After taking a week off, the Iowa Hawkeyes have apparently decided to continue playing football this season. That comes despite the announcement that offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz has officially been let go... just not for another month or two. So it will again be Ferentz the younger who takes the field with the Hawkeyes as they face off with the Northwestern Wildcats today inside the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
With Brian comes the worst offense in college football. And yet Iowa still enters the day in a 4-way tied for first place in the Big Ten West. If the Hawkeyes win their remaining four games, they are almost certainly going to win the final West division title and return to Indianapolis to face the representative from the East.
But winning four straight games is difficult when you have no offense, even in the woeful West.
The mission starts today with a matchup against a Northwestern Wildcat team that enters the day riding high after a comeback victory over the Maryland Terrapins last week. The Wildcats are .500 on the season and just 2-3 in the conference, but they boast more success on the offensive side of the ball than Iowa could dream of at this point.
Northwestern managed 33 points in the week ago win over Maryland and racked up 37 in an OT win against that same Minnesota team that held Iowa to a miserable 10 in their last outing . The Wildcats are averaging more than 300 yards per game on the season, though they’ve been a bit up and down which has resulted in a scoring average of just under 22 points per game despite those recent high-water marks.
That’s more than two points per game more than the Iowa offense has managed on the year and the Hawkeyes haven’t topped 20 points in two straight weeks. Fortunately for Iowa, the defense remains incredible.
The Hawkeyes are giving up fewer than 15 points per game on the season and just 4.2 yards per play. That’s a meaningful advantage over the Wildcats, who are surrendering 26 points per game and nearly five and a half yards per play. Notably, Northwestern is giving up 160 yards per game on the ground.
So perhaps even Iowa’s miserable offense can find a way to move the ball without Deacon Hill needing to do a thing. Perhaps.
As we countdown to kickoff, here’s everything you need to know about today’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, November 4th
Time: 2:30 pm CT
Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (4-4, 2-3)
Location: Wrigley Field - Chicago IL
Preliminary Weather Forecast: cloudy with temps in the low-50s, 10% chance of rain
DraftKings Sportsbook Line: Iowa -4.5, O/U 30.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Keep an eye out for the availability report, which is set to be published around 12:30 pm CT. Recall that’s a new item in the Big Ten this season with availability reported two hours before game time.