Iowa has pounded its opposition into the ground this season, and that likely won't change when the Hawkeyes host Western Michigan on Saturday. Iowa has rushed the ball 160 times for 718 yards over three games, while the Broncos have allowed an average of 245 yards on the ground, including 332 in a 38-17 loss at Northwestern last week. "They are tough, they're physical, they're going to run the ball, they're not afraid to tell you that and you almost know what plays are coming," Western Michigan first-year head coach P.J. Fleck said of the Hawkeyes in his weekly news conference.
Leading that charge for Iowa is Mark Weisman, who is tops in the nation with 85 carries and third with 425 rushing yards. He has been particularly effective the past two weeks, combining for 325 yards and two scores in wins over Missouri State and Iowa State. Meanwhile, Fleck still is looking for his first victory as the Broncos have struggled to put up points.
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Iowa -16.5.
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN (0-3): The schedulers didn't do Fleck - who at 32 is the youngest FBS head coach - any favors in his inaugural campaign. The Broncos are facing their third Big Ten team, and they suffered a surprising loss to Nicholls State of the FCS in their other game. Giveaways have been among the biggest issues - Western Michigan has more turnovers (eight) than touchdowns (seven).
ABOUT IOWA (2-1): The Hawkeyes will be playing their second opponent from the Mid-American Conference, with the first being Northern Illinois - which posted a 30-27 victory at Iowa in the season opener for both clubs. Weisman carried the ball 20 times in the defeat, but his number of rushes has increased into the 30s during the two-game winning streak. Quarterback Jake Rudock (609 yards passing, three touchdowns) is proving the offense isn't entirely one-dimensional, shouldering the bulk of the goal-line duties with four rushing touchdowns.
1. Iowa's 160 rushing attempts ties it with Arkansas for third in the FBS behind Army (167) and Air Force (165).
2. Western Michigan won both of the previous meetings (27-21 in 2000, 28-19 in 2007), each time on the road.
3. Hawkeyes LB Anthony Hitchens leads the team with 31 tackles and needs 11 more to reach 200 for his career.
PREDICTION: Iowa 34, Western Michigan 20