Northwestern vs. Iowa fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 10
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Northwestern (5-4) vs. Iowa (6-3) Game Preview
One Reason Why Northwestern Will Win
If Wisconsin loses to Penn State and Purdue loses to Minnesota, Northwestern can earn the West’s spot in the Big Ten Championship with a win.
For this to work, all the things that got Northwestern to this point have to be … Northwesterney.
They have to do what they do, only a whole lot better.
The passing game has to take advantage of a stunningly mediocre Iowa secondary that’s allowed 200 yards or more through the air in five of the last seven games, and got hit for 333 yards by Purdue last week – Clayton Thorson has to be fantastic.
But the Wildcats have to win this on the other side.
The Northwestern defensive front has been solid against the run – it stuffed Notre Dame last week – and it has to dominate on key third down plays. Iowa is able to control the clock and move the chains, but the Wildcats are keeping offenses to around a 34% conversion rate.
One Reason Why Iowa Will Win
Iowa does everything Northwestern needs to do well, only better.
The Wildcats have to own third downs. Iowa is among the best in the country at moving the chains, connecting on 50% or more of their third down tries in five of their last six games.
The Wildcats have to throw well to take advantage of the Hawkeye secondary. But Thorson hasn’t thrown for more than 170 yards in any of the last three games.
The Wildcats have to own the clock and the tempo. Iowa is seventh in the nation in time of possession, keeping the ball for close to 34 minutes a game.
The Wildcats have to keep the Iowa passing game in check. When he’s on, Hawkeye quarterback Nate Stanley is a lock for over 200 yards, even when he has to dink and dunk.
What’s Going To Happen
Iowa has been through the ringer over the last few weeks with tough losses to Penn State and Purdue, but at home, it’s about to grind out a tough win against a Northwestern team without enough punch.
The Wildcats are nasty on the road and great at finding ways to get the job done. But this week, they aren’t going to have enough offense in key spots.
Iowa will never get comfortable, and it’s not going to be able to pull away, but it’ll keep Thorson from going off. It’ll be a fight, but the Hawkeyes will survive and make the West race even whackier.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Iowa 27, Northwestern 20
Line: Iowa -10.5, o/u: 45.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 3.5
5: Watergate (on History Channel)
1: 52nd CMA Awards