The Iowa Hawkeyes kept things moving forward in week two and they moved to 2-0 on the young season with a 20-13 win over the Iowa State Cyclones. While the final score shows a one-possession game and the Cyclones held the ball with a chance to tie the game, Iowa felt comfortably in control for most of the week two contests.
This despite once again struggling to find success on the offensive side of the ball outside the first to drives of the game, which are largely scripted pre-game. Iowa managed just 20 total points and only one offensive touchdown as cash Sebastian Castro put the game away with a pick-6 in the second quarter. We saw Brian largely pack things in from there with the few riskier calls falling flat as the Cyclones clawed their way to a respectable score.
That follows a similar path to week one, where Iowa also got out to a multi-score lead and then packed things in before letting the opponent cling to hope. As they pivot to week three, the Hawkeyes will once again be pushing for an opportunity at a multi-score lead. the question now is whether Iowa will keep their foot on the gas or will Western Michigan be the third straight team to hang around late with the Hawkeyes.
For their part, the Broncos are coming off a 48-7 blowout loss at the hands of the Syracuse Orange in week two. At 1-1 on the year, Western Michigan is hoping to make this a ballgame and go into MAC play on the right foot.
That’s not what Vegas is predicting. Our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook opened this one at Iowa -27 with an over/under at 43.5 total points. The line has moved up modestly to Iowa -28 while the O/U has fallen a point to 42.5 total points.
Whether or not the Hawkeyes can really, finally, blow out an opponent and top that 25 point threshold, it’s set up to be a great day inside Kinnick Stadium. The preliminary forecast for Saturday calls for temps in the upper-70s by kickoff with some modest cloud cover to keep you comfortable and only a slight risk of precipitation.
Here’s a quick look at the details for this weekend’s non-conference finale.
Date: Saturday, September 16th
Time: 2:30 pm CT
Matchup: Western Michigan Broncos (1-1, 0-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0, 0-0)
Location: Kinnick Stadium - Iowa City, IA
Preliminary Weather Forecast: partly cloudy with temps in the upper-70s, 10% chance of rain
DraftKings Opening Line: Iowa -27, O/U 43.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
This weekend will mark the fourth meeting between Iowa and Western Michigan and the first between the two programs in the last decade. The Hawkeyes dominated that meeting 59-3 back in 2013 when the Broncos were coached by now Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck. While the head Gopher has never beaten Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes, Iowa has never beaten Western Michigan without Fleck at the helm.
The Broncos hold the all-time series lead 2-1, having won the first two meetings in the series. The first came in a 27-21 win back in 2000 in the second year of Ferentz’s tenure in Iowa City. The second meeting came in 2007 when the Broncos capped off a miserable Iowa season with a 28-19 win in Kinnick.
Despite the struggles against Western Michigan, Iowa has had success against the MAC. The Hawkeyes have won their last five matchups with the conference and haven’t lost to a MAC opponent since Northern Illinois came into Kinnick and opened the 2013 season with a road win over Iowa.
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 set of stats:
8: The Broncos had eight straight seasons at or above .500 prior to last year’s 5-7 outing which led to Tim Lester’s firing. After 2013, where they went 1-11 under PJ Fleck, saw them reach six bowls in eight seasons which speaks to the proliferation of bowls.
23: The Hawkeyes have made hay with non-offensive scoring, and Western Michigan has had success there as well with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, a kickoff returned for a score, and a safety. Though the Broncos experienced turnover, they retained their defensive coordinator Lou Esposito and will look to continue turning defense into offense.
49.9%: WMU completed less than half of the passes they threw last year, with both Jack Salopek & Treyson Bourget returning to compete for the starting job. Neither has separated in spring ball which is not necessarily a good thing in their quest to get a W in Iowa City.
24.1: The Broncs defense was ranked 50th in the country in points allowed & 2nd in the high-flying MAC. Their low-water mark last season was allowing 45 to cross-state rival, Eastern Michigan.
And here’s a look at the preseason predictions for this one.
Staff Prediction: Iowa win, 100% of the vote
Fan Prediction: Iowa Win, 100% of the vote
BizarroMath Prediction: Iowa 29, Western Michigan 3
Be sure to check back in throughout the week as all preview and postgame stories will be published to this stream.