Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northwestern Wildcats Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/06/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Where to watch: TBD

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Iowa -12
BetMGM: Iowa -11.5
Caesars: Iowa -12

Season record
No. 22 Iowa: 6-2 (3-2 Big Ten)
Northwestern: 3-5 (1-4 Big Ten)

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Iowa - Northwestern preview and analysis


Last week
Iowa: lost 27-7 at Wisconsin on Saturday
Northwestern: lost 41-14 vs. Minnesota on Saturday

After consecutive weeks of proving to the rest of the country that they don’t belong in big-time college football affairs, the Iowa Hawkeyes hit the road Saturday to take on the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston.

Remember when Iowa was No. 2 in the country? It never happened. It was all a mirage. Because a No. 2 team in the country would score 14 points combined in two weeks and drop as far to 22.

Iowa, after losing to the Purdue Boilermakers by 17 points at home on Oct. 16, followed that up with just as much of a clunker against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday after a week off. The Hawkeyes were held to 156 total yards in Madison on Saturday.

Quarterback Spencer Petras, after throwing four interceptions against Purdue, answered by going 9 of 19 for 93 yards against Wisconsin. Tyler Goodson had only 13 carries for 27 yards, while Wisconsin’s offense wasn’t any better but it made more plays than Iowa’s abysmal unit.

"There's no panic," Petras said. "We've been there before. We started last season 0-2. The biggest thing is pushing through when you get knocked down like this. There's no quit in this team."

Spoken like a man who has been wandering around an Iowa cornfield for a week with no hope of getting out.

How in the world can you say there’s no panic after you’ve gone from the No. 2 team in the country to laying two ostrich-sized eggs in consecutive games. There is absolute panic for Iowa because the stigma of trying to show it’s capable of winning big games continues to haunt this program.

Iowa’s offense has been in a state of panic for over a decade and just when it seemed like the Hawkeyes had a group that could finally get over the hump, it’s fallen back like this.

So someone has to come to the forefront and tell me why Iowa as near-two-touchdown favorites is a plausible play against a Northwestern team that’s also fallen short of expectations this season. With hopes of building off a Big Ten championship appearance last year now dashed, Northwestern is in need of a run just to get to a bowl game.

Two straight losses does not help the Wildcats’ cause, especially a 27-point loss to the suddenly-surging Minnesota Golden Gophers last week. That came one week after getting blown out by 26 against the Michigan Wolverines. Two good teams that were expected to beat Northwestern; a completely different situation than what Iowa is going through.

The Wildcats hung around for three quarters trailing by 13 points before Minnesota ran away with it in the final frame. Andrew Marty threw the most obscure two-touchdown statline with only 93 yards on the ledger. In short, a typical Northwestern offensive output.

Evan Hull did have a great day running the ball with 107 yards on 15 carries, but once again, not much from a typical Northwestern day at the office.

Prediction


All that being said, I have zero faith in Iowa right now. The Iowa defense could very well do a number on Northwestern, but is that offense actually up to the challenge? Call this prisoner-of-the-moment syndrome, but man, another loss for Iowa would just send that program into a tailspin. I’m here for it. Northwestern by 7

Betting trends


Iowa is 11-8 ATS following a conference game.

Iowa is 4-2 ATS as a favorite this season.

Northwestern is 2-5 ATS in its last seven as a home dog.

Statistical leaders


Iowa:
Passing: Spencer Petras -- 1,426 yards, 9 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Tyler Goodson -- 613 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Sam LaPorta -- 376 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Jack Campbell -- 73 tackles

Northwestern:
Passing: Ryan Hilinski -- 764 yards, 3 TD
Rushing: Evan Hull -- 750 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Stephon Robinson Jr. -- 425 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Chris Bergin -- 94 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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