116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa’s next opponent will be a clear step up in difficulty from what the Hawkeyes have seen so far this football season.
The Hawkeyes’ first three FBS opponents have combined to win two bowl games in the last four seasons, and one of those wins came in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
No. 4 Michigan, on the other hand, is coming off a College Football Playoff appearance and a 39-point throttling of Iowa in the Big Ten Championship.
Here are five Michigan players to watch in Saturday’s rematch at Kinnick Stadium:
RB Blake Corum
Blake Corum has been a menace for opposing defenses this year as Michigan’s No. 1 running back.
The junior running back has averaged at least 5.8 yards per carry in each of Michigan’s four games.
He had an especially monstrous performance in Michigan’s 34-27 win over Maryland, rushing for 243 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
Corum is not a new threat for Iowa. He had a 56-yard touchdown run against the Hawks in last year’s Big Ten championship game to give Michigan an early 7-0 lead in what eventually became a 42-3 rout.
With 74 yards on five carries, Corum was the Wolverines’ leading rusher against the Hawkeyes in 2021 despite now-NFL running back Hassan Haskins also being on the roster at that time.
QB J.J. McCarthy
J.J. McCarthy arrived at Michigan with plenty of hype.
247Sports ranked him fifth among quarterback recruits in the 2021 class and gave him a five-star rating.
After appearing in 11 games in 2021 as Cade McNamara’s backup, it now seems to be McCarthy’s time after winning the early-season quarterback battle. McNamara started the first game, McCarthy started the second game and McCarthy has been the guy for the Wolverines since.
The former high-profile recruit has so far lived up to the hype.
He has gone 48-for-60 — an 80 percent completion rate — with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
McCarthy’s passer rating is 204.5, and his QBR is 82.9. Iowa’s Spencer Petras, in comparison, has a 97.1 passer rating and 11.6 QBR.
LB Junior Colson
It didn’t take Junior Colson long to make an impact after arriving on Michigan’s campus in 2021.
The linebacker played in every game as a true freshman. He started seven times and had 61 tackles.
Now as a sophomore, Colson has a team-high 30 tackles through Michigan’s four games.
Colson was the only Michigan player to receive votes in Cleveland.com’s preseason poll of Big Ten beat writers for conference defensive player of the year.
K Jake Moody
Special teams aficionados saw two of the best punters in college football in the Iowa-Rutgers game. This week, one of the highest-acclaimed kickers in college football will be traveling to Iowa City.
Jake Moody, a fifth-year senior, has never missed a field goal from closer than 30 yards. From 30-39 yards, he hasn’t missed a field goal since 2020.
He matched his career-long field goal distance with a 52-yarder against Maryland last week. He is 6-of-10 in his career from 40-49 yards and 2-of-5 from 50-plus yards.
Moody received preseason All-America honors this year from the Associated Press, Walter Camp Foundation and Sporting News.
He became the first Michigan player to win the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the best kicker in college football, and was a consensus All-American in 2021.
DL Mazi Smith
Thankfully for Iowa’s offensive line, Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo are off to the NFL.
The line still will have to deal with Mazi Smith, though.
The 6-foot-3 senior is coming off a game with a career-high eight tackles against Maryland.
Smith earned a spot on the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the best defensive player in the country. (Iowa’s Riley Moss and Jack Campbell also are on the watch list.)
The former four-star recruit had offers from Alabama and Ohio State, per 247Sports, but he instead chose Michigan.