(Video of Mark Weisman stiff-arming Central Michigan last week is courtesy of Big Ten Network)
Kickoff: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Spread: Iowa by 7
Watchability: The Floyd of Rosedale is up for grabs and both teams need this win, Iowa more so than Minnesota. The Gophers have won two straight in the series and a victory on the road to open conference play could reaffirm that their 4-0 start was no fluke.
Shining stars: Minnesota: All the credit has to go to the Gophers' defense, which is light years ahead of where it was last season. Safety Derrick Wells is having a tremendous year, leading the Gophers with 32 tackles and two interceptions. He and fellow safety Brock Vereen have contributed to a defense that is plus-5 in turnover margin, tied for the best mark in the conference. Their 10 takeaways are already one more than they had all last year and defensive end D.L. Wilhite has recorded 4.5 sacks on the season, tops in the Big Ten. It wouldn't be a shock to see Iowa flounder on offense yet again. Iowa: In two games, Iowa RB Mark Weisman has become the focal point of the Hawkeyes offense. Iowa rode the 6-0, 225-pound sophomore for 27 carries and 217 yards in last week's loss to Central Michigan and in just two weeks, he's amassed six touchdowns -- the second most in the Big Ten behind Braxton Miller.
Who could steal the show: Minnesota: The Gophers have maintained a surprisingly balanced offense behind backup quarterback Max Shortell (491 yards passing, 4 TDs) and running back Donnell Kirkwood (361 yards rushing, 3 TDs) and have averaged nearly 30 points per game. The two have kept the offense afloat even without MarQueis Gray, who missed last week's game with an ankle injury and is doubtful for Saturday's game. In the last two games, Kirkwood, a sophomore, has had his most productive games as a Gopher, rushing for 110 and 99 yards, respectively. Iowa: No one thought that Iowa's offense would have any issues, but instead it's been the Hawkeyes' defense that has been the backbone of the team thus far. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens is averaging 12.75 tackles per game, the fourth most in the country. Iowa's allowed just 18.5 ppg and is the 30th-best rush defense in the country, permitting just 113 yards on the ground. If Hitchens and the defense can derail Minnesota's surprisingly effective offense, the Hawkeyes might be able to bring the Floyd of Rosedale pig back to Iowa City.
You going? Ranking the road trip: This is a huge game for the Hawkeyes and their fans know it. They must kick off conference play on a positive note to try and salvage what has the potential to become an ugly season. Plus, if Weisman continues his torrid pace, the Twitter hashtag WeismanforHeisman could have some merit.
Magic number for Minnesota: 0. The Gophers haven't allowed a single play longer than 30 yards this season after allowing at least one such play in each of the first nine games last season.
Magic number for Iowa: 10. As in the number of touchdowns Quarterback James Vandenberg had four games into the season last year. Vandenberg connected with Kevonte Martin-Manley in last week's loss to Central Michigan for the Hawkeyes' first passing touchdown of the season.
The game comes down to: Whether Minnesota is legitimate, or the Gophers could kickstart the Hawkeyes' tailspin season. Minnesota defeated its first BCS conference opponent last weekend with a 17-10 win over Syracuse but is Iowa ready to give in? The Hawkeyes aren't as bad as they've looked and should hold serve at home with a powerful rushing attack.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Minnesota 20
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.