2:30 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium • TV: Ch. 5 • Radio: 100.3-FM
Line: Iowa by 1½ • Series: Gophers lead 61-43-2
After going 4-8 last year, the Hawkeyes have built momentum with impressive wins over Missouri State, Iowa State and Western Michigan.
Gophers offense vs. Hawkeyes defense
The strength of Iowa’s 4-3 defense is the senior linebacker trio of Christian Kirksey, James Morris and Anthony Hitchens. The Gophers rank third in the Big Ten with 282.2 rushing yards per game, but Iowa has held three teams in a row below 75 yards rushing. QB Mitch Leidner will have less room to run, and the Gophers will need to prove their passing game is better than their season totals (33 completions, 421 yards) make it look. Advantage: Gophers
Hawkeyes offense vs. Gophers defense
Iowa QB Jake Rudock has five passing TDs and four rushing TDs, though he’s more of a scrambler than a runner. Mark Weisman averaged 28 carries for 142 yards in Iowa’s first three games. Stopping Iowa’s running game will be a huge test, especially for the Gophers’ two junior college transfers at linebacker, Damien Wilson and De’Vondre Campbell. Advantage: Hawkeyes
Iowa’s Kevonte Martin-Manley leads the nation with a 31.8-yard punt return average, including two touchdowns in a span of 59 seconds last week. Iowa kicker Mike Meyer is 5-for-6 on field goal attempts. Gophers kicker Chris Hawthorne is 5-for-7 on field goals and 18-for-21 on extra points. Advantage: Hawkeyes
It’s homecoming, and the Gophers will have their first sellout crowd since last September’s win over Syracuse. This time, the challenge might be keeping players from getting over-amped and making mistakes that play right into Iowa’s hands. Advantage: Gophers
Leidner and Rudock each let his inexperience show with head-scratching moments in a low-scoring first half. Weisman powers Iowa into the lead, but the Gophers defense tightens, and Leidner pulls it out not with his legs but with his arm, throwing two fourth-quarter TD passes.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
20 Catches for Iowa receiving leader Kevonte Martin-Manley.
7 Catches for Gophers receiving leader Derrick Engel.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT …
B.J. Lowery - Iowa CB has three INTs over the past two games, returning two for TDs.