Game day is fast approaching once again and for the second straight week, a game Hawkeye fans thought would be a gimme in the preseason is all of a sudden a question mark. Just over 99% of Iowa fans polled expected Iowa to beat Rutgers before the season began. Every staff member had the Hawkeyes getting a W this weekend. Then the offense pooped their big boy pants for two straight weeks and we all got cold feet.
Despite the trepidations about the Iowa offense, The Pants stand firm with the Hawkeyes. We’re all still taking Iowa to win this one and we think it could be a barn burner. As in, we might go light a barn on fire and watch that instead. On average, the BHGP staff is predicting a final score of 15-9, which is a totally normal football score when you’re talking Hawkeyes and field goals.
That would put us more than a full point inside the 7.5 point line from our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. Our 24 total points is WELL below the already laughably low over/under total points of 34. So yeah, we’re here for the defense and the punting, which should be TREMENDOUS.
Here’s a look at our individual predictions for this week.
I think we saw some glimmers of hope in week three. No, all is not well, but we saw Iowa at least willing to take some shots downfield and that opened things up in the running game. That was the gist of my thesis for Iowa being a quality team this year. It was Nevada and we can caveat this to death, but at minimum Brian Ferentz used a playbook that is in line with what I expected to see out of this offense all season long.
Do I think it works as well against a defense with a pulse in Piscataway? No, no I do not. but I think it does just enough to get a win with one of the best defenses in the country.
Prediction: Iowa 10, Rutgers 6
Tory Taylor 45.3 ypp, Adam Korsak 43.2 ypp
This week we get a primetime game featuring two offenses who don’t do much and whose main purpose is to give the opponent a long field. Iowa wasn’t able to put me to sleep with a game going well past 1:00 AM, but it doesn’t mean they won’t give it another shot this week.
I think the game could turn on a missed tackle or two by one team or the other. It is looking like another week with Keagan Johnson out of the lineup. I think we see Petras finally connect on a sideline pass with Brody Brecht this week as Rutgers will likely have 8-9 in the box throughout the game.
Prediction: Iowa 16, Rutgers 10
If you throw out the two all-world punters, this game sounds borderline unwatchable. Kirk Ferentz wouldn’t want it any other way. Iowa’s offense showed a heartbeat last week, but it was against a terrible defense. I’m terrified to see our offense go against a solid defense AND a terrific punting team. I don’t see us sustaining a touchdown drive against anyone with a pulse. I will be content (happy?) getting a road win.
Prediction: Iowa 13, Rutgers 6
Iowa’s first and only trip to Piscataway, NJ was a defensive slugfest that ended in a 14-7 score. Don’t be shocked if history repeats itself this Saturday. Both teams boast excellent defenses and truly elite special teams units, and are content to play the field position game. Meanwhile, there are still far more questions than answers surrounding Iowa’s offense, while Rutgers has enough problems at quarterback and along the offensive line to raise questions about their ability to score many points against Iowa. Iowa’s biggest edge lies in its experience playing slugfests like this; Rutgers merely adopted trying to win games in the mud and the muck, while Iowa was born in it.
Prediction: Iowa 17, Rutgers 10
These are two teams who worship at the altar of field position. I think both teams have what-would-be-otherwise-backbreaking turnovers deep in their own territory. Iowa turns theirs into a TD or two while Rutgers just settles for field goals.
Prediction: Iowa 17, Rutgers 6
I’m expecting Iowa’s playcalling to retreat back into its shell and wait for Rutgers to lose rather than trying to win. The downfield passing and more creative run design we saw last week? Shelved. Facing long fields and a Big 10 defense, I think Iowa’s risk tolerance for frequent downfield passing dries up and the the chariot turns back into a pumpkin. Or in this case, more like the rickshaw turns back into a beet. This game will fittingly go down in history as the Kicker’s Duel, as the long fields generated by the historic punting coupled with two marginal offenses playing competent defenses leads to a fast of field goals.
Prediction: Iowa 12, Rutgers 9
It’s been a strange week folks. JPinIC found out that his wife and I are second cousins. I guess that makes us technically related as well? Idk how any of that works but welcome to the family and I’ll see you at Christmas.
This game is the perfect capper to this past weeks antics and frankly, as a former punter, the most anticipated game on my calendar. Which ever punter makes the opposing teams inept offense have to drive farther for points will win this game. I expect the Hawkeyes to win that battle and force a few turnovers to boot so give me the Hawkeyes in this game.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Rutgers 10
folks, let’s not beat around the bush here. It’s Iowa/Rutgers football. You’ll get what you get and like it. We’ll have a bad time together. Again.
Prediction: Iowa 14, Rutgers 10
I really don’t have a reason to pick the Hawks - road game at night with a crowd that might have some pops in them, bad offense, Rutgers might be on the up again under Greg Schiano - but there’s that one little sticking point: I think Iowa’s personnel is better overall. Rutgers isn’t terrible, but I think Iowa has better talent and it will somehow get them over the line. It’ll be a lot of flailing around offensively, on both sides, a ton of Punting is Winning, on both sides, but I think Iowa does just enough to get it done. The defense gives Iowa a couple of short fields and they capitalize.
Prediction: Iowa 17, Rutgers 7
Do I feel better about Iowa’s offense after last week? Yes. Do I think everything is fixed and the Hawks are going to put up 35 against Rutgers? Yeah, no. Don’t get me wrong, what we saw last Saturday was encouraging but there is still a long road ahead to get to something approaching a good offense. Nevada was a baby step in the right direction, but this weekend we’ll need more of a grown up jump.
This game has been promoted as a punting extravaganza, and it will absolutely be necessary for Taylor to have himself a game. Iowa and Rutgers rank 3rd and 5th in the conference, respectively, for yards allowed per game. Conversely, Rutgers and Iowa are also 13th and 14th, respectively, in offensive yards per game. So this one may get ugly folks. So whichever punter can most consistently win the field position battle will give their team a leg up (see what I did there?...leg...get it?....okay then) in the overall war.
This is the first night game with fans for the Scarlet Knights since 2017, and with a sellout crowd that may spell trouble for a young offensive line and shaky QB. I’m going with the Hawks here, trusting that Phil’s D will be opportunistic enough to grab some takeaways and scoring on one of them.
Prediction: Iowa 17, Rutgers 13
So that’s how we see things playing out. We’re all probably wrong so please don’t bet based on us. We’d love to hear your predictions in the comments below!
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.