Each week during the season the Hawkeye Headquarters staff will predict the outcome of the Iowa football game.

Blake Hornstein: If the receiving room was fully healthy, I would have no problem picking Iowa to win this game handily. But that is not the case.

Keagan Johnson is unlikely to play, and 23-year-old senior Nico Ragaini is out for at least the first few weeks of the season.

The offense is going to rely heavily on sophomore Arland Bruce IV and true freshmen Jacob Bostick, Alec Wick and Jack Johnson. Even if Keagan Johnson can contribute it would likely be in limited snaps while he nurses his hamstring. With only one or two other players on the depth chart available, this is a massive concern.

On the flip side, this defense has proven that they don’t need time to gel and can carry the team against nearly any opponent. They stonewalled 13th ranked Indiana in last season’s opener, they can handle even the most competent of Missouri Valley Football Conference foes.

Quarterback Spencer Petras still has his top target in tight end Sam LaPorta, and if Iowa can get moderate production from the combination of Gavin and Leshon Williams on the ground, the offense can overcome the onslaught of injuries at least for this week.

The Hawkeyes have only lost one FCS game since 2007. I say that holds on Saturday — but not by much.

Official prediction: Iowa 20, South Dakota State 14.

Ryan Jaster: If anyone knows not to underestimate an FCS team, it’s Iowa. The last time the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten West, the squad that’s above the No. 2 Jackrabbits on the globe and in the preseason FCS poll this year – North Dakota State – upset Iowa in Kinnick the next season. And of course everyone remembers when the Hawkeyes had to block two field goals to escape Northern Iowa in 2009. If not:

So dismiss South Dakota State at your own peril. Iowa plays games close no matter the opponent, so expect the game to be tighter than you hoped and the spread to be thinner than you thought. ‘Blowout’ openers hit different with the Hawks. The totally irrelevant prediction says Hawkeyes 35-23 and the Hawkologist’s prognosis is a 2 on the 6-point pain index.

Here’s a look at what others from near and far expect, starting with the weather from Local 4’s Tyler Ryan:

Quad-City Times
Steve Batterson: Iowa 24, South Dakota State 10. As the Hawkeyes work to establish a more impactful ground game, an established defensive front seven will allow Iowa to hold off the Jackrabbits. Expect a late score to give the Hawkeyes a little room to breathe late in the season opener.

Bill Connelly: Iowa 33, South Dakota State 10

Bleacher Report
Morgan Moriarty: Iowa 17, South Dakota State 14

Athlon Sports
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mark Ross: Iowa
Ben Weinrib: Iowa

For more Hawkeyes coverage, follow @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook.

Iowa wide receiver Keagan Johnson celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)