Michigan vs. Iowa game preview: Can Wolverines keep momentum for Big Ten title?

Big Ten Championship on the line

A.J. Henning #3 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first quarter at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Mike Mulholland, 2021 Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – The game Saturday night will decide the Big Ten Conference championship and a berth into the College Football Playoff for the Michigan Wolverines.

Clearly, there is a lot on the line for the maize and blue and head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines are coming into the title game off of one of the biggest wins not just in the past 10 years or in the Harbaugh era, but in program history. David finally overcame Goliath, beating the Ohio State Buckeyes 42-27 at the Big House.

The men in maize could only celebrate so much as the task at hand is not done, and if you’ve been watching college football this season, then you know that Iowa is no slouch.

The No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes were once the No. 2 ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll after starting the season 6-0 before falling to the Purdue Boilermakers and the Wisconsin Badgers ahead of rattling off four wins in a row to cement their place in the Big Ten title game.

So what’s at stake?

Saturday will be the Wolverines first appearance in the Big Ten title game since its inception in 2011. Reading that statement aloud seems like a shocker since Michigan has such a rich history. The program trails only the Alabama Crimson Tide in all-time wins at 954 to 949.

A victory will get them their first title since splitting it with the Hawkeyes in 2004 while also making their first appearance in the College Football Playoff. For Iowa, this is their second appearance in the championship game since falling to Michigan State in 2015, but an upset would all but certainly cash their ticket to a Rose Bowl berth.

By the numbers

Iowa enters the title game 10-2 while Michigan comes in at 11-1. In their previous matchup in 2019, the Wolverines won 10-3.

The Wolverines are on a one-game winning streak against Iowa and lead the all-time series 42-15. Both teams are 5-5 out of their last 10 contests, with Iowa winners of three out of the previous five games.

Heisman hopeful Hassan Haskins (18 TDs) is one rushing touchdown shy of tying running back Ronald Johnson, who has the school record of 19 set back in 1968.

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins (25) celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Michigan won 42-27. (AP Photo/Tony Ding) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Although Michigan’s offense can be potent at times, Iowa’s defense ranks third in the country in takeaways with 28. Of of those 28 takeaways, 27 came in their 10 wins, meaning if Iowa is ahead in the turnover battle, they’re more than likely going to cash in more times than none.

The Wolverines rushing offense is top nine in all of college. Their defense is one of the best in the nation, led by conference sack leader Aidan Hutchinson (13) and David Ojabo (11). They will look to trounce on the Hawkeyes putrid offense, which is bottom 10 in all of college football.

The old saying in college athletics is to find the team that storms the field the week prior and bet against them the next as they’ll have a let-down game the following week.

Michigan has been glowing all week about beating the Buckeyes, but the Hawkeyes offense seems unable to move the ball at times. Bet with a team full of leaders who know how to lead.

Related: Michigan football to wear patch honoring Oxford High School shooting victims for Big Ten title game

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.