Generate Nontraditional Points
Somehow Iowa managed to score 31 points against Maryland despite playing like absolute garbage. A result like that against Northwestern would probably work out pretty well. Like the Hawkeyes, Northwestern has struggled on offense. They haven’t even hit the 30 point mark or scored more than three offensive touchdowns in a game this year. This is not the past Wildcat offenses that have spelled doom for Iowa’s defense. So even though the defense was as bad as I’ve ever seen it two weeks ago, I don’t see this game being a barn burner on offense.
But Northwestern has won a few games this year with its solid defense. It’s going to be difficult for Iowa to move the ball. So Iowa is going to need to find ways to score beyond putting together 10-play drives that include picking up 4th-down conversions. The Hawkeyes are going to need explosive plays on offense, timely turnovers, or a special teams spark.
Seriously, just make tackles. I don’t know what has been going on with the Iowa defense. It is somewhere between being pretty solid and absolutely terrible, but I don’t know which way it is leaning right now. Northwestern isn’t a particularly good offense, as mentioned, but RB Justin Jackson is capable enough to put up some yards.
And Northwestern is still going to try to nickel and dime its way down the field. 15-play scoring drives are the norm for this team. The good news is that they haven’t been good enough to do that consistently. And good tackling is only going to make it tougher for them to do that.
Make November Matter
It’s been a rough month and a half. There have been 2 bye weeks and 3 road games. It feels like forever since there was a home game. But the good thing about the way the schedule set up this year is that November is jam-packed with important divisional games. The West is still completely up for grabs.
If Iowa wants to stay in the hunt it really needs a win tomorrow. Besides Illinois, the other 3 games after that are against teams with only one conference loss, so Iowa probably can’t afford to lose tomorrow and then again to any of those teams.
Plus, a win gets Iowa bowl eligible…so there’s that.
It's Halloween, the first home game in forever, the start of a potentially awesome month of football. The last two weeks haven't been filled with good news at all. Transfers, injuries, dumb arrests/suspensions... So let's get dressed up as our favorite Frozen character and just enjoy.
This game, with the bad offenses and the solid defenses, is set up to be a classic November, ugly, low-scoring B1G football game -- exactly the type of game where we'd say, Iowa Kirk Ferentzed its way to an ugly win. I don't think we'll see the offense get going, but the defense will be better than it was against Maryland, keeping it close and low-scoring through out. As much as the offense has struggled throughout the middle of most games, Jake Rudock has had a knack for scoring drives in the fourth quarter, and I think he leads Iowa to victory on a late FG drive.
Final Score: Iowa 20 - Northwestern 17