Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#349 Colorado State vs.
#350 Iowa
Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Nathaniel Reeves

The No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes will look to continue their perfect start to the season when they host the Colorado State Rams on Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium. Colorado State got in the win column at 1-2 overall by upsetting the Toledo Rockets 22-6 last weekend as a 14.5-point road underdog. Iowa rolled to a 30-7 home victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday to narrowly cover as a 22-point favorite, and is now 3-0 (1-0 Big Ten) on the young season.

This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

Colorado State shocks Toledo behind special teams

After losing to FCS South Dakota State and the lowly Vanderbilt Commodores to start the year, it was starting to look like the Rams could be headed for a disastrous campaign, but they suddenly came to life last Saturday to beat a solid Toledo team. After no touchdowns were scored in the first 42 minutes of the game, Colorado State finally struck on a 75-yard punt return by Thomas Pannunzio, while Cayden Camper made all five of his field-goal attempts throughout the afternoon to key the victory.

Todd Centeio completed 11 of his 27 pass attempts for 110 yards, with star tight end Trey McBride reeling in nine of those completions for 109 yards. David Bailey paced the Rams offense with 30 carries for 132 yards. Colorado State's defense was creating disruptive plays all night long as Toledo only had 291 yards of total offense, with Mohamed Kamara racking up 3.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

“Our defense played lights out,” CSU coach Steve Addazio said to The Denver Post. “We really improved there. We played a great pass-rush. We were playing with an awful lot of young guys in the back end, and they played well. It was just a really gritty performance from our defense."

The Rams are also 1-2 against the spread as their two outright losses both came as a slight favorite, including a blowout defeat to FCS foe South Dakota State. Overs are also off to a 1-2 start for Colorado State with each of the last two games going under the betting total.

Colorado State is still struggling to generate offense with an average of 22 points per game on 409.3 yards per game. Last weekend's performance was much better from the defense, which is now allowing 24 points and 366.3 yards per game for the season.

Centeio has completed 60 of his 107 pass attempts for 652 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while adding 31 carries for 147 yards. Bailey is off to a nice start with 64 carries for 258 yards and two scores, while McBride is getting plenty of NFL Draft attention with 21 catches for 230 yards and one touchdown on the young season. Scott Patchan has been making plays defensively with 16 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Wide receiver Dante Wright, who had 10 catches for 146 yards in the first two games, missed last weekend's contest with a knee injury and is questionable against Iowa. Starting safety Tywin Francis gave it a try in warmups on Saturday but was unable to play, making his status uncertain moving forward.

Iowa dismantles Kent State, remains in top five

After taking down two ranked opponents to begin the season, Iowa got a break in the schedule last weekend as it had no trouble beating Kent State to hold at No. 5 in the AP Poll. Iowa's defense managed a safety midway through the first quarter to open the scoring before Tyler Goodson recorded three separate touchdown runs over the rest of the afternoon to key the victory, as Kent State didn't score for the last 50 minutes of the game.

Spencer Petras had an effective game under center, completing 25 of 36 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown. Goodson was the star of the show with the best game of his career, carrying the ball 22 times for 153 yards and three touchdowns. It was a solid effort all around, as the Hawkeyes outgained Kent State 418-264 while racking up 10 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss on the defensive end.

“We still have a lot of things to work on,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said to the Associated Press. “The execution is still not there. But yeah, there were some good things going on, kind of subtly. It was good to get Tyler going a little bit better.”

Iowa is also off to a perfect 3-0 start against the spread, highlighted by an outright road win at the No. 14 Iowa State Hawkeyes as a slight underdog. All three Iowa games thus far have gone under the betting total, as last Saturday's game wasn't close to clearing 55.5 points.

The Hawkeyes offense has done enough to get by with an average of 30.3 points and 298 yards per game. Iowa looks to have one of the nation's elite defenses, allowing just 10 points and 278.7 yards per game to rank near the top of the leaderboard across college football.

Petras has completed 49 of 84 pass attempts for 460 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions so far, effectively managing the game for the Iowa offense. Goodson is the focal point with 62 carries for 307 yards and five touchdowns. Jack Campbell has 25 tackles including 1.5 for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble return for a touchdown already as the leader of the Iowa defense.

Defensive lineman Ethan Hurkett exited Saturday's game with a lower-body problem after recording four tackles on the season so far, but Iowa is otherwise clean on the injury front heading into the weekend.

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Even though Colorado State unexpectedly got in the win column last week, the momentum won't last long as now it gets an Iowa team that looks like a legitimate playoff contender. Iowa has turned in a pair of impressive performances against teams that were ranked at the time already this season and will be too physically overwhelming in the trenches for the Rams to handle on either side of the ball on Saturday night.

The Rams are still yet to score more than 23 points in a game this season despite the schedule including an FCS opponent plus a horrendous Vanderbilt team, and last week's performance in Toledo won't be sustainable as all their scoring came off of special teams. Colorado State's offense relies entirely on McBride, and that will be too easy for an Iowa defense that is stacked with talent while looking completely dominant in the early going to scheme for.

South Dakota State's offensive line pushed around the Rams en route to piling up 242 rushing yards on 34 attempts, and things will only be worse this Saturday against an imposing Iowa front with a great running back in Goodson. Just like last week, Iowa will grind down an overmatched opponent and eventually win by enough to cover.

Prediction: Iowa -23

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Getting into the end zone more than once for the Rams would be an accomplishment here, as Centeio hasn't been able to push the ball downfield with just over six yards per attempt this season and Iowa's defense has forced a lot of negative plays this season. The Hawkeyes have a strong argument as a top three defense in all of college football right now with just 4.2 yards per play allowed plus a well above average sack rate and eight takeaways, something the Rams don't look nearly prepared enough to handle.

Iowa isn't the type of offense that will run the score up into the 40s however with Petras serving as more of a game manager with only 5.5 yards per attempt this season, and the Hawkeyes as always will focus heavily on running the ball. Both offenses are below average in tempo, and Iowa's defense will hold another opponent to fewer than 10 points to key an under here.

Prediction: Under 44.5

Written By Nathaniel Reeves , "Nathaniel Reeves"

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily.