Instant Analysis: Iowa 17, Michigan 6 Half

November, 5, 2011
11/05/11
1:27
PM ET
Turning point: Michigan was driving, trying to cut into Iowa’s lead when quarterback Denard Robinson threw into coverage on a slant route to Roy Roundtree. The pass bounced off Roundtree and was intercepted by Christian Kirksey -- the Wolverines’ second turnover in as many possessions. It turned a Michigan red zone opportunity into a turnover and kept Iowa's lead at 17-6 heading into the half. Critical error by Robinson.

Best player in the half: Iowa running back Marcus Coker. The 230-pound running back is the latest in a string of strong, powerful Hawkeyes backs. And he crushed Michigan in the first half, gaining 74 yards and scoring Iowa’s first touchdown. Perhaps more important, the threat of him running has opened up the Hawkeyes’ passing game on playaction.

What Michigan needs to do, What Iowa needs to do: Michigan -- A lot. The offense needs to keep running the ball. After running back Fitzgerald Toussaint ran through the Hawkeyes on Michigan’s one touchdown drive, the Wolverines went away from it -- trying to throw the ball more. It didn’t work, with two turnovers in two possessions (a Robinson fumble and Robinson interception). On defense, Michigan needs to figure out a way to get better play out of its linebackers. They are struggling to tackle Coker as a unit and are biting in playaction hard. Iowa -- Keep to its offensive gameplan. So far, it is working. Using Coker as a bruising back to set up the playaction fakes for quarterback James Vandenberg has really hurt the Wolverines. Vandenberg is 9 of 12 passing for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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