Preview: Northwestern at Iowa

When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 1, 2016
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa


Iowa looks to shake off two straight underwhelming performances and a crippling injury as it hosts Northwestern on Saturday in a critical Big Ten game for both teams. The Hawkeyes edged Rutgers 14-7 last week after getting upset by FCS member North Dakota State and leading receiver Matt VandeBerg is out indefinitely after suffering a foot injury in practice Monday.

“We’re trying to build a team,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters. “We’ve gone through a lot of things historically where the one commonality is we have never been a smooth, crisp team in September. I think October is coming, so it will be a good time to get in that gear.” The Hawkeyes will have to step up against a Northwestern team that comes in angry after dropping three of its first four games, including a 24-13 setback against Nebraska last week. The Wildcats have made too many mistakes on offense while scoring just 16.3 points per game and their defense gave up 556 yards last week at home, including 310 on the ground. “When we go to Iowa City, we have to perform,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told reporters. “If we don’t go out with the right attitude and the right preparation, we will get crushed.”

TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: Iowa --13

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten): Sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson has had some good moments, throwing for 569 yards combined the last two weeks, but has tossed four interceptions as well. Junior Justin Jackson, coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, has 339 in four games to start 2016 and Thorson is next with just 41 while senior Austin Carr leads the Big Ten in receptions (26) and receiving yards (392) with three touchdowns. Junior linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (23 tackles), who was slowed by injury in preseason, leads the defense.

ABOUT IOWA (3-1, 1-0): Senior quarterback C.J. Beathard was hassled in the pocket often at Rutgers last week and sacked twice, completing just 12 passes, and will miss the improving VandeBerg (19 receptions, 284 yards). Senior tight end George Kittle, who was used more the last two weeks with seven catches for 166 yards, could be more important while sophomores Jerminic Smith and Jay Scheel take on bigger roles. The Hawkeyes must depend more on a solid ground attack, led by senior LeShun Daniels Jr. (301 yards, three TDs) and junior Akrum Wadley (274, four).

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Hawkeyes can win their 10th straight Big Ten regular-season game, which would match their longest such streak since 2001-02.

2. Jackson needs 56 yards to become the fourth Northwestern player to rush for 3,000 in their career. 
 
3. Wadley rushed for a career-best 204 yards in Iowa’s 40-10 victory over the Wildcats last year, its fourth win in the last five games of the series.

PREDICTION: Iowa 31, Northwestern 14

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Northwestern 1-3 L1 16.2 17.0 1-3 0-0 1-3 0-0 0-1
Iowa 3-1 W1 30.5 13.5 2-1 1-0 0-0 0-0 1-0

Last Meeting

Northwestern Iowa
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/17/15 IOWA 40 NW 10 198 51 147 492 294 198

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
NW C. Thorson 48.6 125 1 1
IOWA C. Beathard 60.0 176 0 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
NW J. Jackson 10 30 3.0 0
IOWA A. Wadley 26 204 7.8 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
NW M. McHugh 2 43 21.5 0
IOWA M. VandeBerg 8 78 9.8 0
TDs Player TD
NW C. Jones 1
IOWA A. Wadley 4
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
NW C. Thorson 53.2 956 5 4
IOWA C. Beathard 59.1 741 8 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
NW J. Jackson 82 336 4.1 3
IOWA L. Daniels Jr. 52 301 5.8 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
NW A. Carr 26 392 15.1 3
IOWA M. VandeBerg 19 284 14.9 3
TDs Player TD
NW A. Carr 3
IOWA A. Wadley 5

Quickchart Matchup

Northwestern Off vs  Iowa Def
347.5 yards
365.2 yards
3.1 yards/rush
4 yards/rush
6.8 yards/attempt
7 yards/attempt
Iowa Off vs  Northwestern Def
356.2 yards
435 yards
5 yards/rush
4.5 yards/rush
8 yards/attempt
6.6 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Northwestern Overall Iowa
1-3-0 W/L 3-1-0
1-3-0 ATS 1-3-0
0-4-0 O/U 1-3-0
16.2 Pts For 30.5
17.0 Pts Against 13.5
Northwestern A/H Iowa
0-0 W/L 2-1
0-0-0 ATS 1-2-0
0-0-0 O/U 1-2-0
0.0 Pts For 36.0
0.0 Pts Against 15.7