The Iowa Hawkeyes got themselves back on track a week ago in one sense. Iowa sits alone atop the Big Ten West standings thanks to a road win over the Northwestern Wildcats and losses from not one, not two, but all three other West teams still truly in the race.
But Iowa did not get back on track in the sense that the offense still looks completely lost under Brian Ferentz and backup QB Deacon Hill. The Hawkeyes managed just 169 yards of total offense a week ago and continue to solidify their place at the bottom of the national ranks for offensive output.
In that miserable output, though, the offense did do a few things better. Hill has been consistently below 40% completion percentage in virtually every appearance this season, but in the win over the Wildcats he completed a much improved 67% of his passes. And while that only amounted to 65 total yards through the air, the Hawkeyes picked up a slew of pass interference calls that helped move them deep into NW territory in the first half.
They were unable to capitalize on those opportunities and Hill ultimately threw an interception in the endzone on perhaps their best shot. But he also seemingly redeemed himself by throwing a perfectly placed ball to connect with Ohio State transfer WR Kaleb Brown for 23 yards to set up the game-winning field goal by Drew Stevens.
Saturday brings a brand new test, though, as Rutgers comes to town with a top-20 defense nationally. The Scarlet Knights are giving up just under 18 points per game and only 4.5 yards per play on the season. As always, scoring opportunities will be at a premium for this reeling Iowa offense.
On the other side of things, it will surely be up to the Iowa defense to continue their top-5 ways. The Knights come into the day averaging nearly 27 points per game and just more than 330 yards per game. That’s largely based on a powerful running game where Rutgers averages more than 184 yards per game on the ground.
They’re led by running back Kyle Monongai, who’s averaging more than 5.4 yards per carry on the year. But it’s not just Monongai out of the backfield. The Knights also boast a dual threat QB in Gavin Wimsatt. While completing just under half of his passes on the year, he’s running for more than 4.5 yards per carry on the season.
Phil Parker’s bunch will need to keep Wimsatt in the pocket and continue to do what they have done all season in the ground game: keep the Knights out of the endzone.
As we countdown to kickoff, here’s everything you need to know about today’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, November 11th
Time: 2:30 pm CT
Matchup: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-3, 3-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (7-2, 4-2)
Location: Kinnick Stadium- Iowa City, IA
Updated Weather Forecast: cloudy with temps in the low-50s, 0% chance of rain
DraftKings Sportsbook Line: Iowa -1, O/U 28
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Keep an eye out for the availability report, which is set to be published around 12:30 pm CT. Recall that’s a new item in the Big Ten this season with availability reported two hours before game time.