Northwestern’s Justin Jackson is one of the more dynamic running backs in the conference.
He’s gone over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a Wildcat and certainly appears headed for a third straight year over 1,000 yards given his talent and his workload. Iowa has done a great job bottling him up over the course of the first two seasons and especially last season when he carried the ball 10 times for just 30 yards as Northwestern was forced to pass a bunch given the fact that Iowa was dominating the game.
He’s gone over 100 yards just once this season against Western Michigan, but did get close in another. He has big play potential and if this Iowa defense isn’t careful he could burn them.
Fact or Fiction? Justin Jackson gets held under 100 yards for a third straight season by the Hawkeyes.
DEREK: Fiction. This is a bit of a two-fold answer. The first being that Iowa's bend but don't break defense is holding up this season but there sure has been a lot of bend. Most of that bend came against teams that ran a lot of eye candy in the backfield out of their formations to confuse the defense. There were a lot of motion, jet action, and misdirection used by Miami, North Dakota State and Rutgers.
That seemed to throw the defense off at times. They've struggled against the run compared to the usual Iowa standards. They're surrendering yards. They have kept teams out of the end zone pretty well and off the scoreboard enough. Northwestern does a lot of the same in regards to that motion but Iowa knows this team much better than the other three offenses they struggled against. Still, the trend indicates Iowa will allow more than 100 against Jackson.
The other reason being Jackson is just too good of a running back to expect the same team to keep him contained for a third straight contest. It's very impressive that Iowa has held him to under 100 yards two times in a row, let alone three. I don't think he tears them up by any means but I would be surprised if they kept a running back this talented under 100 yards for the third consecutive time.
DYLAN: I want to say fact because this Iowa defense can be stingy when they play like themselves, but after watching games against North Dakota State and Rutgers, I just don’t see them holding him under 100 yards. Rutgers' Robert Martin went over the century mark and while Martin is talented, he’s not Justin Jackson.
Iowa has had too much of a bend but don’t break attitude recently and if this keeps up they will get burned. Jackson would be a likely candidate to do that as well. I think Jackson goes over the century mark and finds the end zone once for the Wildcats on Saturday. He’ll likely carry the ball more than 20 times, unless Iowa jumps out to a huge lead like they did last year in Evanston, so with a talented rusher like that, it’s not going to really be anything to be ashamed of if you’re Iowa.