You heard it here first: Points will be scored in Saturday’s game between Michigan and Iowa. Tell all your friends.

When quarterback Brad Banks and the Iowa offense – which is good enough to be the 11th-ranked scoring offense in the nation, averaging 38 points per game – come to the Big House, the Michigan defense will have its hands absolutely full.

They can beat you on the ground: Tailback Fred Russell has chalked up 897 yards already this season, and Banks’ 206 yards (4.6 per carry) give him a McNabbian dimension.

The Hawkeyes can beat you in the air: Banks has thrown for 1,575 yards, which while not impressive itself, is made extraordinarily impressive when you consider that he has thrown more touchdowns this season (15) than any other passer in the Big Ten, that he averages more than nine yards per pass, and that his interception total (four) and tendency to avoid the rush (Banks has been sacked just four times) gives him the fourth-highest quarterback rating in the country.

And the Hawkeyes can especially beat you in a close game: Iowa’s kicker Nate Kaeding has been a perfect 15-of-15 on field goals and leads the nation in scoring with 80 points.

“You’re definitely aware if you have mobile quarterback back there, particularly for the defensive ends making sure they don’t widen the rush pass lane or rush lane, maybe contain them a little bit more,” Michigan defensive lineman Shawn Lazarus said.

The Michigan defense has been spotty this season. Its success has come in its ability to shut down the run, but that trait has been missing when the Wolverines have faced mobile quarterbacks like Banks. Notre Dame’s Carlyle Holiday and Purdue’s Brandon Kirsch both brought a dimension of versatility to the game that complicated Michigan’s defensive schemes.

Expect to see scoring on the other side of the football as well. Iowa’s secondary is undoubtedly the weakest link in the Hawkeye chain, and Michigan quarterback John Navarre has been positively dangerous in the pocket. Iowa is allowing more than 320 yards per game in the air, and Navarre’s ability to pick apart coverage seems to be getting better with each passing week. But Michigan will probably have little luck running the ball to keep the Iowa defense honest; the Hawkeyes rank second in the country in run defense, holding opponents to less than 70 yards per game on the ground.

“They have a dangerous offense,” Navarre said. “Both teams are going to try to keep the other offense off the field. If we possess the ball and keep their offense off the field, we’re going to have a chance. If we do get in a scoring battle, we have confidence that we will be able to give ourselves a chance and be there until the end.”

Both teams, then, will be firing out of their well-stocked arsenals on what is forecasted to be a sunny October Saturday. An offensive shootout favors neither team, but a close shootout – a close anything – favors Iowa and its reliable kicker. No matter what, expect to see some action on the scoreboard.

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