Iowa seeking 4-0 starts vs. Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee (1-2) at No. 14 Iowa (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten), Saturday at 12 p.m. EDT (ESPN2).
Line: Iowa by 23 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Iowa will look to finish nonconference play unbeaten. The Hawkeyes could even move into the top 10 with many of the teams ahead of them in the poll facing much tougher matchups.
Iowa’s secondary vs. MTSU QB Asher O’Hara: The Hawkeyes are banged up in the back, and O’Hara has been the catalyst for the Blue Raiders all season long. O’Hara has completed 70.8 percent of his passes and is averaging 267 yards passing through three games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Iowa: WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette: He leads the Hawkeyes with 11 catches for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and Middle Tennessee is vulnerable through the air. The Blue Raiders are allowing nearly 240 yards passing per game.
MTSU FS Reed Blankenship: Underdogs typically need to create some chaos to pull off an upset, and Blankenship excels at that. The junior free safety has two interceptions, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in just three games.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Blue Raiders have knocked off five Power Five teams in coach Rick Stockstill’s 14 seasons in charge. They last knocked off Syracuse in 2017. …Iowa kicker Keith Duncan is one of just five kickers nationally with at least eight tries to be perfect on field goals. … MTSU is 67-7 under Stockstill when scoring at least 30 points. But the Hawkeyes are allowing just 10.3 points an outing, which ranks seventh in the nation. … Iowa is seeking its fifth 4-0 start under Ferentz. The Hawkeyes went on to win at least 10 games in 2003, 2009 and 2015.