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With or without Denard Robinson, the Wolverines will still be sizable favorites over the Hawkeyes. Michigan has not lost at home yet this season and it will be senior day in Ann Arbor for this game. Of course there's always the worry that Michigan is looking ahead to their final game against Ohio State, but it will be a tall task if Iowa wants to come close in this one. The Hawkeyes have lost four straight games including a road loss at Indiana and home loss to Purdue. When playing one of the better teams in the conference, they fell at home to Penn State by 24 points.
Iowa has actually won three straight games in this meeting, but that could easily come to an end this weekend. They won 24-16 last year in Iowa City. That was when their defense was better and their offense was actually clicking. This year, they have trouble stopping anyone from scoring and are not even in the Top 100 in the nation in scoring offense.
James Vandenberg's season has been... tough to swallow to say the least for Iowa fans. He has five touchdowns and six interceptions for the entire season. That's 10 games worth. He finished with 27 touchdowns last year in his first season as the starting QB. The loss of wide receiver Marvin McNutt has been devastating for the passing game. Duties in the backfield has been split between two oft -injured running backs. Damon Bullock is healthy and the starter once again. He managed 23 carries last week, but only came up with 43 yards. Michigan's defense will look to get back on track after giving up 31 points to Northwestern last weekend.
The Wolverines quarterback is still a question mark, but that shouldn't be a huge deal in this game. While Denard Robinson is a great runner, Devin Gardner is a better passer. In Gardner's two starts, he threw for 520 yards or 260 per game. Robinson is averaging 180 passing yards per game and that's not even including the game he got injured in and missed the second half. Michigan doesn't have any great true WRs, but Jeremy Gallon and Roy Roundtree have been Gardner's top targets. The two combined for 12 grabs for 233 yards last week. Without Robinson in the backfield, Fitzgerald Toussaint has actually been running better. He averages just 3.8 yards per carry on the season, but has averaged 5.2 YPC over his last two games.
The Hawkeyes haven't covered in four straight games and are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 road games. The Wolverines are a poor 10-27 ATS in their last 37 conference games, but 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. Iowa is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings between these schools. The under is 6-1 in the Hawkeyes last seven games vs. a team with a winning record while the over is 5-2 in Michigan's last seven games vs. a team with a losing record.
Hard to make a recommendation one way or the other here as this game is off the board as of this writing. What we can tell you is that our model likes Michigan by a score of 26-12 using season to date stats and 28-9 using just the last 5 games. Obviously, the status of Robinson is key.
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