The Iowa Hawkeyes, after starting the year 6-0, have hit the skids. Iowa has dropped their last two games to fall from 6-0 to 6-2. They’ve gone from a high of #2 in the AP poll to #19 in the latest iteration. And they’ve gone from virtual locks to represent the Big Ten West in Indianapolis to needing serious help to even have a chance.
Now the Hawkeyes look to right the ship as they make their second straight Big Ten road trip, this time heading to Evanston to take on reigning Big Ten West division champions Northwestern. The Wildcats are having their own struggles this season as they come into the matchup at 3-5 on the year and just 1-4 in the conference. The lone win came against Rutgers three weeks ago and the only thing standing between Northwestern and the bottom of the West standings is Nebraska at 1-5 in conference play.
As bad as Iowa has been offensively the last two weeks, Northwestern has looked much worse for the full season. The Wildcats are averaging just 19 points per game on the season. On the other side of the ball, the Northwestern defense may be just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Iowa offense. The Cats are giving up more than 27 points and more than 420 yards of total offense per game
Here’s a quick look at this weekend’s critical matchup.
Date: Saturday, November 6th
Time: 6:00pm CT
Matchup: #19 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (3-5, 1-4)
Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Preliminary Weather Forecast: clear with temps in the mid-40s, 5% chance of rain
DraftKings Opening Line: Iowa -12, O/U 40.5*
The Hawkeyes and Wildcats go way back. This series first started in 1897 as the Hawkeyes came away with a 12-6 win in Evanston to open things up. The series then went on hiatus until 1910, when the Wildcats avenged their loss.
Iowa holds the all-time series lead 51-28-3. That comes in large part to the 21-game winning streak that ran from 1974 to 1994 for the Hawkeyes. While the late 70s, 80s and early 90s saw Iowa dominate, the most dominant performance in series history actually came back in 1913 when the Hawkeyes obliterated Northwestern an astonishing 78-6.
Current Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has had an up and down time with the Wildcats. After starting 3-2 against Randy Walker, Ferentz has met his match in current Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Northwestern leads the series 9-6 since Fitzgerald became the head man in Evanston. The Wildcats took home the victory early last season in Iowa City to make it four of the last five over the Hawkeyes. Despite the hot streak, Northwestern hasn’t beaten Iowa in Evanston since 2017.