Kayser: Iowa’s offense is enough for Michigan

Saturday’s offensive performance for the ages showed Iowa that it is more than capable of taking down Michigan this week.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley carries the ball during a football game between Iowa and Middle Tennessee State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 28, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Blue Raiders, 48-3.

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

Iowa’s offense put on a performance that Kirk Ferentz hadn’t seen in his tenure as head coach, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hawkeyes or their fans. 

Even before this seemingly pointless game against Middle Tennessee, minds were on Michigan. From its close game against Army at the Big House to being blown out of the water by Wisconsin, the hype leading up to the Hawkeyes’ trip to Ann Arbor has been building for a while now.

But first, as Ferentz and his players repeated Sept. 24, they had to focus on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who were 1-2 on the season after losses to Michigan and Duke. 

That focus paid off big time. Iowa’s 644 total offensive yards were split up between 351 rushing and 293 passing. Multiple personal records were broken, and with a secondary that has been anything but healthy so far, the defense only surrendered three points. 

Don’t even try to tell me that that’s not enough to beat Michigan, let alone any team in the nation. 

And, obviously, Middle Tennessee and Michigan’s defenses aren’t comparable by any stretch of the imagination. But for a team coming off of a bye week and, frankly, a bad game at Iowa State, the confidence that this game instills in Nate Stanley and the entire offense is immeasurable. 

Stanley has been known in the past for trying to do too much at once. But on Sept. 28, he ran the ball himself, he passed to three receivers for over 50 yards each, and he has more than enough capable running backs to battle Michigan’s defensive line. 

There were drives in which Iowa should have put seven up on the board but settled for three, and the confidence was never shaken. You’re a lucky team when you can rely on the likes of Keith Duncan to put up points no matter what.

He hit a 49-yard field goal, a career-long, and missed his next one from 39. Know what he did after? Went and hit a 42-yarder. Straight down the middle. The man is confident, and he’s no stranger to facing Michigan. 

I would talk about Michael Sleep-Dalton about how his punts also bring an edge, but we all know that story by now. He’ll be working on plenty of rest, too, since he only punted once on Sept. 28. 

Iowa has the momentum going into Michigan, and that’s important. Now that there is hard proof of what this offense is capable of when Stanley is sharp. Maybe getting Oliver Martin involved in a few more plays would produce more on the passing side, but who’s to say?

Are there things that Iowa can improve on? Absolutely. Michigan has wide receivers that are better than Middle Tennessee’s, so it would help Iowa if the Tuesday update on injuries will be more hopeful than in weeks past for the secondary.

The good news is that Alaric Jackson is back, so looking at the offensive line and what it has to offer, Stanley should be well protected. As for the defensive line, well, A.J. Epenesa isn’t the only explosive guy that provides pressure. 

Good luck, Jim Harbaugh. The Hawkeyes are coming for you. 

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