The Hawkeyes are a tough team to read. Defensively, the Hawkeyes appear to be pretty good, maybe really good. Before the Wisconsin game, Iowa had not allowed an offensive touchdown all season. Iowa State beat the Hawkeyes 15-13 with five field goals; Iowa shut out what then appeared to be a terrible Syracuse team 35-0; and beat Northern Illinois 16-3 at a quasi-road game at Soldier Field during the opening weekend. Against Wisconsin at Camp Randall, Iowa allowed two TD drives and a field goal, but the game really was a close defensive struggle. The Badgers outgained Iowa 304-228. The Hawks punted 10 times, Wisconsin 8. Iowa averaged 2.3 yards per rush, Wisconsin 3.4. Clearly, Wisconsin had the statistical edge, except for turnovers: Iowa was perfect in that regard, while Wisconsin coughed up two fumbles and an interception.
Clearly, Iowa's offense has struggled a bit, although for the last decade IU's defense has been just what the doctor ordered for such offenses. Iowa's QB, Jake Christensen, has completed more than 50 percent of his passes only once, in the thrashing of Syracuse, and is at 52 percent for the season. Despite his inaccuracy, Christensen has not been sloppy (or perhaps has been really lucky): he has only one interception and six TD passes. He has been sacked 11 times, 4 times against Wisconsin.
While comparing team statistics at this time of year is tricky because of varying quality of competition, Iowa is dead last in the Big Ten at 19.3 points per game. IU, buoyed by an easier schedule, is third at 36.8. Iowa has 542 rushing yards (10th) to IU's 910 (3rd); 17.8 first downs per game (11th) to IU's 24.5 (3rd) (to show you how much this means, Minny-freaking-sota is ahead of IU in the last two categories); 710 passing yards (1oth) to IU's 920 (4th); and 3130 yards of total offense per game (11th) to IU's 457 (3rd).
Defensively, Iowa has allowed 8.8 points per game (2nd) to IU's 21.3 (9th); 235 yards per game to IU's 329 (7th); 588 passing yards (2nd) to IU's 832 (6th); 354 rushing yards (4th) to IU's 484 (7th). IU leads the way with 7 interceptions, but Iowa is tied for second with 5.
According to Sagarin, Iowa has played the #60 schedule, while IU's schedule ranks a I-AA-ish 158, so adjust accordingly. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that IU's strength will be going up against Iowa's weakness and vice versa. [EDIT: that's exactly wrong, of course. IU's strength (offense) will be going up against Iowa's strength (defense), and IU's weak defense will attempt to stop Iowa's weak offense. But you know what I meant.]