Northwestern Wildcats vs. Iowa Hawkeyes – College Football, October 31, 2020
The Wildcats descend upon Kinnick Stadium on Halloween in search of a 2-0 start. The Hawkeyes are hoping to avoid a second straight Big Ten loss after getting upset last weekend against in West Lafayette.
Something’s got to give, which leads me to a Northwestern vs. Iowa prediction.
Before I unveil a betting pick, let’s take a peek at the line.
Northwestern vs. Iowa Odds
A one-game sample size is hardly enough to feel strongly about either side, but it’s not like these two programs are strangers. The Wildcats and Hawkeyes have gone to battle every year since 2005, with Northwestern emerging in 9 of the last 15 meetings.
However, zeroing in on the 2019 showdown paints a different picture.
Iowa suffocated Pat Fitzgerald’s bunch 20-0 at Ryan Field, holding the Cats to a measly 202 total yards on offense.
Meet the 2020 Wildcats
A 45-3 beatdown of the Terrapins gives Northwestern hope that they can make some noise in the Big Ten. Then again, the 325 rushing yards the Wildcats racked up last weekend needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Maryland couldn’t stop any last year and is likely to be the bottom feeder of the conference.
The heart and soul of this team lies on the defensive side of the ball, although the skill positions on offense have just enough substance.
Peyton Ramsey got off to an efficient start under center and is poised for a solid senior season in Evanston. And while Isaiah Bowser is expected to be the lead back for Coach Fitzgerald, sophomore Drake Anderson’s quick feet were on full display in last Saturday’s opener.
Meet the 2020 Hawkeyes
Spencer Petras takes over – a 6’5” highly-recruited pro-style quarterback who played “ok” against the Boilermakers. He didn’t turn the ball over, but he had a difficult time pushing the ball down the field. Look for him to take a few more shots Saturday at Kinnick Stadium – especially considering how ineffective the Hawkeyes have been on the ground against the Wildcats in recent meetings.
Iowa's yards per carry in the last three meetings against Northwestern.— Sean Bock (@SBock247) October 28, 2020
Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday that he knows Northwestern's defense will present challenges for the #Hawkeyes on Saturday. https://t.co/i9pV9Exi12
Brandon Smith is a lengthy receiver with big-play potential on the outside, while Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Nico Ragaini are both suitable weapons coming out of the slot. As Petras progresses his game and continues getting more comfortable with the system, it’s up to the defense to keep the Hawkeyes in games.
Jack Koerner leads a revamped secondary while Daviyon Nixon anchors a budding defensive line. Lots of questions surround who else is going to step up, although we should get some answers Saturday in Iowa City.
Northwestern vs. Iowa Pick
Not only are the Hawkeyes playing at home, but they’re restless coming off being upset against Purdue. And remember, the Wildcats lost eight straight Big Ten games to open the 2019 campaign.
On the flip side, Iowa went 10-3, and all three of their losses came against opponents ranked inside the top-20.
Not only do I like the Hawkeyes to cover the 2.5-point spread, but I featured my Northwestern vs. Iowa prediction in my best college football bets of the week column.