Central Michigan (1-1) at Iowa (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kinnick Stadium (70,585) -- Iowa City, Iowa. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: CMU 1-1, Iowa 1-1. Away Record: CMU 0-0, Iowa 1-0. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Series Record: Iowa leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Central Michigan Chippewas hit the road for the first time this season on Saturday as they invade Big Ten territory for a matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium.
CMU enters the bout with a 1-1 record after suffering a 41-7 loss at home to the Michigan State Spartans its last time out. Prior to its loss to the Spartans, CMU broke free from a halftime tie with Southeast Missouri State to earn a 38-27 victory in its 2012 season opener. The Chippewas need just two wins to tie last season's total as they finished 3-9 in 2011 in coach Dan Enos' second season. CMU is not a team to be taken lightly however, as it did pull off a thrilling upset of the eventual MAC Champion Northern Illinois in 2011. CMU should be well rested after being idle last week.
This will be Iowa's last test before it begins its Big Ten season. The Hawkeyes are 2-1 after last week's 27-16 triumph over Northern Iowa. Iowa took down Northern Illinois, 18-17, of the MAC in its season opener before dropping a 9-6 decision to Iowa State in a rigorous rivalry game. Coach Kirk Ferentz is attempting to lead the program back to a bowl game for the 12th straight season. Ferentz is 98-67 as Iowa's head coach.
This will be just the third meeting between these programs. Iowa extended its series lead with a 38-0 win over CMU in 1998.
The Chippewas have had polar opposite performances offensively in their first two games, which were against an FCS opponent and MSU's top tier defense. CMU rushed for 324 yards against SEMO before being held to 72 by the Spartans.
Starting QB Ryan Radcliff has an active streak of five straight games with at least one interception dating back to last season. Radcliff has completed 31- of-61 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions in the team's first two games.
CMU's top offensive weapon is halfback Zurlon Tipton. The junior tailback is ranked third in the MAC in rushing with 121 yards per game. Tipton managed to score three times in the season opener, but he was held out of the end zone by MSU. Anthony Garland has not been as productive, but he sees a fair share of carries. Garland had a few strong performances last season as a freshman, including a 141-yard rushing performance against Akron on Oct. 29.
Titus Davis and Cody Wilson are tied for the team-lead with eight receptions each. Davis finished last season with two TD receptions in three straight contests.
The Chippewas have a long way to go defensively. They have forced just one turnover and been dominated by opposing rushers to the tune of 180.5 rushing yards per game. Justin Cherocci is leading the MAC with 25 total tackles coming into this week.
The Hawkeyes are not an explosive offensive team. They are ranked near the bottom of the national and Big Ten rankings with averages of 333.7 total yards and 17 points per contest.
James Vandenberg excelled last season under center, throwing for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Vandenberg is 59-of-103 for 593 yards with no scores and two interceptions through the team's first three games.
Vandenberg's struggles are not due to a lack of targets. Keenan Davis, Kevonte Martin-Manley, and C.J. Fiedorowicz have all reeled in 10 or more catches for 100-plus yards. Davis is leading the way with 170 yards.
The Hawkeyes do not have a consistent go-to-guy out of the backfield. They have had a different leading rusher in four of the last five games dating back to last season. Mark Wesiman stood out last week with 113 yards and three TDs on 24 carries versus UNI.
While Iowa's offense has been sub par, its defensive unit has picked up the slack. The Hawkeyes are holding opponents to 294 yards and 14 points per game. Iowa has yet to give up a point in the fourth quarter. Anthony Hitchens is the anchor of the defense with a Big Ten best 37 total tackles. Defensive back Tom Donatell has recorded two interceptions.
CMU is not going to be able to rack up yards on the ground against Iowa's stingy defense. Radcliff must perform better for the Chippewas or this one will be a replay of their matchup with Michigan State. Vandenberg could have a much needed breakout performance in this one just before Iowa enters conference action.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 38, Central Michigan 21
09/19 11:01:01 ET