Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh finally finagled a signature victory, that 42-27 triumph over Ohio State that so quenched Michigan fans everywhere.
This squad isn’t finished, though. There’s more to come from the dynamic team that upended the mighty Buckeyes, and Harbaugh has been trumpeting outstanding defensive end Aidan Hutchinson for the Heisman Trophy.
We don’t know about that likelihood, but this Michigan machine is hitting its stride. It has tallied fewer than 29 points only once over its past eight games, and its tough running game powers this one over its total on FOX’s national feed.
Oddsmakers at most books including Caesars, DraftKings, and BetMGM had the total at 43.5 as of Thursday afternoon.
No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (11-1, 10-2 ATS)
Hassan Haskins isn’t even the fastest tailback on his own team. No matter, he’s been a bulldozer for the Wolverines this season, and when he was needed most he delivered against Ohio State.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior ran for triple-digit yardage for the sixth time, and it was a season-high 169 that sealed the Buckeyes’ fate, a defeat to Michigan for only the second time in 17 seasons.
Haskins’s five touchdowns thrilled the six-figure crowd inside snowbound Michigan Stadium. His 1,232 yards place him 16th in the country. He has dashed for at least 100 yards 10 times as a Wolverine.
And Harbaugh had the services of his two-pronged ground attack when 5-8 sophomore Blake Corum, who sat out two games nursing an ankle injury, ran six times for 87 yards. He nearly hit triple figures for the fifth time this season.
The power of that tandem will be a huge asset to Harbaugh in this Big Ten title game.
Iowa has only allowed four teams to run for 100 yards this season, and never in back-to-back games. Last time out, at Nebraska, the Huskers ran for 129 yards and three touchdowns, the most on the ground for any Hawkeyes opponent in 2021.
On the year, Iowa allows a flat three yards per run to the other guys, eighth-lowest in the country. Its average yield of 106 ground yards is 11th.
Wolverines junior quarterback Cade McNamara might have a tough time when Harbaugh does let him throw, since Iowa’s completion allowance of 55.1% to opponents is a top-10 figure.
That running game will key McNamara in being able to make a few throws, likely to either of his stout tight ends, Erick All (10.3-yard average on 32 catches, only one touchdown) or Luke Schoonmaker (three TDs).
No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2, 7-5 ATS)
Consecutive defeats to Purdue and at Wisconsin, in which Iowa could only muster a single TD in each game, sullied an otherwise solid season that started with six consecutive victories and has produced a four-game winning streak.
The key for Iowa is its defense, since its offense is mediocre. And that’s being kind. The Hawkeyes average 121 yards on the ground, 178 through the air. Both are among the bottom quarter of the country.
Quarterback has been an issue, as 6-5 fourth-year junior Spencer Petras has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Alex Padilla, a 6-1 third-year junior, has completed fewer than half of his 97 attempts, with two TDs and one interception.
That leaves a lot on the plate of Tyler Goodson, a 5-10, 200-pound tailback who might be the fastest guy on the Hawkeyes’ roster. His 4.54-second 40-yard dash might be challenged by only cornerback Matt Hankins and safety Quinn Shulte.
He has run 238 times for 1,101 yards, scoring six times. Plus, he catches about two passes a game, for nearly nine yards a nab, and has scored once through the air.
Michigan, however, is top-20 nationally allowing only 3.5 yards a run and 123 rushing yards a game.
Padilla, Goodson and the rest of Iowa’s offensive unit will become familiar with Michigan linebacker David Ojabo and Hutchinson, who have combined for 23 quarterback sacks.
Both are considered top-15 NFL draft prospects, and one outlet even floated Hutchinson as a potential No. 1 selection.
Iowa’s past three games have gone over their totals, and we see that continuing in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Iowa Vs. Michigan Pick
Over 43.5 (FanDuel)
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