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The sophomore linebacker is looking forward to the challenge of heading to the Big House. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

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From a program standpoint, No. 14 Iowa faces its biggest game Saturday since perhaps the two-game tango to close the 2015 season in Indianapolis and at the Rose Bowl.

A Big Ten Conference championship sort of season has been floated about. At 4-0 and 1-0 in the league, the Hawkeyes haven't done anything to put a damper on those hopes.

That being said, Kirk Ferentz's 21st squad has conquered a hostile rivalry environment in Ames and ... not much else. Granted, Iowa has been dominant against Miami (Ohio), Rutgers and Middle Tennessee State.

But perhaps none of those four opponents poses the threat that No. 18 Michigan does in the Big House (11 a.m., Fox). Even though Iowa has had Michigan's number as of late, the Wolverines (3-1, 0-1) will be fighting for any whisker of a College Football Playoff hope. 

Moreover, Iowa's chief Big Ten West rival, Wisconsin, has already shown itself to be capable of handing Jim Harbaugh's group. So this game proves as a measuring stick in myriad ways. It oughta be great.

Here are the projected starters for Saturday's showdown:

OFFENSE

Quarterback: No. 4, Nate Stanley (6-foot-4, 243 pounds, senior)

RED ZONE SUCCESS:Stanley, Hawkeyes efficient in scoring areas

Running back: No. 10, Mekhi Sargent (5-11, 223, junior)

Tight end: No. 39, Nate Wieting (6-4, 250, sr.)

Fullback: No. 36, Brady Ross (6-0, 246, sr.)

Wide receiver: No. 12, Brandon Smith (6-2, 218, jr.)

Wide receiver: No. 6, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1, 183, jr.)

Left tackle: No. 74, Tristan Wirfs (6-5, 322, jr.)

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Left guard: No. 68, Landan Paulsen (6-5, 305, sr.)

Center: No. 65, Tyler Linderbaum (6-3, 286, freshman)

Right guard: No. 61, Cole Banwart (6-4, 300, jr.)

Right tackle: No. 66, Levi Paulsen (6-5, 305, sr.)

BIG TEN PICKS:Iowa can mimic Wisconsin's formula to conquer Michigan

DEFENSE

Defensive end: No. 57, Chauncey Golston (6-5, 270, jr.)

Defensive end: No. 94, A.J. Epenesa (6-6, 280, jr.)

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Defensive tackle: No. 95, Cedrick Lattimore (6-3, 295, sr.) 

Defensive tackle: No. 74, Austin Schulte (6-4, 287, jr.)

Weak-side linebacker: No. 32, Djimon Colbert (6-1, 235, sophomore)

Middle linebacker: No. 34, Kristian Welch (6-3, 239, sr.)

Leo/Cash: No. 49, Nick Niemann (6-4, 235, jr.) 

Strong safety: No. 9, Geno Stone (5-10, 210, jr.)

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Free safety: No. 28, Jack Koerner (6-0, 204, soph.)

Cornerback: No. 11, Michael Ojemudia (6-1, 200, sr.)

Cornerback: No. 12, D.J. Johnson (5-11, 183, fr.)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: No. 10, Caleb Shudak (5-8, 180, jr.) OR No. 3, Keith Duncan (5-10, 180, jr.)

Punter: No. 22, Michael Sleep-Dalton (6-0, 212, sr.)

Kickoff returns: No. 6, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1, 183, jr.)

Punt returns: No. 89, Nico Ragaini (6-0, 192, fr.)

LEISTIKOW:Revisiting the 2002 win at Michigan that forever changed Hawkeye football

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Iowa tight end Nate Wieting offers an explanation for how Hawkeyes have dominated time of possession so far this season. Listen: Mark Emmert, memmert@gannett.com

MICHIGAN'S MOST RECENT STARTERS

[Editor's note: Michigan does not provide weekly depth charts. As such, listed are the starters for the Wolverines' Sept. 28 game against Rutgers.]

OFFENSE

Quarterback: No. 2, Shea Patterson (6-2, 202, sr.)

Running back: No. 24, Zach Charbonnet (6-1, 220, fr.)

Tight end: No. 82, Nick Eubanks (6-5, 256, sr.)

Wide receiver: No. 7, Tarik Black (6-3, 215, jr.)

Wide receiver: No. 8, Ronnie Bell (6-0, 184, soph.)

Wide receiver: No. 9, Donovan Peoples-Jones (6-2, 208, jr.)

Left tackle: No. 75, Jon Runyan (6-5, 321, sr.)

Left guard: No. 74, Ben Bredeson (6-5, 325, sr.)

Center: No. 51, Cesar Ruiz (6-4, 319, jr.)

Right guard: No. 50, Michael Onwenu (6-3, 350, sr.)

Right tackle: No. 73, Jalen Mayfield (6-5, 319, soph.)

DEFENSE

Defensive end: No. 19, Kwity Paye (6-4, 277, jr.)

Defensive end: No. 97, Aidan Hutchinson (6-6, 278, soph.)

Defensive tackle: No. 6, Josh Uche (6-2, 250, sr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 2, Carlo Kemp (6-3, 286, sr.)

Weak-side linebacker: No. 29, Jordan Glasgow (6-1, 226, sr.)

Middle linebacker: No. 44, Cameron McGrone (6-1, 232, soph.)

Viper: No. 7, Khaleke Hudson (6-0, 220, sr.)

Strong safety: No. 14, Josh Metellus (6-0, 218, sr.)

Free safety: No. 20, Brad Hawkins (6-1, 218, jr.)

Cornerback: No. 24, Lavert Hill (5-11, 182, sr.)

Cornerback: No. 1, Ambry THomas (6-0, 182, jr.)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: No. 2, Jake Moody (6-0, 198, soph.)

Punter: No. 17, Will Hart (6-3, 206, sr.)

Kick returns: No. 8, Ronnie Bell (6-0, 184, soph.)

Punt returns: No. 15, Giles Jackson (5-9, 188, fr.)

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Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz knows his team leads the nation with fewest turnovers (1) through four games. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

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