Northwestern vs Iowa: Iowa and Northwestern come into Saturday’s game on two different trajectories.Northwestern, after a dismal non-conference start, currently sits at 5-4, but all five wins have come in Big Ten play, including their upset of Wisconsin.
Northwestern have been homebodies their last two matches, but they are heading out on Saturday. They will square off against Iowa at 4:30 p.m. Northwestern are the clear underdogs, so they’re hoping it the size of the fight that determines this one.
After a string of four wins, Northwestern’s good fortune finally ran out last week. They took a 21-31 hit to the loss column at the hands of Notre Dame. A silver lining for Northwestern was the play of Clayton Thorson, who punched in 2 rushing TDs and accumulated 141 passing yards. If you haven’t heard Thorson’s name lately, then you haven’t been paying much attention: he has loomed large in their past four games.
As for Iowa, they have relied on a stalwart defense averaging 16.13 points allowed per game, but that average took a hit last Saturday. They fell just short of Purdue by a score of 36-38. It was a tough break for Iowa, who improved upon an already decent score from two weeks ago but lost both times.
With the two teams each stumbling in off of a defeat, both will be hungry for the victory. We’ll see which team satisfies their hunger and which team leaves with an empty stomach.
Iowa’s massive defensive line is going to give Northwestern problems. I think it’ll be hard for Northwestern to get the intermediate-to-deep passing game going, and running the ball will be tougher than in past weeks.
Northwestern has been sneaky-good on the road, and I’m starting to believe in the run game, but to beat a team as solid defensively as Iowa is, Clayton Thorson is going to have to have a better performance. I just don’t see a breakout game on the horizon from him. The Wildcats should keep it close, but Iowa will win an ugly one.