lose (Jay) Norvell to greener pastures, but a lot of their stars packed their bags and left Reno. The most notable departure was QB Carson Strong, who went undrafted despite gaudy numbers (74 TDs to 19 INTs & a career 68% completion), though they do return their top 2 rushers.
Also worth noting that despite the lack of returning production, Nevada does bring back a bona fide RB.
Toa Taua (#35, RB, 5th yr, 5’9”, 210 lbs): Taua returned to Reno to try and lead Nevada in rushing for a fifth consecutive year. He’s accumulated nearly 4000 scrimmage yards and dabbles as a kickoff returner as well.
Here’s a look at the preseason predictions for this one, though those predictions are looking more and more meaningless with each 3-and-out we see.
Staff Prediction: Iowa Win, Unanimous
Fan Prediction: Iowa Win, 99% of the vote
BizarroMath Prediction: Iowa 32.17, Nevada 25.19 (Iowa -6.98); 61.2% chance of Iowa win
Stay tuned all week as we dive deeper on the players, matchups and stats to know as the Hawkeyes face off with the Wolfpack.