After a comfortable month of September where the Spartan football team accumulated zero frequent flyer miles, October begins with a trip to the western fringe of the original Big Ten territory to take on Iowa. Iowa has been an interesting team to watch in recent years. On one hand, they have earned the reputation of being a pipeline for tight end talent to the NFL. On the other hand, they have also displayed that they have an anemic offense; they scored 14 or fewer points in half of their games last season. And yet on the third hand, their defense has been incredibly stingy, holding their opponents under 13 points in nine games a year ago. Fortunately for MSU, Iowa tends to have more inertia from season to season that the Spartans do, so we should expect to some adherence to these trends when we go visit Iowa City for our second conference game. Oh, and by the way, MSU will have cracked the top 25 this week.
In terms of the Hawkeyes tight end room, we will be seeing a familiar face here as they introduce former um TE Erick All to their program. Though he may not be all that (see what I did there) and could be second fiddle to Iowa’s leading returning pass catcher, Luke Lachey. Actually, the only player on last year's team who had more receiving yards than Luke was new Detroit Lion Sam LaPorta. No worries though. MSU’s stellar linebackers crew, along with some support from a nickelback or the safeties, will prevent any of them from looking like they are NFL-bound.
Speaking of former um players, guess who is probably going to be Iowa’s starting quarterback. Our old friend, Cade McNamara. After losing his starting job in Ann Arbaugh, Cade is looking for a fresh start with a former conference rival. Well, we have beaten Cade the only time he started for um against us, and that was when he was on a more talented team than the one he inherits in Iowa. So the tape is there for our coaches to be prepared and the MSU defense will make him wish he had transferred to Iowa State instead, though that would still mean he ended up at a school caught up in a gambling scandal.
Lastly, we look at Iowa’s defense which looks to be packed with experienced upperclassmen at all three levels of the formation. This will continue to be the better side of the Iowa team, but since we know not to expect the Hawkeyes to rack up a high score, MSU modestly expect to win the game if they get into the endzone a couple of times. Even with all the new pieces, by the second month of the season, we will have settled into an offensive identity and we will succesfully complete more than two scoring drives.
This will be MSU’s first single-digit margin of victory on the season, but any conference road win is good win. MSU moves to 5-0 to keep the perfect season intact. Meanwhile, in the TOC comments sections, regulars will be claiming they knew we would win our first five games and many other regulars will accuse them of misrepresentations.
10 days until the opener. I can now use my fingers to count down the days.