If you were looking for a match-up of a pair of sleeper picks in their respective conferences, you might have found it in western Pennsylvania this afternoon. Iowa was widely considered a trendy pick in the Big Ten heading into the season, but the Hawkeyes are coming off a loss at home last week against in-state rival Iowa State. This afternoon they take on a Pittsburgh team that has played well early on and has every bit a chance to win an up-for-grabs ACC Coastal Division. This game may not be generating much buzz, but it has been somewhat entertaining in the first half, with Pittsburgh holding the halftime advantage, 17-7.
Iowa and Pittsburgh have similar offensive philosophies, for the most part. Iowa is typically pretty good running the football, when healthy, but it is Pittsburgh that is excelling on the ground this afternoon. James Connor already has a 100-yard afternoon with 100 yards and a touchdown. Connor is averaging 5.9 yards per carry so far against the Hawkeyes and he is getting an extra push to move the piles at times as well.James Connor already has a 100-yard afternoon with 100 yards and a touchdown. Connor is averaging 5.9 yards per carry so far against the Hawkeyes and he is getting an extra push to move the piles at times as well.
Iowa turned the football over early on with a rather humorous interception when Damon Powell failed to keep his hands on a deep pass. the ball nearly slipped through his hands before his attempt to recover actually redirected the football straight into the hands of Pittsburgh defensive back Lafayette Pitts.
That Pitt interception was quite a gift, if you missed it. https://t.co/aM4cIKAbDM
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) September 20, 2014
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock came back later to try a pass down field, with much more success, but he has not been as locked in and accurate as his Pittsburgh counterpart, Chad Voytik. Voytik is not racking up the passing yards but he is finding receivers with consistency (12-of-14, 130 yards) and letting the running game take care of the rest. If Iowa cannot force Voytik to make some uncomfortable throws or slow down the running game, they could be heading home with a loss.