No. 20 Iowa opens with Miami (Ohio)
Miami (Ohio) (6-6 last season) at No. 20 Iowa (9-4), Saturday at 7:40 p.m. ET (FS1).
Line: Iowa by 22.
Series record: Iowa leads 4-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
This will be Iowa’s only tuneup before Power 5 matchups with Rutgers and No. 21 Iowa State, so Saturday might be its only opportunity to work out the kinks. Miami will look to continue the momentum it built in finishing with six wins in its last nine games in 2018.
Iowa’s defense vs. Miami’s QB. The RedHawks lost three-year starter Gus Ragland and have yet to announce which of the three underclassmen listed on their depth chart will make the start. But Miami does return three starting offensive linemen, and having a quarterback no one has tape on could work to its advantage — especially in the first half.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Iowa: RB Mekhi Sargent. He finished with back-to-back 100-yard games to close out the regular season a year ago and figures to get the bulk of the Hawkeyes‘ carries in 2019. But Iowa won’t hesitate to give bruiser Toren Young the ball if Sargent struggles.
Miami: WR Jack Sorenson. He had 52 catches for 742 yards last season and should serve as a security blanket in the RedHawks’ rebuilt passing attack.
FACTS & FIGURES
Miami will also be without backs Kenny Young and Alonzo Smith after compiling 4,602 combined yards rushing with 31 touchdowns. … Iowa jumped out to a 35-7 lead and cruised to a 45-21 win the last time these teams met in 2016. … Miami’s last win over a Big Ten team came in 2003, when it beat Northwestern 44-14. …Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa was named to the AP’s preseason All-America team. He led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks a year ago.