The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Weekly Wager | The Daily Iowan’s official bettor’s guide for Week 11 of the Iowa football season

Each week during the Iowa football season, Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Matt McGowan and Action Network College Football Editor Pete Ruden will place three hypothetical bets of $100. Their picks are listed below and will be tracked throughout the year.
Iowa+defensive+back+Cooper+DeJean+returns+the+ball+during+the+2023+Wildcats+Classic%2C+a+football+game+between+Iowa+and+Northwestern+at+Wrigley+Field+in+Chicago%2C+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+4%2C+2023.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Wildcats%2C+10-7.+
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean returns the ball during the 2023 Wildcats Classic, a football game between Iowa and Northwestern at Wrigley Field in Chicago, on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 10-7.

Pete Ruden’s (17-10, $1543) Picks

Iowa -1

Well, this is going to be disgusting.

Iowa enters Week 11 as a one-point home favorite over Big Ten East foe Rutgers with a total of 28.5.

It’s not a secret that Iowa’s anemic offense likely won’t find a way to successfully attack a Rutgers defense that ranks 21st nationally in Defensive Passing Success Rate. 

However, there is somewhere Rutgers struggles on the defensive side of the ball: on the ground.

The Scarlet Knights boast a middle-of-the-pack run defense that allows 122.6 yards per game on the ground, but they rank 126th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and 125th in Defensive Line Yards. The Hawkeyes don’t excel in those areas offensively, but they’ve shown they can stay on schedule against defensive fronts that can’t control the line of scrimmage.

On the defensive side of the ball, Iowa has done a great job of keeping teams out of the end zone once they cross the 40-yard line, ranking fourth nationally in Defensive Finishing Drives. I’d expect that trend to continue against a Rutgers offense that sits 66th in Finishing Drives.

Plus, Rutgers comes in at 112th in Passing Success Rate. Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt hasn’t eclipsed 200 yards through the air once this season, and he’s approaching Iowa range in terms of completion percentage, completing just 49% of his passes this season, including 44% over his past four games.

Now, Wimsatt could cause problems on the ground, as he ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana on Oct. 21. However, the Hoosiers rank dead last in the conference in total rushing defense, so I’m going to trust an Iowa unit that ranks 33rd in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and second in PFF tackle grading.

Give me the Hawkeyes to muck it up enough to pull off the win.

Under 28.5

I feel like I’ve written this a million times, but I’m going to keep taking Iowa unders until the offense proves I should back off.

The key to this game staying under is the ability of both defenses to limit explosive plays. 

Rutgers leads the nation in preventing explosives on the defensive side of the ball, while Iowa ranks outside the top 120 in creating big plays on offense. On the other side, the Hawkeyes’ defense comes in at second nationally in defending explosive plays, while the Scarlet Knights’ offense sits outside the top 100 in big plays on offense.

Throw in the fact that both defenses have an advantage of over 60 spots in Finishing Drives against the opposing offenses, and this game screams “over” — even if it closes as the lowest total in college football history.

Lock of the Week: No. 21 Arizona -10 vs. Colorado

This game is going to be fun — fun enough that it shouldn’t be on the Pac-12 Network. Media rights aside, I’m fading Coach Prime and the Buffaloes in this spot.

Arizona freshman quarterback Noah Fifita has been electric since taking over for Jayden de Laura, throwing for at least 300 yards in three of his last four games. Over that span, he’s thrown 11 touchdowns to three interceptions while toppling three straight ranked opponents. Two of those three wins came over two of the Pac-12’s top four defenses in terms of total defense in UCLA and Oregon State.

This offense has been absolutely rolling with Fifita at the helm, ranking top-15 in Rushing Success Rate, Passing Success Rate, and Quality Drives. 

It helps to have two stud receivers in Jacob Cowing and Tetairoa McMillan, who have combined for 121 receptions for 1,263 yards and 16 touchdowns.

They should absolutely shred a Colorado defense that ranks outside the top 100 in Passing Success Rate, Rushing Success Rate, Havoc, and Finishing Drives Allowed.

Colorado’s passing attack, led by Shedeur Sanders, should find some success against an average Wildcats secondary, but the Buffs have no running game to speak of. In fact, they ran for a grand total of -7 yards against Oregon State last week. That means they won’t be able to take advantage against the 95th-ranked defense in Rushing Success Rate.

I don’t think a one-dimensional Colorado offense can keep up with this white-hot Wildcats unit, so give me Jedd Fisch’s bunch to keep rolling.

Matt McGowan’s (19-8, $1721) Picks 

Rutgers +1 

This is the first time since Week 1 that I chose the opposing team to cover the number. That week, opting for Utah State to stay within 14.5 of a once-promising Iowa offense, hit, and much to the Hawkeyes’ demise, I think the Scarlet Knights can pull off the upset. 

Against top-ranked Ohio State, Rutgers more than held its own, gathering more total yards, rushing yards, and first downs than the Buckeyes. Yes, Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt is eerily similar to his Iowa counterpart Deacon Hill with regard to his struggles in the passing game, but Wimsatt makes a far greater impact on the ground. While Hill has 427 passing yards this season, Wimsatt has rushed for 411 yards, averaging 45.7 per game. The third-year Scarlet Knight is also a factor in the red zone, scoring seven touchdowns. 

Wimsatt’s partner in the Rutgers’ ground game is running back Kyle Monangai, who leads the Big Ten with 903 rushing yards on an also conference-leading 168 attempts. Hailing from New Jersey, the back has five games of 100-plus rushing yards. With the possible exception of Wisconsin, never before has Iowa faced this sort of potent rushing combination, so they might struggle to adjust at first. Now, I’m not saying Iowa will let 20 points, but Rutgers might score just above Iowa’s offensive threshold. Against a mediocre Northwestern defense, Iowa put up just ten points, with the only touchdown being largely due to a punt block. 

Even with the home crowd at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa is squaring up with the best rushing defense it’s seen since Minnesota, and we all know how that turned out. This Rutgers squad isn’t the laughing stock of recent years, and it has the potential to wipe the smiles off the faces of the Black and Gold faithful. 

Under 28.5 

The sicko college football fan inside of me is salivating looking at this total. This number may as well be USC’s halftime over/under. Instead, the number defines what could be the lowest under-ever hit in college football history, which will most likely occur on Saturday. As I said earlier, this Rutgers team has the potential to score more than 10 points against this Iowa defense, but I don’t see the Scarlet Knights scoring more than 17, as the Hawkeye “D” has conceded 11 points per game over the last five contests. 

Even if Wimsatt leads his squad to 17 points, Hill, with help from his defense, will have to conjure up 12 points against the fifth-best scoring defense in the Big Ten, a unit that yielded just 28 offensive points to the No. 1 team in the nation. 

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. An Iowa football game hasn’t hit an over since September, and boy, those Hawkeyes were a lot different from what they are now. I may not have grown up in Iowa being fed propaganda that a 10-3 football game is fun, but I have learned to embrace the ugliness. 

Lock of the Week: No. 8 Alabama -11 over Kentucky

Yes, I know that based on the current CFB rankings, this game should technically be close, but once the Tide loses once, it becomes criminally underrated by the committee. Losing to Texas on the road in Week 2, Alabama hasn’t lost since, winning by an average of 12 points during those contests. 

Head coach Nick Saban’s squad has finally hit its stride over the past two games, defeating then-No. 14 Tennessee and No. 18 LSU by 14 points each. Granted both of those victories occurred in Tuscaloosa, but it’s not like Kentucky is a world-beater here. The Wildcats have won one of their last four games, a 24-3 drubbing against a mediocre 4-5 Mississippi State team. Wildcat head coach Mark Stoops is 6-2 against the spread as a home underdog since 2019, but at the same time, his squad was also shut out by Iowa in last season. The Tide are on a “roll,” and Saban has every right to run out of the tunnel first. Take note, P.J. Fleck (that guy definitely has the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy in his bedroom). 

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @PeteyRuden Pete Ruden is the Pregame Editor at The Daily Iowan, where he has worked since the beginning of his college career. He has covered a variety of sports at the DI, including football, men's basketball, baseball, wrestling, and men's tennis. Currently a senior, he served as a sports reporter his freshman year, before becoming the Assistant Sports Editor and then Sports Editor his junior year.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
(he/him/his)
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.