Michigan survived its first scare of the season against Maryland in Week 4, falling behind 13-10 in the second quarter, but eventually coming away victorious with a 34-27 win. The Wolverines mounted a strong comeback effort in the second half mostly because of RB Blake Corum, who ripped off a ridiculous 30 carries for 243 yards and two touchdowns against the Terrapins. J.J. McCarthy has stepped up as the unquestioned starting QB after Cade McNamara suffered an injury against UConn in Week 3.
We'll talk about the Hawkeye defense in a minute, but Michigan's defense has been nearly as good as Iowa's to start the year. The Wolverines are ranked inside the top ten in terms of opponent points allowed per game, surrendering 11 points on average to rank seventh in the nation.
Now, all of this could be a bit misleading as well due to Michigan playing a cakewalk schedule to start the year. We saw Maryland test them early with Taulia Tagovailoa completing 20 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. The Terrapins' rushing attack was able to do some damage as well, averaging roughly four yards per carry and a touchdown.
We all know what the talking point here will be, and that is defense, defense and more defense. Iowa has found ways to win football games this way, along with great special teams contributions as well. The offense has been less than stellar, but this one stat I find to be amazing. QB Spencer Petras only has a 51 percent completion rate and one touchdown, yet the Hawkeyes have managed to score 27 points in consecutive wins against Nevada and Rutgers. Huh? That is just a testament to how elite this defense is, and how awful the offense can be.
Iowa is ranked first in the nation in opponent points per game, allowing only 5.8 points during their first four games. Yes, these include teams like South Dakota State, Nevada, and Rutgers, so they don't exactly have the strongest schedule. Their only loss came in a disappointing 10-7 game against Iowa State, where the Hawkeyes defense forced three turnovers but allowed Cyclones to sneak by with a victory.
These teams are both loaded on defense, there is no arguing that. Michigan has superior offensive personnel, however, which is a big reason why they are massive -390 moneyline favorites. Neither team dominates the other historically and Michigan looked vulnerable at times against Maryland last week. Just give me the under here at 42.5. The Hawkeyes may get shutout completely here, and Iowa's defense is good enough to put a hold on Michigan's attack.