HN Preview: Iowa @ Northwestern

When you are eight games into a football season, games usually come down to one word; execution. However, executing is more than just a singular phrase; there are so many parts involved with a football program and game that it seems folly to try and sum it all up in just one word. Folly or no, that's what this game will be about.

Northwestern's defense is as bad as its offense is good. They typically give up as many points as they score. They have scored 34.6 points per game and have allowed 32.6. Now, most of you can do the math; that's two points worth of difference, and when you live on the edge like that, it can be a wild ride.

In their three losses (at Arizona State and home against Penn State and Michigan), the Wildcats have averaged 22.3 points per game and have allowed 39.6 points per game. In their five wins, they have averaged 42 points on offense.

Wait a second…that sounds familiar.

In Iowa's five wins, they have averaged 41.6 points per game, but in their three losses, they have averaged just 9.6 points per game.

I think it's safe to say that win or lose, Iowa is going to score a lot of points against the Wildcats.

Some other assumptions:

Albert Young will have more than 1,000 rushing yards on the season after this game, as long as he is healthy. He is just 132 yards shy of that mark right now, and Northwestern allows 196.9 rushing yards per game on the year.

NW QB Bret Basanez will complete 65 percent of his passes and likely will throw for over 300 yards. It's my expectation that much of that production will come in between the twenties like it did against Indiana. The Hoosiers were so very patient against Iowa's defense, perhaps the most patient opponent Iowa has seen in a long, long time. Northwestern will have to do the same thing and Iowa will also have to stop the big play.

There will be a good number of Hawkeye fans in attendance. That is usually the case when Northwestern has a league home game, because so many Big Ten alumni live in the Windy City.

Drew Tate should have a good game due to the fact that we expect Albert Young to have a good game running the ball.

The over/under is near 60 points, or was earlier this week. That seems a little low, don't you think?

Rob Howe's Prediction: Suffice it to say that I've felt more confident in the Hawkeyes heading into the last three Novembers than I do this year. Iowa has posted a 9-1 record in the month since 2002. This year, its three Big Ten wins have come against teams with a combined 1-14 league mark.

While not as confident as in the past, I still like the idea of giving Norm Parker two weeks to prepare for Northwestern, a team he has pretty much figured out how to beat since the day he arrived at Iowa. Albert Young has a huge day, and the Hawkeye defense takes another step forward: Iowa 34, Northwestern 24.

Jon Miller's Prediction: As Rob said and as what was said above, this is Albert Young's day to shine. It will be interesting to see if Northwestern tries any new looks on defense, but they are young on that side of the ball. It will also be interesting to see if Iowa employs multiple schemes when it is on defense, looking to keep Basanez out of rythym. I think Iowa does enough on that end and special teams come up big. This is the game that Jovon Johnson takes one to the house. Iowa 44, Northwestern 28.


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