Everything that seemed to ail the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team last week should be forgotten about for one day. For one day the inexperience of the quarterback and wide receivers, the discrepancy between the strengths of the offensive personnel and the game plan, the lack of talent on the defensive line and in the secondary will all be irrelevant. Saturday is Missouri State day. It will be a good day in Kinnick.
Forget the fact that Saturday will be the first time the Bears will have ever played a Big Ten team. Nevermind the fact that Missouri State is 1-28 all time against FBS teams with that one win coming 23 years ago at UNLV. Don’t pay much attention to the fact that Big Ten teams are 38-2 against Missouri Valley Football Conference teams. This Bears team is bad even when compared to its peers.
The Bears rank in the bottom three of the MVFC in almost every major statistical category after one game. Last year, Missouri State finished sixth in their conference in total offenses and eighth in total defense. The 2013 roster includes 24 returning players from that team. The Bears would be outmatched in most games in their conference, much less facing a Big Ten team on the road.
Last week in a 23-17 home loss to Northwestern State, the Bears managed 312 yards of offense, mostly gained by junior quarterback Kierra Harris. Harris’ arm and feet produced 240 (77 percent) of those 312 yards. Senior running back Mikael Cooper-Falls added 43 rushing yards on 12 carries. Harris’ leading receivers were senior Dorian Buford and junior Julian Burton who had five catches each. Defensively, the Bears allowed 405 yards of offense in last week’s game. Junior linebacker Andrew Beisel led Missouri State with ten tackles. The Bears did come up with two interceptions and one sack.
Prediction: the Hawkeyes will just be too much for the Bears to handle. Containing Harris when the Bears are on offense should be easy because the Bears have nothing else to throw at the Hawkeye defense. When Iowa is on offense, Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman should run wild on a defense that finished dead last in the MVFC in rush defense last season. This game will be comparable to a fist fight between Manny Pacquiao and a premature infant; Hawkeyes win 38-10.