Iowa Hawkeyes vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits Game Center

We. Are. Return.

We are back! Week 0 of the college football season is in the books and now the real fun begins with game week one of the 2022 season. The Hawkeyes open the year with a home showdown with FCS South Dakota State.

Yes, it is SOUTH Dakota State, as in the one south of NORTH Dakota State. You know, the last FCS team to upset the Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium in a 23-21 fest of frustration in 2016 when the Hawkeyes entered the year ranked top-15 nationally.

Heading into Saturday’s 2022 opener, the Hawekeyes are not ranked nationally, just outside the top 25 in AP and Coaches polls. Iowa closed the 2021 season with a pair of playoff losses. After winning the Big Ten West and earning a trip to Indianapolis, the Hawkeyes were demolished by Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game and ultimately fell to nail biting against Kentucky in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.

South Dakota State is also coming off a successful season that ended in some disappointment. The Jackrabbits finished 2021 11-4 and fourth in the Missouri Valley after closing the season winners in two of their last three regular season matchups. This helped build momentum heading into the FCS playoffs where SDSU won three straight to earn a semifinal showdown with Montana State. The Jackrabbits would fall 31-17 in their season finale as Montana State moved on to the championship game where they lost to national champion North Dakota State.

Heading into 2022, the Jackrabbits are set to once again place in the top 4 in the Valley, entering the year ranked third nationally in FCS, and are looking to restart their season in spectacular fashion with a road win against an FBS adversary. They were able to do that a season ago when they traveled to Colorado State and beat the Rams 42-23 – a wider margin than the Hawkeyes would post in their 24-14 win over the same CSU team inside Kinnick a few weeks later.

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

Date: Saturday September 3
Time: 11:00 CT
Match: South Dakota State Jackrabbits (0-0, 0-0) at Iowa Hawkeye (0-0, 0-0)
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
TV: BTN
Preliminary weather forecast: sunny with temperatures in the mid 80s, 5% chance of rain
DraftKings opening line: N / A

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

Story

Saturday’s game between the Jackrabbits and Hawkeyes will be the first between the two programs on the field. Although this is the first meeting between the two programs, it is not the first time that this SDSU team has faced an FBS opponent. As noted, they won their only FBS game a season ago against Colorado State. The Jackrabbits did not face an FBS opponent in 2020 as the season was postponed to spring 2021.

This makes for an interesting programming note as SDSU played a shocking 25 games in calendar year 2021. This includes all 15 regular and postseason games for the fall 2021 schedule, as well as 10 games in the spring that were previously scheduled for fall 2020.

South Dakota State has covered the spread in its last six meetings with FBS opponents. While there’s no publicly available line on the Iowa-SDSU game as of Monday, that should be a good indication the Jackrabbits will be looking to play a close contest at Kinnick.

That could be bad news for the Hawkeyes this season. Hat tip to ours @BoilerHawk for the leg work on an incredible stat: Big Ten teams that win by less than 21 points against an FCS opponent have won more than 8 games in a season just once in the last ten years. The other 17 occurrences have all seen Big Ten teams win less than 8 games. Notably, only three of the 17 Big Ten teams that have even scheduled a Week 1 game against an FCS opponent have won more than 8 games.

The Hawkeyes will need to turn the tide if they hope to be successful all season in 2022.

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 excellent set of stats:

10 consecutive FCS playoff appearances: The one thing Coach Stieg hasn’t brought Brookings is a national championship trophy. They have been in the FCS semi-finals (or more) in 4 of the last 5 tournaments. They are one of two teams to have a ten-year streak.

2 wins against FBS opponents: They beat a split opponent at Colorado State last year and Kansas in 2015. Last season’s win over Colorado State was the season opener and it wasn’t pretty, at 42- 23.

3 games with 20 points or less: last season, the Jackrabbits averaged 36.1 points/game (10th in FCS), thanks in large part to their ability to limit poor offensive outings. Iowa had 5, which is even more (9) when you take away defensive/special teams touchdowns.

27 takeaway meals: The state of South Dakota had a Top 4 turnover margins to a net score of 1.00/game, mainly through their ability to intercept passes at 21 (led the country there, from what I can tell). Part of the top flight’s turnover margin doesn’t turn around, and they had just 12 this season.

If you’re on the go, there’s also a detailed preview of the game from the official Hawkeyes podcast here:

In terms of predictions, the BHGP staff and Hawkeye fans as a whole were feeling quite confident heading into the season.

Staff prediction: Iowa Win, Unanimous

Fan prediction: Iowa Win, 97% of votes

BizarroMath Prediction: N/A (FCS opponents are not compatible)

Check back throughout the week as all the preview and post-game stories will be posted on this stream.