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No.18 Iowa Hawkeyes Favored Over No.5 Michigan State Spartans

October 28th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

The Michigan State Spartans may not have been a trendy pick in the Big 10 conference, and definitely not in the BCS Championship race, but look who is talking about them now.

The Spartans (8-0) are ranked No.5 in the country, but have a tough match up this week though, facing off against No.18 Iowa.

“The next step is probably what we thought going into the season, one of our bigger challenges: going on the road to play at Iowa,” remarked Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. “They win the right way. I think they win with execution.”

The Hawkeyes were in a similar position as the Spartans last season, beginning the season 9-0 and flying under the radar and becoming a surprise splash on the national landscape.  They lost a couple of games coming home though, which is exactly what Michigan State will try and avoid, beginning with Iowa.

“We need to have fun with this, enjoy the ride a little bit,” Dantonio said of his team’s undefeated start. “In saying that, you know, continue to be enthusiastic in our own way and continue to try and put the next block up. That’s how we’ve tried to do it.”

After Iowa, the Spartans play two of their final three games in their stadium, but getting by the Hawkeyes will be a real challenge.

“It’s something you dream of doing around here — a Big Ten championship and going to a BCS bowl game,” said quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “I think being 8-0 is special, but 9-0 is that much more special. It’s something that hasn’t been done around here a lot.”

The Spartans should have some added motivation, as they lost to the Hawkeyes at home last season on a last-second touchdown pass, 15-13.

“They may be waiting for a while. That’s a good football team,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s no fluke. They’ve earned every one of them.”

It’s been the second half for the Spartans in conference games this season that has kept their perfect record in tact.  Michigan State has outscored Big 10 foes 82-31 after halftime, as was evident in their comeback victory over Northwestern last week.

For Iowa (5-2), they come in after dropping a close one to Wisconsin a week ago 31-30. That is there eonly conference loss to date, and a win over Michigan State would put them right back in the hunt for the Big 10 conference title.  Michigan State is the only team remaining in the conference without a loss in Big 10 play.

Iowa sports the 11th ranked scoring defense in the country, surrendering just 15.7 points per game.  Look for the Hawkeyes to try and create pressure on Cousins, as the Spartan offensive line has shown weaknesses, which were on display against Northwestern.

Game Line-

Online Sportsbooks have set the Hawkeyes as a 6.5-point favorite despite the undefeated record of the Spartans.  The Over/Under for the game has been installed at 50.5 points.  Odds courtesy of Intertops Sportsbook.

ATS Betting Trends-

Iowa is 14-5 ATS versus a team with a winning record.

Over/Under Betting Trends-

The Overis 9-4 in the Spartans last 13 games overall.

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