NORTHWESTERN AT IOWA
WEEK 10, 2:30 P.M., KINNICK STADIUM
RADIO: WOC (1420 AM)
LINE: Iowa by 10.5
SERIES: Iowa 50-26-3
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Iowa’s cornerback play: Looking to halt a two-game slide, the Hawkeyes face a senior quarterback for the third straight week and freshmen cornerbacks Julius Brents and Riley Moss will again be tested after Purdue’s David Blough threw for 333 yards last week. Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson is just behind Blough and third in the Big Ten with his passing average of 245.9 yards per game. The return of Matt Hankins after five games gives Iowa added depth at corner.
Nate Stanley’s accuracy: Iowa’s junior quarterback will look to build off of a second-half roll at Purdue which saw him complete 16 of his final 19 pass attempts. Stanley has now completed 57.2 percent of his 276 passes this season covering 2,039 yards. He’ll face a Northwestern secondary that will be without two injured starters, senior safety Jared McGee and cornerback Trae Williams.
Isaiah Bowser’s feet: The Northwestern running back, a 6-foot-1, 216-pound freshman, has helped the Wildcats ground game gain some traction in recent weeks. He’s topped 90 rushing yards in each of the last three games, and his season average of 64 yards per game ranks seventh nationally among freshman running backs.
Interception collection: After recording two interceptions in Iowa’s first four games, the Hawkeyes have picked off 10 passes over the last five games. Amani Hooker and Geno Stone lead Iowa with three apiece, while Jake Gervase and Riley Moss have recorded two interceptions. The Wildcats’ Thorson has been intercepted 10 times in 347 attempts this season.
Sophomore linebackers: Blake Gallagher and Paddy Fisher are at the core of a Northwestern defense that has held five of its six Big Ten opponents below season scoring averages. Gallagher, at will linebacker is second in the Big Ten with an average of 9.2 tackles per game, while Fisher averages 7.7 stops per game at middle linebacker.
— Steve Batterson
Iowa (6-3, 3-3)
INTERCEPTIONS: Amani Hooker 3, Geno Stone 3, Jake Gervase 2, Riley Moss 2
SACKS: A.J. Epenesa 7, Anthony Nelson 6.5, Parker Hesse 4
TACKLES: Jake Gervase 55, Amani Hooker 44, Kristian Welch 43, Jack Hockaday 40, Parker Hesse 39
PUNT RETURNS: Kyle Groeneweg 14-125-8.9-0
KICKOFF RETURNS: Ihmir Smith-Marsette 12-378-31.5-0, Kyle Groeneweg 2-54-27.0-0, Devonte Young 2-42-21.0-0
Northwestern (5-4, 5-1)
John Moten IV;32;80;2.5;2
INTERCEPTIONS: JR Pace 3, Nate Hall 1, Montre Hartage 1, Jared McGee 1
SACKS: Joe Gaziano 4.5, Jordan Thompson 2
TACKLES: Blake Gallagher 86, Paddy Fisher 69, JR Pace 51, Jared McGee 49, Montre Hartage 42
PUNT RETURNS: Riley Lees 16-92-5.8-0
KICKOFF RETURNS: Kyric McGowan 10-227-22.7-0, John Moten IV 2-33-16.5-0
Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel vs. Iowa SS Amani Hooker: The Wildcats’ senior ranks second in the Big Ten and 10th nationally with an average of seven receptions per game and is fourth in the conference with 82.7 receiving yards per game. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior has 63 receptions on the season and will provide another test for Hooker, who has broken up a team-leading five passes and shares the team lead with five interceptions.
BY THE NUMBERS
Northwestern games decided by four points or less this season
Consecutive wins by Northwestern against Big Ten West opponents
"Both coaches have been with their programs for a long time, so there aren’t many surprises. We know they’ll come in here and try to be physical and get after it, and we plan to do the same. It’s going to be a good old-fashioned Big Ten game." — Iowa defensive end Parker Hesse