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Reply To: NCAAF Week 7 – Previews, Articles, Info. Saturday Service Plays 10/17/15

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stephen nover

Free Play — Northwestern

Talk has begun about Iowa going unbeaten. Usually when that happens the team loses its next game.

I see that scenario happening with the Hawkeyes.

Iowa hasn’t won at Northwestern during the past seven years. The Hawkeyes are banged-up and facing what’s sure to be an aroused Wildcats squad.

Not only did Northwestern get embarrassed 38-0 to Michigan last Saturday, but the Wildcats have a strong revenge motive after getting crushed by Iowa, 48-7, last season. That was Northwestern’s worst defeat since 2010.

It’s easy to write off Northwestern after its bad loss to Michigan. But that’s a mistake. Not only are the Wolverines very good – a touchdown favorite this week against Michigan State – but the Wildcats have one of the best defenses in the country.

Stanford just scored 56 points on UCLA. Northwestern held the Cardinal to six points. The Wildcats rank in the top 10 in giving up the fewest yards and fewest points at just 12.2 points a game. That number shrinks to six points per game at home.

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard isn’t 100 percent and the Hawkeyes are using backup offensive tackles, one being true freshman James Daniels. It’s the first time during the 17-year era of Kirk Ferentz the Hawkeyes are starting a true freshman on the offensive line. It comes at a bad time, too, for Iowa because Northwestern has two outstanding senior defensive ends.
Also remember that Iowa remains without wide receiver Tevaun Smith -their best deep threat – running back LeShun Daniels Jr. and tight end Jake Duzey.

Northwestern doesn’t have a fancy offense, but Justin Jackson is one of the better running backs in the country. He’s a two-time Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year.

The Wildcats catch a break because Iowa suffered another key injury in their win last week against Illinois when defensive end Drew Ott suffered an ACL knocking him out for the season. Ott leads Iowa with 7 1/2 tackles for losses and five sacks.