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Four down territory: Central Michigan

Four things the Iowa football team can do to put itself in a position to defeat Central Michigan on Saturday: 1. Establish the run. Another week, another twist to the long-running saga the Hawkeyes face at running back. Mark Weisman is expected to get his first start on Saturday, Mike Malloy and Jordan Canzeri could see their first playing time and while Damon Bullock is doubtful, Greg Garmon is questionable. As was the case last week when Bullock gained more than 60 of his 77 yards in the first quarter, everything starts up front with the play of Iowa's offensive line. 2. Defend the run. The running game has been the Chippewas' strength this season and the play of Iowa's front seven on defense will be important in keeping Central Michiagn's offense in check. 3. Air force. James Vandenberg threw for over 200 yards for the first time this season last weekend vs. UNI. While he works to complete his first touchdown pass of the season, Vandenberg's main focus is continued consistency. He hit 64.3 percent of his passes last week, connecting on 18-of-28 throws. Vandenberg completed 58.7 percent of his passes a year ago. 4. Make the most of an edge on special teams. The consistency of Mike Meyer at placekicker and the struggles of Central Michigan in the punting game can give Iowa an edge here. CMU's Richie Hogan averages 33.8 yards per punt through two games. Iowa's Connor Korbrath has averaged just under 38 yards per try, but the freshman must avoid clunkers like the 11 yarder had had a week ago for Iowa to exploit this edge. On to the flip side, four things Central Michigan can do to pull off the upset Saturday at Kinnick Stadium: 1. Defend aggressively. James Vandenberg has not been sacked since the opening week of the season, but the Hawkeyes will face the most aggressive defense they have seen in the young season. The Chippewas have shown the blitz, but with three sophomores starting the secondary, mistakes there could be costly. 2. Have a big day from big backs. Central Michigan's Zurlon Tipton averages 121 yards per game rushing and he brings a Big Ten-type body to the tailback position for the Chippewas, packing 219 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame while averaging 8.6 yards per carry. The team's second-leading rusher, Anthony Garland, is 6-1, 218, and averages 5.7 yards per carry. 3. Improved quarterback play. Ryan Radcliff struggled in the Chippewas' 41-7 loss to Michigan State, completing 17-of-38 passes while finishing 100 yards below his season average from 2011 of 273.8 yards per game. Radcliff has topped 300 yards 10 times during his starting career at CMU. He'll need a bounceback game. The Chippewas scored their lone points against the Spartans on an interception return. 4. Start strong. Although Central Michigan rallied from a 24-10 deficit to defeat SE Missouri State 38-27 in its opener, the Chippewas cannot afford to fall too far behind if they hope to have a chance late against an Iowa defense which has given up one touchdown and one field goal over the final 30 minutes of its first three games of the season. Iowa opponents have been limited to a 5-of-23 third-down conversation rate in the second half so far this year.

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