On Saturday, Minnesota will be going on the road to Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. The Gophers beat Iowa soundly last year 33-0 in the friendly confines of TCF Bank Stadium, but this year they’ll be on the road in hopes of a much needed win if they are to have a shot of staying in the Big Ten race.
Minnesota, is 2-1 this season and coming off a tough loss last week against Ohio State. Iowa had a win against Purdue earlier in the season, but are coming off a bye week after a hard loss to Indiana and are currently 1-2 in conference play.
For Iowa to win, head coach, James Estes said the team needs to utilize their speed and dynamic ball-hawking skills as well as using the open field to attack. Their fast defense will be necessary in eliminating Minnesota’s kicking game.
Both Minnesota and Iowa have been facing challenges the past few weeks. But with player injuries, Minnesota has had a tough time playing to full potential. For Minnesota to win, they need to emphasize a strong set piece to take control of the game.
Keep an eye out this Saturday for Peyton Lauber and Zack Henslee of Minnesota who are hard hitters as well as fast players. Iowa’s key players include a slew of young athletes including Taylor Young, the captain and fly-half, David Ryberg, who used to be a running back for Iowa football, and Stewart Smith, the fastest player on the team.
Iowa vs Minnesota is a classic Big Ten conference rivalry and both teams desire to win will make Saturday’s game a must watch. Will Iowa’s fast pace prevail? Or will Minnesota’s strong attack control the game?
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While the Iowa and Minnesota game get the top billing, maybe the most important game of the day will be in Bloomington Indiana as the Hoosiers welcome an undefeated Michigan in a game that will potentially give one of these teams a spot at the Big Ten Universities Championship game.
Michigan is currently 4-0 and ranked #10 in D1A, but they will undoubtedly face their toughest competition of the year this weekend in Bloomington. Indiana is currently ranked #16 in D1A standings with a 5-1 record. Their only loss coming from non-conference opponent and varsity power #4 Lindenwood in their first game of the year.
Players to Watch: For Indiana its Teddy Terezis. This Sophomore Center for the Hoosiers is leading the conference in points scored (37), and conversions made with 11 in the last two games. He also has three trys in his last two games as well. Also look out for Jake Hidalgo (Wing) and Tyler Graham (Flanker). These three players are all sitting in the top ten for trys scored in the league and help make up just a part of this try scoring juggernaut.
For Michigan you need to keep an eye out for Senior Flyhalf, Joel Conzelmann who was last week’s BTU Player of the Week. Joel went 7 for 7 last week on conversions and nailed two penalty kicks to boot. Junior Flanker, Chening Duker is another Wolverine that Indiana will need to try and stop this week. Duker is a stud flanker for Michigan who has three trys on the year. He’s a great compliment to the Michigan defense, but is even more impressive with ball in hand.
The game on paper looks to edge in Indiana’s favor. Last year Indiana beat Michigan 58-38 in the Big Ten Championship game on a neutral site. And for Michigan pull off this win on the road they are going to need to play a very sound defense to slow down the massive Hoosiers attack. Indiana is averaging 45 points per game, and have given up just an average of 19 ppg.
Make sure to follow @BTUrugby on twitter for scoring updates.
One other game is on the schedule this week as Ohio State heads to Purdue. Purdue has had a tough go of it this season and it doesn’t get any easier with the Buckeyes coming to town. OSU is coming off an impressive 55-7 win against Minnesota last week. For a shot at the BTU Championship game the Buckeyes will need to win out and the first step in that direction will need to be this weekend against Purdue.
Make sure to follow @BTUrugby on twitter for all the scoring updates.