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Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Free Pick 10/5/13

Michigan State Spartans (3-1) at Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1)

College Football: Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Kinnick Stadium)

The Line: Iowa Hawkeyes -1 -- Over/Under: 42 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN2 HD

The Michigan State Spartans head to Iowa City this Saturday to face off against the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are sitting at 4-1 this season and a sitting atop the Legends division (ok, only they and the Gophers have played a conference play as of yet, but still…).  The Hawkeyes play an old school brand of football, and while it can bore you to tears at times; it has been effective this season.  The main reason for the success of this offense is not the play of their backs necessarily, but the play of sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock.  Rudock started the season off shaky, throwing a pick against Northern Illinois that ended up costing the Hawks the game, but since then the new signal caller has played well, making plays with his feet and his arm.  The Hawkeye offense was effective against the Minnesota Golden Gophers this past weekend.  Iowa racked up 464 total yards of offense against the Gophers, 246 of which came on the ground.  Weisman led the way once again for the Hawkeye ground attack, as the bruising back rushed for 147 yards on 24 attempts, averaging better than six yards per carry on the day.  Rudock was effective again for the Hawks, throwing for 218 yards and a score against the Gophers.  The Hawkeyes may have some trouble keeping up with some of the faster, spread teams in the Big Ten, but this team is well suited to face the pro-style offense of the Spartans as the Hawkeyes have perhaps the best set of linebackers in the conference.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Free Pick 10/5/13

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans were off this past weekend, giving them plenty of time to iron a few things out offensively, as well as prepare for the Hawks.  As is usually the case with the Spartans, defense is not an issue.  Michigan State is allowing just 13.3 points per game on average this season, which includes holding the Irish to 17 points, and USF to just six.  The offense is the real question here for the Spartans, and for them, it starts with their passing game (or lack thereof).  Michigan State is averaging just 153.8 yards per game through the air, giving the Spartans the 113th ranked passing attack in the nation, and considering some of the defenses this team has faced…that’s really, really bad.  In the Spartans last game on September 21st against the Irish, Michigan State threw for just 135 yards total on 36 attempts.  I have heard differing opinions as to whether Cook or Maxwell will get the start under center for the Spartans against the Hawkeyes this Saturday.  Either way, ever since the departure of Kirk Cousins to the NFL, the quarterback spot has been a major Achilles heel to this team.  The Spartans are going to need to run the ball against Iowa, which is no easy task against that stout Iowa front seven. 

The Spartans have done well as an underdog, going 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games as a dog.  The Spartans are also a solid road play, going 7-3 against the spread in their last ten road games.  Iowa is just 7-12 against the spread in their last three seasons as a favorite.  So far in Kinnick this season, the Hawkeyes are just 1-2 against the spread.

I’m going to have to take the under in this spot.  Neither the Hawkeyes, nor the Spartans have shown me much offensively this season, and I see no reason why that will chance on Saturday, especially facing the opposition’s defense.  Iowa is running the ball more than seventy percent of the time this season, and with their suspect quarterback play, look for the Spartans to keep it on the ground as well, chewing even more clock.  Iowa likely wins outright, but the safest move here is on the under. 

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Under 42

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