Iowa vs Stanford: The Rose Bowl – Pregame Thoughts

The Granddaddy of Them All

Happy New Year, Hawk fans! It’s a new morning, and more importantly, a new year. Now I’m sure that when this gets posted, you will all be sound asleep, recovering from a long night of parting, but I am wide awake. It’s the Rose Bowl, and for those of us luckily to be in Pasadena on a day as grand as this one, we must make the most out of every fleeting minute. As I touched on before, Iowa has only been to five of these before, and this is the first one in 25 years. Lets make it a party!

Before we talk about today, lets talk about last night. Not the partying, the football games. This was originally going to be posted on the morning of the 31st, but clearly that didn’t happen. I would’ve touched on how I thought MSU would beat Clemson in Arizona later on this month, but Alabama shattered my prediction. It is unfortunate for MSU, and likewise, the Big Ten. I think that, unfortunately, Alabama has an easy walk to holding the championship trophy, but Clemson will make them work for it.

Wanted to share this cool video posted by Iowa’s video editor before I got too far into this article. Go to his twitter account (@ChrisRuthIOWA) to see more videos like it. Play this again before the 4th quarter tonight!

Now for today’s game. Lets start with the obvious: Christian McCafferry. McCaffery was the Heisman runner-up and the AP Player of the year. He’s the most versatile player in college football. He rushes, receives, returns, and passes. He constantly takes snaps in place of the quarterback, and when the quarterback gets the ball, it’s usually going to McCaffery one way or another. He is their offense. He’s responsible for 13 touchdowns this season. He’s constantly making huge runs through big holes made by Stanford’s offensive line. Iowa needs to have top-notch run defense when he’s in the backfield, and have Desmond King guard him when he’s lined up wide. Even when he’s in the backfield, however, he’ll run straight out into the open field to make a reception.

If it seems like 13 touchdowns for a guy like him isn’t enough, thats because Stanford has a man named Remound Wright. Wright has 77 carries for only 209 yards, but 13 rushing touchdowns himself. He’s the guy that gets the ball close to the goal and pounds it in. Luckily, Iowa’s red zone & goal line defense is pretty outstanding, minus a small lapse in the end of a game versus Michigan State. I think that Stanford will need big plays to score, but Christian McCaffery is the man to make big plays.

Stanford’s defense, however, would be the main reason you didn’t watch them play on new year’s eve. Stanford’s defense sits in 50th place allowing 375 yards per game, and giving up an average 23 points to poor Pac-12 teams. Their rush defense sits in the lower third of FBS, allowing 4.6 YPC, the same as Iowa’s offensive average. Don’t expect Canzeri or Daniels, who are both healthy, to have any problems against Stanford’s defense.

Let’s start with something that’s different on offense than the last 10 games; CJ Beathard is healthy. He hurt his groin/thigh during week three against Pitt, and his condition has both risen and declined since then. Today at the Rose Bowl, He is reported to have 100% mobility. Remember CJ Against both ISU’s? He was a very mobile quarterback, being able to keep plays alive while the pocket collapsed to make huge plays. He was borderline dual-threat when he was completely healthy. He showed glimpses of full health at Nebraska and in Indianapolis, but expect CJ to move his feet around and make plays.

Unfortunately, Jake Duzey has reinjured his knee in practice, and he won’t return to the playing field for the ultimate conclusion of his senior season. It is a shame to see an amazing tight end have his career cut short by injury, but as a struggling Kirk Ferentz said a little over a year ago, “That’s Football,” There are no new injuries to report, and everyone else has healed up and is ready to play, save for Drew Ott, who’s still waiting to hear from the Big Ten about his medical redshirt.

I predict a high-scoring offensive shootout. I think Iowa will win 42-38. I do honestly think that Iowa is a great team who can bully Stanford’s poor defense and send them home empty-handed. Stanford simply has no quality wins and is champion to what is easily the worst power 5 conference this year. It’ll be easy for Iowa to contain Christian McCaffery, seeing as Iowa’s defense is the best Stanford has played all year by quite a bit. I guess we’re just a few short hours from finding out the result. It’s great to be a Hawkeye!

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