Sitting in a parking lot in Iowa City, I see a lack of excitement in the fans. Granted the game doesn’t start for another 8 hours, but there’s not many people here. Night games are something that should be celebrated, especially since Iowa hasn’t had one since 2012. Hopefully people will start to show up, and the pregame festivities will soon go into full swing.
Iowa plays Pitt for the 7th time since 1931. The series is currently tied 3-3. Iowa won the most recent meeting in Pittsburgh last year with CJ Beathard coming in late in the game after Jake Rudock got injured. Beathard surged ahead and helped the hawks secure a victory. This year, Iowa hopes to do the same.
Pitt comes into the game without the ACC player of the year James Conner. The star running back got hurt two weeks ago and won’t be in this game. Hawkeye fans should breathe a huge sigh of relief. Conner caused some damage last year. He ran for 155 yards on 29 carries. Thats an average of 5.3 yards per carry. To put that in perspective, Iowa’s star running back Mark Weisman only had 88 yards on 22 carries for an average of 4 yards per carry.
Pitt, aside from their injured running back, is nothing special. Everything that they have, we have, and we do it better. Pitt’s defense isn’t explosive, and their offense will struggle without Conner. Many major news outlets such as ESPN, The Kansas City Star, and the Chicago tribune have all unanimously picked Iowa to beat Pitt, but the game won’t come easy. Iowa will still have to play good football.
Time for some predictions for the game
- Iowa makes lots of big plays. Big plays were the key to the game against Iowa State, and look what they did to finish off that game. Beathard will be looking downfield for big plays, and with the great arm strength and accuracy he showed a week ago, he will be able to connect for huge gains.
- Ott and Daniels don’t see the field. This is a sad prediction, but It will be good for the team as a whole. Iowa shouldn’t need them to win this game, and if they have a week off, they should be better rested to play in the coming weeks. Pitt’s defense won’t be brutal to Jordan Canzeri, so he should get lots of carries, and maybe he could even show the Iowa coaching staff that he deserves more.
I predict the final score to be 24 – 10 in favor of the hawks. I don’t think Pitt will be able to get it done on offense, and Iowa will walk out of Kinnick with their third straight double digit victory. (And they will have only played 3 games!)