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Northwestern (4-3) at Iowa (4-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 26, 12 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Kinnick Stadium (70,585) -- Iowa City, Iowa. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: NU 3-2, Iowa 2-2. Away Record: NU 1-1, Iowa 2-1. Neutral Record: NU 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Conference Record: NU 0-3, Iowa 1-2. Series: Iowa leads, 47-24-3.

GAME NOTES: A couple of struggling Big Ten Legends Division teams will square off at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as the Iowa Hawkeyes host the Wildcats of Northwestern.

Northwestern got off to a 4-0 start but has since lost three in a row to erase that early-season momentum. All three losses came against conference foes, including last Saturday's 20-17 home loss to Minnesota. The schedule does not get any easier in the coming weeks, as the Wildcats must next deal with Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State.

Iowa enters this tilt hoping to avoid a third straight defeat. The Hawkeyes were also in action this past weekend at fourth-ranked Ohio State and came away with a hard-fought 34-24 loss. Their three losses this season have come against teams with a combined record of 20-1.

Iowa leads the head-to-head series, 47-24-3. NU claimed a 28-17 victory over the Hawkeyes almost a year ago to the date in Evanston. The Wildcats ran for 349 yards in that game and controlled the time of possession.

Northwestern tops the Big Ten in red zone efficiency, having scored points on 28 of 29 trips inside the 20 (17 touchdowns and 11 field goals). But where the Wildcats have really struggled is protecting the quarterback, as they have allowed 22 sacks on the season, the highest total in the conference. In last week's loss to Minnesota, Trevor Siemian faced a steady diet of pressure and was sacked three times. He completed 25-of-46 passes for 234 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Siemian was starting in place Kain Colter, while running back Venric Mark, who averaged 105 yards per game on the ground last season, was also sidelined. Both players are dealing with ankle injuries -- Colter is considered probable to suit up, although Mark is doubtful for this weekend's contest.

It's tough to pin last week's loss on the Wildcat defense. After all, they held Minnesota below 300 yards of total offense and forced the Golden Gophers to kick a field goal on their only trip inside the red zone. They also limited the Gophers to 3.6 yards per carry as a team and a 4-of-13 success rate on third down. Nick VanHoose led the way with 11 tackles to go along with a forced fumble and a pass breakup, while Damien Proby notched 10 tackles. However, the Wildcats were unable to generate any takeaways, which made things difficult with the offense struggling. In fact, it was the first time in a span of 11 games the NU defense failed to record an interception. Still, the Wildcats lead the Big Ten with 17 takeaways on the season.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead against Ohio State, but they were outscored 24-7 in the second half to fall short in their upset bid. Still, it was a rather impressive showing for an offense that was not given much of a chance by prognosticators heading into the game against the Buckeyes' fierce defense. Jake Rudock threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns, and Jake Duzey collected six catches for 138 yards and a score. On the ground, Iowa averaged 4.8 yards per carry as a team. The Hawkeyes converted 8-of-13 third downs and scored on all three of their trips into the red zone (two TDs, one FG). The offense continued to do the things it has done well all season long; protect the QB and convert third downs. The Hawkeyes have allowed only five sacks this season, the seventh-best total in the country. They are also among the national leaders in third-down conversions (50 percent, 14th).

Defensively, the Hawkeyes have been tough to run against, as they have held every opponent this season below their rushing average. In fact, they have allowed only two rushing TDs all season, which is tied with Alabama and Florida State for the fewest in the nation. Both of those rushing scores came last week against the Buckeyes, as they had not allowed a touchdown on the ground all season up to that game. Additionally, the Iowa defense has allowed only four red-zone TDs, the lowest total in the country. The unit ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, total defense, and pass defense. True freshman cornerback Desmond King has collected 23 tackles over the last two games.

Both of these teams can argue that they are better than their records would show. However, the only way to settle that is out on the field. Give a slight edge to the Hawkeyes, who are playing at home against a banged up Northwestern squad.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 34, Northwestern 24

10/23 10:35:14 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
 
3rd
HAW 10
NEV 9
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14