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Home / Hlas: It’s Melvin Gordon vs. Team X (Hawkeyes) Saturday
Hlas: It’s Melvin Gordon vs. Team X (Hawkeyes) Saturday
Everything is set up for Iowa's football team to beat Wisconsin Saturday and have a shot to win the Big Ten West.
(Please, just play along.)
First, know that no running back in the history of college football had back-to-back 408-yard rushing games. I don't know who this Melvin Gordon fellow thinks he is, but you don't run for 408 on top of running for 408.
In fact, no one had ever had 408 in just one FBS game before Gordon did it Saturday as his Wisconsin team obliterated Nebraska in Madison, 59-24. Since Gordon didn't play in the fourth quarter, he figures to be rusty when the Badgers come to Kinnick Stadium Saturday.
Second, the Hawkeyes are on a roll at home. They haven't lost there since Sept. 13. OK, they've only played there twice since Sept. 13, but that's not their fault.
Third, though a little snow didn't slow Wisconsin a bit against Nebraska, what if a half-foot or so fell between pregame warm-ups and the final horn Saturday at Kinnick? That would surely slow the Badgers down, no?
OK, let's ease up on the silly stuff and come to grips with reality. Which is, the Hawkeyes will be a considerable underdog this week. And that's not a bad thing for them.
Who will have a full week of distracting spotlight as a byproduct of Gordon's record-shattering day against pulverizing of what we had believed was a pretty good Nebraska team? Wisconsin, that's who.
The Hawkeyes won't be built up to be anything more than extras in this 2:30 p.m. ABC production. They'll be written off as victims-in-waiting for the Wisconsin wrecking crew that won its last four games by an average of 33.3 points.
The buildup will be all about what Gordon can do for an encore on the way to the inevitable Wisconsin-Ohio State Big Ten championship game.
That's all good for Iowa. Low pressure, low profile, and a high potential reward if it plays a great game.
Of course, there's also this: The Hawkeyes are finally playing a really good team. It's their first ranked opponent of the season.
It's a Wisconsin club with the Big Ten's No. 1 scoring defense and total defense. It's a team that averages 39 points per game and allows 15.
This Iowa squad that gave up large numbers of rushing yardage to Indiana, Maryland and Minnesota now faces someone that averages 86.8 more yards on the ground than any other team in the conference.
Gordon has 1,909 rushing yards in 10 games. That's absurd. Backup Corey Clement has 742, 66 more than Iowa's leading rusher, Mark Weisman.
Saturday, Gordon had six carries of 35 yards or more. Iowa has three all season.
Yet, you see it almost every Saturday. The previous week's immortals can get feet of clay, especially on the road. Surprising results happen.
Northwestern, a team Iowa crushed in its last home game, won at Notre Dame Saturday. Oregon State took down No. 6 Arizona State Saturday night.
Still, when it comes to Iowa hosting Wisconsin I'm reminded of what Bobby Jones said about Jack Nicklaus after Nicklaus won the 1965 Masters.
'He plays a game with which I am not familiar.''
If you're an Iowa fan, you may want snow on Saturday. Lots and lots of snow.
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