Iowa vs. Northwestern Prediction, Game Preview

    Iowa vs. Northwestern prediction and game preview. The Hawkeyes look to stay undefeated as they travel to Evanston to take on the Wildcats.

    September 26, 2016

    Is Northwestern (5-1) ready to get back into the hunt? After getting crushed by Michigan, the Wildcats can quickly get on top of the Big Ten East race over a scorching hot Iowa (6-0) team that might not be a world-beater, but has really nice wins over the last two weeks against Wisconsin and Illinois. Check out the Iowa vs. Northwestern prediction and game preview.

    Iowa vs. Northwestern Game Preview


    Date: Saturday, Oct. 17
    Game Time: 12:00 pm
    Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
    Network: ABC/ESPN2

    Follow, Contact @PeteFiutak  

    Why You Need To Care

    Iowa blew out North Texas a few weeks ago, and it handled Illinois State without a problem in the opener. That’s been about it for the easy times with just about every other game becoming a struggle. 6-0 is 6-0 is 6-0, and while the offense might be plodding, and the defense hasn’t faced any sort of high-powered attack, everything is right there for the taking. Beat Northwestern, and the West might be won with Maryland, Minnesota and Purdue at home, along with winnable road games at Indiana and Nebraska.

    The Michigan loss doesn’t really matter for Northwestern in the hunt for the Big Ten title – win out, and the loss in Ann Arbor is forgotten. It was a bad day that started out awful and got even worse, but the loss came to a team from the East – the Cats can survive it. All the big West battles are still on the board with road trips to Nebraska and Wisconsin still to go. But at the moment, this is the big one. Iowa has control at the moment, and it’s up to the Wildcats to take it away.

    Why Iowa Will Win

    In a lot of ways, Iowa is just like Michigan, at least in terms of what it’s going to take to get by Northwestern. The passing game is just okay, the run defense is stellar, and the running game is crushing it at the moment. The key for the Wolverines last week was to get up early, taking the opening kickoff for a score and making the Wildcats press all game long. The Hawkeyes already got physical on the road at Wisconsin, and while it wasn’t a pretty game, they came out with the win because they forced the big mistakes and didn’t make as many of their own – it was that simple. Northwestern doesn’t turn it over in bunches, but it also doesn’t take many chances. Stop Justin Jackson and the running game, force Clayton Thorson to throw, rely on the secondary to win the game. It was the same formula for Michigan last week, and it worked in a big way. One big difference, though …

    Why Northwestern Will Win

    Iowa isn’t Michigan, This isn’t a high-powered Hawkeye team that’s going to come out and hang 21 on the board before anyone can blink – at least not against this Northwestern D. The run defense might have had a few problems in Ann Arbor, but it still allowed just 4.4 yards per carry in a slugfest of a game. The Cats would have no problem if this got ugly early with the game coming down to the trenches. There’s a chance last week was an aberration against a good team finding its groove at the right time – that wasn’t the Northwestern team that beat Stanford and was so strong over the first five games. The D will keep the score low – very low.

    Player Who Matters

    It’s Clayton Thorson’s time to be better. The Northwestern freshman quarterback has been inconsistent at best, a liability at worst, hitting just 39% of his throws against Duke and 48% against Michigan. However, he was on against Minnesota and has gone through streaks where everything worked. This is a ball-hawking Iowa secondary that will make plays, but will give up yards. This is the game to turn Thorson loose.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Which quarterback plays better? Which O loses the turnover battle? Expect lots of running, lots of quick drives, and little offense to excite the masses. At least a few times, the idea will be thrown out there that this is what Big Ten football is supposed to be about. Yeah, grinding. Northwestern’s offense won’t get it done with Thorson throwing at leat two key picks.

    Iowa vs. Northwestern Prediction

    Final Score: Iowa 20, Northwestern 16, Line: Iowa -2.5, o/u: 40

    Must See Rating: 5: Trojan War – 1: The Muppets … 4

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 6


    Have the full Stadium experience

    Watch with friends

    Get rewards

    Join the discussion