College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Michigan State vs. Iowa 11/7/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Michigan State visits Iowa on 11/7/2020 at 12:00PM.

Michigan State and Iowa face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. Michigan State has a record of 1-1 this season. Iowa is 0-2 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Michigan State Team Defense Preview

Michigan State has had 27 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 5.63 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Michigan State opponents pass the football 53.95% of the time.Michigan State tends to face teams that prefer to air it out or opponents want to air it out against them.

Michigan State opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Michigan State can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 1.86 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. When it comes to getting to that second level, running backs are getting stopped. This defense does not allow themselves to be gashed. Opponents have shown a relatively average level of explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play against them.

Disruptive plays are a part of the fabric of this team’s defensive effort. Game changing plays that drive Offensive Coordinators and Quarterbacks crazy, they find ways to deliver. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Michigan State is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Michigan State Team Offense Preview

Michigan State has had 27 total drives this season and they generate 5.48 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Struggles to get ahead of the chains and convert on third and fourth down are common, the offense can stagnate. Passing plays make up 50.00% of their play calls.Relatively speaking, this is a team that favors run/pass balance.

Michigan State struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 1.73 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Michigan State Offense. Front sevens of opposing defenses are causing a lot of problems. Michigan State is a better passing team than running team this season.

Iowa Team Defense Preview

Iowa has had 24 total defensive drives this season and they yield 6.17 plays per drive. The struggle is real. Iowa cannot find a way to get opposing offenses off the field. Three and outs are not common and if the team needs a three-and-out late in a game to get the ball back, it is just not happening.Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Iowa opponents pass the football 47.30% of the time.Their opponents favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Iowa opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 2.38 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. When it comes to getting to that second level, running backs are getting stopped. This defense does not allow themselves to be gashed. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

This is not a disruptive Defense and they get pushed over way too easily. Perhaps they are too vanilla with playcalling. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Iowa is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Iowa Team Offense Preview

Iowa has had 26 total drives this season and they generate 5.5 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Iowa is an average offense when it comes to staying ahead of the chains, getting into 3rd and Short scenarios, and converting on 3rd and 4th Down. Passing plays make up 62.24% of their play calls.This is an Air Raid Offense team, they are going to pass the ball a lot and running plays are only used to keep opponents honest.

Iowa is not doing anything particularly special as far as their ability to avoid negative yardage plays on the ground. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Iowa can take credit for 3.14 yards per carry. This offensive line may be underappreciated, even though the running backs get the attention. The Iowa coaching staff really deserves credit for how they prepared this offensive line, but they could be a little bit better! The offensive line and running back corps deserve a lot of credit for gashing defenses with their running game like the way they have this season. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had trouble making big, disruptive plays against Iowa this season. Iowa is among the best in the country at keeping defensive front sevens at bay. Opposing defenses need their secondary players to step up and cause trouble in order for this Offense to be disrupted. Iowa has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

The Michigan State Roster

The Players to Watch for Michigan State

Rocky Lombardi QB 6-4 225

This season, Rocky Lombardi has put up 642 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has thrown 2 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 157.0thus far this season. Rocky Lombardi has thrown 2 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Rocky Lombardi has 15.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 49.61 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 12.0 times this season, which puts him in the 54.71 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Jordon Simmons RB 5-11 195

This season, Jordon Simmons has 98 rushing yards on 28 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 0 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Jordon Simmons picked up 24 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 3 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Ricky White WR 6-1 175

This season, Ricky White picked up 201 yards. He caught the ball 9 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Naquan Jones DT 6-4 340

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Michigan State, Naquan Jones has 5 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 80.33 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 36.61 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Jacub Panasiuk DE 6-4 250

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Michigan State, Jacub Panasiuk has 10 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 74.03 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 33.46 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Tre Person S 5-11 170

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Michigan State, Tre Person had 15 tackles which puts him in the 67.59 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 79.41 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 1 times last season. Tre Person as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 40.81 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Chris Jackson CB 6-0 200

Considered the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Michigan State, Chris Jackson had 9 tackles which puts him in the 60.22 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 2 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 93.49 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Chris Jackson as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 38.66 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

The Iowa Roster

The Players to Watch for Iowa

Spencer Petras QB 6-5 231

This season, Spencer Petras has put up 481 yards and 1 touchdowns. He has thrown 3 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 96.3thus far this season. Spencer Petras has thrown 3 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Spencer Petras has 14.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 48.82 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 8.0 times this season, which puts him in the 43.53 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 1.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Tyler Goodson RB 5-10 200

This season, Tyler Goodson has 120 rushing yards on 29 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 1 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Tyler Goodson picked up 67 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 7 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette WR 6-1 179

This season, Ihmir Smith-Marsette picked up 84 yards. He caught the ball 7 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Daviyon Nixon DT 6-3 305

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Iowa, Daviyon Nixon has 18 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 6 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 98.09 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 94.26 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 1 fumbles this season.

Chauncey Golston DL 6-5 270

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Iowa, Chauncey Golston has 10 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 74.03 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 33.46 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Jack Koerner DB 6-0 205

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Iowa, Jack Koerner had 18 tackles which puts him in the 74.74 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 79.41 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Jack Koerner as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes last season, which puts him in the 88.29 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Michigan State vs. Iowa Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Michigan State 15 Iowa 20

Spread Pick: Michigan State +6 -110 Will Hill
Moneyline Pick: Iowa -200 5Dimes
Total Pick: Under 47.5 -112 Bookmaker