Iowa vs. Northwestern Prediction, Game Preview

    Iowa vs. Northwestern prediction and game preview. The Hawkeyes are trying to win their fourth straight meeting against the Wildcats.

    September 27, 2016

    Iowa vs. Northwestern prediction and game preview. The Hawkeyes are trying to win their fourth straight meeting against the Wildcats.


    Iowa vs. Northwestern Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – Noon ET
    Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City.
    TV Broadcast: ESPNU

    Iowa’s 2015 undefeated regular season seems long in the past. After losing to FCS power North Dakota State, the Hawkeyes struggled against Rutgers last week and needed an Akrum Wadley touchdown run in the fourth quarter for an unimpressive 14-7 win. Still, none of that is as bad as what Northwestern has gone through.

    The Wildcats have losses to in-state FCS foe Illinois State and Western Michigan, with those defeats coming by a combined three points. They allowed 556 yards of total offense against Nebraska last week and fell to 1-3 with a 24-13 defeat, a far cry where coach Pat Fitzgerald thought they’d be at this point.

    What to Know About Iowa

    The Hawkeyes have won the last three meetings with Northwestern, including the last two by a combined score of 88-17. Wadley ran for 204 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s win as the defense forced three turnovers and held the Wildcats to 198 yards.

    Wadley, who hasn’t carried the ball more than 12 times in any of Iowa’s four games, might need another big effort. C.J. Beathard has thrown for fewer than 200 three times this season and has completed just 51.1 percent of his passes over the last two. Beathard will have one less target now, too, after top receiver Matt Vandeberg broke his foot in practice this week. He could be out for the remainder of the season.

    What to Know About Northwestern

    Clayton Thorson is having a rough season. He tossed two more interceptions against the Cornhuskers and has been sacked 15 times after being dropped on four occasions last week. And as far as his dual-threat abilities go, he’s averaging 1.2 yards per rush.

    Justin Jackson was one of top rushers in the Big Ten last year, but he hasn’t hit the 100-yard mark since the season-opener and could still be batting a leg injury. He hasn’t gotten into the end zone in any of the last three games, either.

    Advantages

    Offense: Iowa – Bailey and LeShun Daniels help make up for Beathard’s spotty play and loss of Vandeberg.

    Defense: Iowa – The defensive line shouldn’t have issues pushing through Northwestern’s front.

    Special Teams: Iowa – Desmond King is a threat in the return game.

    Coaching: Iowa – Fitzgerald’s stock continues dropping with each Northwestern defeat.

    Intangibles: Iowa – The Hawkeyes have won the last three meetings and have utterly dominated the last two.

    Matchup To Watch

    Thorson vs. Iowa’s defense

    Thorson does have talent, he’s just been unable to put it all together. If he can play mistake-free, the Wildcats might have a shot. Unfortunately, Iowa’s defense might be the toughest he’s seen to this point and he hasn’t even played well against weaker competition.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Iowa -12.5
    Over/Under: No line

    Iowa vs. Northwestern Prediction

    Beathard throws two touchdown passes but the Hawkeyes get most of the job done on the ground with Bailey and Daniels. Iowa’s defense shuts down Jackson in an easy win.

    Iowa vs. Northwestern final score prediction: Iowa 38, Northwestern 13

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 5

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