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Grace Smith

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell carries the ball to the end zone after an interception during a football game between No. 17 Iowa and Illinois at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Campbell had on interception on the day for 32 yards. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 33-23 at the last home game of the season.

Stopping the run

A Hawkeye victory starts with limiting the Michigan running game. Something Ohio State couldn’t do a week ago.

Wolverine tailback Hassan Haskins found a lot of open space when the Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes, 42-27. The senior from Saint Louis, Missouri, rumbled for 169 rushing yards and five touchdowns in Ann Arbor last weekend. If he does that in Indianapolis on Saturday, it won’t be pretty for Iowa.

Six of Haskins’ 28 carries a week ago went for more than 10 yards and those rubs helped to set up an effective play-action pass game for Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara. Just like the Hawkeye offense, everything starts with the run game for the Wolverines.

Michigan’s rushing game has produced 35 of the Wolverines’ 53 touchdowns and Haskins has contributed 18 of those scores. He is tied for the Big Ten lead in rushing touchdowns. Haskins is the Big Ten’s second leading rusher with 1,232 rushing yards.

In Michigan’s lone loss of the year, a 37-33 defeat at the hands of rival Michigan State Spartans, the Wolverines ran for just 146 yards — their second-lowest single-game total of the season. Penn State held Michigan to 144 yards on the ground in a 21-17 Wolverine win.

If the Hawkeyes limit the run game, they’ll keep it close until the final minutes.

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