Staff Predictions: ‘Cats Host Iowa
Gee, I wonder what happened the last time Northwestern played Iowa?
Hopefully those refresh your memory.
Can the ‘Cats do it again? See what our staff says:
Ben Krieger (@thebenkrieger): Northwestern 17, Iowa 13
They say there’s no tougher place to play than Ryan Field at 11 a.m., and the early morning dew on the field’s long grass works its magic once again. The Northwestern defense responds to last week’s tough outing with a turnover avalanche, allowing the Wildcats’ offense to work with short fields and wear down Iowa with a steady dose of Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson. Hunter Johnson throws for one score and remains turnover-free in his return to the lineup, and the Wildcats finally break through for their first Big Ten win of the season.
Player to watch: Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
The Wildcats have struggled to force turnovers this year, but there is no better way to jumpstart a sluggish offense than to create a takeaway. In addition to being a team captain and defensive anchor, Fisher ranks first among active NCAA players with 9 forced fumbles in his career. Look for the linebacker to do his part and push that number to double digits with a momentum-changing play at some point on Saturday.
Kevin Sweeney @CBB_Central): Iowa 16, Northwestern 10
I want to pick the ‘Cats. I really do. I just have too tough a time believing Northwestern is able to score multiple offensive touchdowns against a competent defense. For Northwestern to win this thing, it will take a herculean effort on defense… and maybe even a TD from Mike Hankwitz’s unit.
Player to watch: Isaiah Bowser, RB, Northwestern
Posting 165 yards on 31 carries a season ago on the Hawkeyes was truly Bowser’s coming-out party to the national stage. He has battled injuries this season, but looked good running the ball against a very talented Ohio State front. He’s the only workhorse-type back the ‘Cats have, and he may need 25+ touches and 120+ yards for the Northwestern offense to be able to consistently move the ball.
Zach Koons (@ZachKoons): Iowa 13, Northwestern 10
Get ready people. Late October Big Ten football is HERE!!! This will be a good ole’ defensive slugfest that also might be played in the rain. Iowa’s defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points this year and is simply too well coached to give up points to whatever “offense” the ‘Cats throw at them. Iowa is good, but not great so somehow Northwestern covers.
Player to Watch: Joe Spivak/Eku Leota, DL, Northwestern
With no Trevor Kent or Earnest Brown IV for the defensive line this week, it’s up to the second stringers like Spivak and Leota. With Iowa’s power run game and the potential for precipitation, the ‘Cats will have to win the battle in the trenches. Ideally a forced fumble or two will set the offense up with solid field position.
Eli Karp (@Karp_Eli): Northwestern 14, Iowa 13
We know this is going to be a defensive battle, but there’s little reason the ‘Cats can’t pull this one out on Homecoming despite all of their shortcomings this year. It’s a rock fight Fitz dreams of.
Player to Watch: Isaiah Bowser, RB, Northwestern
Fitz talked about how important his return is to the offense, and the way to breakdown Iowa’s stout defense is by running it up the gut. That’s Bowser’s specialty, and I expect Mick McCall to feed him as much as he can.
Eric Rynston-Lobel (EricR_L) Iowa 10, Northwestern 3
I’m running out of things to say about this team.
Player to watch: Andrew Marty, QB, Northwestern
Who knows, he might play.