But holy smokes, is Ricky Stanzi ever trying to raise peoples' blood pressure. For the second straight week, Stanzi threw what we considered his worst, most definitive, Stanziest of the STANZIBALLs, this one a game-opener to Donovan Warren who, with a different set of rules, could have crawled into the end zone unmolested. [ . . . ]
Stanzi's antics have now directly cost the Hawkeyes a touchdown in three of the last four games, a Jarrett Lee-like display that ended a whole lot worse for LSU last season than it has for Iowa thus far. In those three games, each of whom was an unranked opponent now and at kickoff, the average margin of victory has been five points. Obviously, you can't take points off the board in the middle of the game and expect the rest of it to play out exactly the same, but if Iowa wins all three of those games by an average of 12 points instead, we've got a much better comfort level and maaaaybe a better ranking thus far. Probably a moot point unless Iowa wins in Columbus, but something worth pointing out all the same.
MSU linebacker Greg Jones said the plan of attack is pretty straight forward for stopping a duel-threat like Moeaki.
"He can only do so many things at one time - he's (either) gonna block or go out for a pass," Jones said. "He's gonna use his size to his advantage, and if I was that big I would too, so it's gonna make it pretty simple."
Speaking of the rush, hello half of the state of Michigan: if Michigan's game plan was explicitly "Make Stanzi beat us," they went about it the correct way. Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher were effectively minimized as threats, combining for 91 yards on 23 carries. Worse, the two garnered only three first downs on the ground (all Robinson in the third quarter), with Stanzi registering three of his own. That's not exactly the type of production that usually leads to Iowa scoring 30 points.Fortunately, with Michigan putting 11 players, 4 couches, 3 cheerleaders, and Sad Michigan Girl in the box, that left the secondary very susceptible to big plays, and Moeaki's delay routes as the receivers ran off coverage led to two easy, easy touchdowns, the second of which accounted for Iowa's last points of the day.
The prediction below is weird: it builds in what appears to be a 50-50 shot at Iowa having one more game-crippling mistake than Michigan. I think if M gets that game crippling mistake they will be in it at the end with a chance to win, possibly attempting to defend and Iowa game-winning drive. If they don't I think they end up in a hole and threaten to break out of it from time to time but never actually do so, with the cold and the crowd and the Iowa defense finally reining in Forcier when the game's on the line.