The Hawkeyes Mic picks are in for the Iowa – North Texas game. Unanimity reigns once again. Check them out – see if you agree or disagree…
Scott Dochterman – Iowa 48-24:
This game might be more challenging than most people think. With the heat coupled with a quick-tempo passing scheme, Iowa’s defense could get worn down by North Texas if the Hawkeyes don’t get a good pass rush. Iowa could help its defense immensely if its offense can stay on the field and wear out the Mean Green through its physical ground attack.
I think a little of both happens on Saturday. Iowa is too good to get challenged for too long, but I can see North Texas sustaining some drives. The best-case scenario for Iowa is to build enough of a lead to where its reserves seen plenty of playing time. I think it probably happens in the fourth quarter.
Steve Batterson – Iowa 34-17:
On a hot mid-September day at Kinnick, don’t expect the Hawkeyes to have to sweat this one out. There will be challenges. Quarterback Mason Fine orchestrates a big-play offense that has averaged 580.5 yards during its 1-1 start, working with a solid group of receivers and a back in Jeffery Wilson who averages 8.5 yards per carry. On the flip side, Iowa will work against the first 3-4 defense it has seen this season.
With Penn State looming, expect the Hawkeyes to keep it simple this week and give Akrum Wadley a bit of a break from the workload he has seen through two games. That should position James Butler and Toren Young for big days.
Tyler Tjelmeland – Iowa 31-14:
Iowa is better in all aspects of the game and it should win easily over the Mean Green. That said, this game sets up to be a hangover game after the incredible finish over in-state rival ISU last week. Couple that with the Hawkeyes looking ahead to next week when the B1G season starts up with a game against #5 Penn State at Kinnick under the lights, I think Iowa struggles to “get up” for this game.
The Cyclones were able to find holes in the Iowa secondary last week and Jacob Park had a couple big plays that went for TD’s because of Iowa’s breakdowns. Look for North Texas to work at exploiting that weakness with the air raid offensive attack. The Mean Green have a decent running back in Wilson, so the front seven will have to wrap up and tackle, which they didn’t do well against ISU.
Turnovers killed North Texas last week against SMU and I see the Iowa defense finding a couple of those even if they start slow.
The offense had success through the air last week, but Wadley was a big part of that. The ground game hasn’t really been anything to write home about this year with a poor YPC average. I expect that to be a focal point for Saturday for the coaching staff. Yet another reason I perceive the score to be lower than many might expect for Iowa. It’ll be interesting to see how the offense adapts with Ike Boettger being out this week. Injuries are always tough, but it’s a good thing Iowa has a week to adjust to his absence before B1G play starts.
Jack Brandsgard – Iowa 42-14:
The last time North Texas visited Iowa City, they were trounced 62-16. The Mean Green are a much different and improved team compared to their 2015 squad. Quarterback Mason Fine can sling it, and the Mean Green’s team speed could give Iowa some trouble on the edge.
At the end of the day, however, the Hawkeyes are simply too good for North Texas. Iowa’s offensive line should dominate up front, allowing Akrum Wadley to add a few clips to his highlight reel. This game will also provide Nate Stanley a chance to get more experience under his belt. Defensively, the Hawkeyes’ front seven should impose their will on North Texas’ offensive line.
I doubt North Texas sustains any long drives against the Hawkeyes, but they could break one or two big plays to get on the board.
John Patchett – Iowa 49-17:
The two things that worry me most about this game are the heat coupled with the Hawkeyes’ Defense inability to substitute effectively vs. Iowa State’s up-tempo offense last week. North Texas may be even worse in that respect. Hopefully Phil Parker has a plan in mind that will actually work this Saturday. I expect UNT will get a few of their explosive plays. I also expect Iowa’s Defense to limit the number of times UNT actually gets in the end zone.
Offensively, Iowa showed the potential that it has numerous weapons it can employ against opposing defenses. OC Brian Ferentz is calling plays that completely go against Iowa’s offensive tendencies out of certain formations. I’m sure the Hawkeyes Game Plan is to ground and pound in the heat and keep UNT’s Offense on the sidelines. But if the Mean Green try to load the box to stop the run, QB Nate Stanley has shown he can hit the big pass plays to numerous Iowa receivers who appear to actually be able to create separation and go downfield. Oh, and then there’s Akrum Wadley. Not to mention James Butler. And some of the younger guys who I think you will see Saturday.
I’ve debated what the final score should likely be – lower and a bit closer or something like the 2015 game. OK – I’m copping out and going somewhere in between. I just don’t think – as the game grinds on in the heat – that North Texas is a match for the Hawkeyes – especially in Kinnick. I also don’t think this Iowa team overlooks UNT and the whole “trap game” thingy with Penn State looming next weekend.