After taking its first loss of the season in Week 4, there’s nothing like a 52-0 stomping of Rutgers to get Michigan’s (3-1, 1-1) confidence back on track. Coming to town on Saturday is a far better opponent, as undefeated Iowa (4-0, 1-0) flies into town. Led by a familiar face in Kirk Ferentz for the 21st year, this Hawkeye team is stout on defense.
Having a projected top-five NFL Draft pick in DE A.J. Epenesa doesn’t hurt. Epenesa is an absolute terror off the edge who racked up 16.5 tackles for loss last year along with 10.5 sacks. Watch out for Epenesa’s impact on Saturday; Michigan would be smart to have an extra tight end on his side.
The leading tackler for the Hawkeyes is senior LB Kristian Welch, racking up 31 already this season. He also has two tackles for loss.
A familiar name on the Hawkeyes is DB Michael Ojemudia. The younger brother of former Wolverine DE Mario Ojemudia has had a strong year so far with 15 tackles early on.
This isn’t to say the Hawkeyes aren’t difficult to stop on offense, led by potential first-round QB Nate Stanley. The senior quarterback has multiple seasons with 2,400+ yards and 26 touchdowns under his belt. So far this season, Stanley has averaged over 240 yards-per-game with zero interceptions and eight touchdowns. Stanley will be the best passer the Wolverines have faced this year.
The top guys catching passes from Stanley is Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith. Both juniors have three touchdowns and 15 catches this season. Smith-Marsette leads the team with 254 receiving yards.
On the ground, the Hawkeyes shine. The offensive line has two potential first-round draft picks in tackles Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs. The road graders pave the way for a trio of backs headlined by Mekhi Sargent. Sargent has averaged 74.8 yards a game with two touchdowns this year. The other backs expected to get carries are Toren Young and Tyler Goodson.
Michigan-Iowa Football TV Channel, Time and Live Stream
Kickoff Time: 12:00 PM ET
Date: Saturday, October 5
Location: The Big House, Michigan Stadium
TV Channel: BTN
Live Stream: FoxSportsGo
Spread: -3.5 (Michigan)
Pick: Michigan -3.5
Moneyline: Iowa (+145) | Michigan (-165)