Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Nevada Wolfpack Game Center

A week ago we were talking about how things weren’t going well, but at least Iowa got away with a win against a quality FCS opponent. Now we’re talking about how downright ugly things were and Iowa lost to a state rival in week two.

The Hawkeyes enter Week 3 with a 1-1 record and statistically the worst offense in the nation. This is offset by a top-6 defense in virtually every category (total defense, score defense, yards allowed per play, etc.). Not that the defense or outstanding special teams play has reassured Hawkeye fans as the meat of the 2022 schedule looms in a few weeks.

But before we get to that, the Hawkeyes have their non-conference final this weekend as the Nevada Wolfpack travel to Kinnick Stadium for the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

The Wolfpack are coming off their first loss of the season and lost 55-41 to Incarnate Word in Week 2. That was after a pair of wins to start the season as Nevada beat New Mexico State 23-12 and Texas State 38-14.

Here’s a first look at what you need to know about this week’s game.

Date: Saturday September 17
Time: 6:40 PM CT
Match: Nevada Wolfpack (2-1, 0-0) at Iowa Hawkeye (1-1, 0-0)
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
TV: BTN
Preliminary weather forecast: temperatures in the high 60s, 20% chance of rain with winds blowing up to 15 mph
DraftKings opening line: Iowa -23, O/U 40

Dimensions/lines subject to change. The T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for more details.

Story

Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the Hawkeyes and Wolfpack on the court. While Nevada and Iowa have never faced each other, the Wolfpack is no stranger to Power Five competition. Nevada has gone 1-1 in 2021 matchups against P5 opponents, including a 22-17 win at Cal in Week 1 and a 38-17 loss at Kansas State in Week 3.

Nevada won its last game against a Big Ten opponent by beating Purdue 34-31 in the 2019 season opener. That game was played in Reno. The Pack hasn’t played a road game against a Big Ten opponent since a 2017 Week 1 loss at Northwestern. Nevada is 3-5 the past five seasons in matchups with P5 opponents, but only last season’s win over Cal came on the road.

Iowa is 2-0 against opponents Mountain West over the past five seasons. That includes a 24-14 win over Colorado State a season ago and a 24-3 win over the Josh Allen-led Wyoming Cowboys in 2017.

Pre-season preparation work

As we head into kick-off, be sure to check out our pre-season preview for this week’s game. There are plenty of important details and unique looks at this week’s opponent, including this great stat:

131st (out of 131) in return production: Not only did the pack lose (Jay) Norvell to greener pastures, but many of their stars packed up and left Reno. The most notable departure was QB Carson Strong, who went undrafted despite garish numbers (74 TD to 19 INT and a career 68% completion), although they fire their top 2 rushers.

It’s also worth noting that despite the lack of returning production, Nevada is bringing back a bona fide RB.

Toa Taua (#35, RB, 5th year, 5’9″, 210 pounds): Taua returned to Reno to try to lead Nevada in rushing for a fifth consecutive year. He’s racked up nearly 4,000 scrimmage yards and also plays as a kickoff returner.

Here’s a look at the pre-season predictions for this one, though those predictions seem increasingly meaningless with every 3-and-out we see.

Staff prediction: Iowa Win, Unanimous

Fan prediction: Iowa Win, 99% of votes

BizarroMath Prediction: Iowa 32.17, Nevada 25.19 (Iowa -6.98); 61.2% chance of winning in Iowa

Stay tuned all week as we dive deeper into the players, games and stats you need to know as the Hawkeyes take on the Wolfpack.