Bring Down the House: B1G Championship Game Preview

House discusses his keys to the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis.

Jonathan House, Sports Editor

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This is it. The Big Ten Champion will be crowned in Indianapolis tonight. Who would’ve imagined that this would be what we would be talking about on this weekend three months ago? Jon Miller of HawkeyeNation.com said it is one of the biggest games in Hawkeye history. I tend to agree, but if they can win this, the playoff semi-final will be the biggest game in program history. Let’s get onto my keys to the game.

  1. Iowa must be able to run the ball successfully. It isn’t a new concept, Iowa has been doing it for the first twelve games of the year. However, Michigan State’s defensive line may be the best in the Big Ten. It is led by first team all Big Ten defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun and second team defensive lineman Malik McDowell. Michigan State is 16th in the country in rush defense, allowing an average of 118.2 yards per game. Iowa must be able to hold them and the rest of Michigan State’s d-line at bay. If they don’t, it will be a long night for the Hawkeyes.
  2. Turnover Margin. I said it last week, and it really is important in every game, however, both teams are +14 in turnover margin. In a game in which both teams are so evenly matched, one turnover could potentially make the difference in the game.
  3. Beathard vs. Cook. Both teams have outstanding quarterbacks. The one who plays better, will lead his team to victory. Connor Cook was recently named first team all Big Ten quarterback. Beathard made second team all Big Ten. Both have been very important to their team’s wins this year. Cook has more passing yards (2730 to Beathard’s 2354), and touchdowns than Beathard this season (24 to 14). He also has one more interception. The quarterback who has a better game statistically will likely win this game for his team. I also wouldn’t be surprised if one of these players will be presented with an opportunity late in the game to lead his team to victory. Also check out ESPN’s quarterback comparison.

Prediction: Iowa 34, Michigan State 31

Marshall Koehn kicks a field goal with a minute left, and Michigan State is driving when Desmond King breaks Nile Kinnick’s Iowa interception record by picking off Connor Cook for only the fifth time this season to ice the Big Ten championship for the Hawkeyes.

Other Predictions:

Alabama 28, Florida 10

Clemson 38, North Carolina 35

USC 35, Stanford 31