Three Michigan footballers to watch against Iowa
Last week, Michigan’s defense was put to the test against a vaunted Maryland offense. This week, that will swing with Michigan’s offense facing a tough task against Iowa’s vaunted defense. Here are three players who could be game-changers with standout performances on Saturday.
1. QB JJ McCarthy
Any good offense starts and ends with the quarterback, and Michigan will need a good performance from McCarthy to keep the ball moving. Iowa’s defense is good at just about everything, but its run defense is especially solid. Their pass defense, however, showed some cracks, with Rutgers throwing them 300 yards last weekend. That would go a long way for Michigan to score early in Iowa and have their helpless offense trying to catch up all game.
McCarthy will also have to avoid turnovers that could tip the game in favor of Iowa. Their defense has forced seven to four games, including knocking out Rutgers twice last Saturday and forcing five fumbles throughout the season. Protecting the ball will be huge to avoid a surprise.
2. WR Ronnie Bell
This selection goes hand in hand with the McCarthy pick above. Bell slipped back into his role as the primary offensive target, leading the team in receptions and yards. His reliability will be important to McCarthy as he can provide safety cover when things go wrong. Finding Bell in the slot to move the chains on third down will be key for Michigan to keep drives alive and earn as many scoring opportunities as possible.
3.P Brad Robbins
Iowa is known for its perennial excellence in punting, which allows it to pin opponents deep and take the pressure off their offense. If this game turns into a slugfest, Michigan will have to rely on Robbins to provide that same role for the visitors. Robbins could provide valuable field position that ends up shortening the field for Michigan’s offense and bringing them closer to the end zone.