The Hawkeyes Mic picks are in for the Iowa – Northwestern Game. It’s unanimous – just like Vegas apparently is this year. Check them out – see if you agree or disagree.
Scott Dochterman – Iowa 27-17:
The betting line caught everyone’s attention on Sunday with Iowa opening as a 10-point favorite. It seemed strange considering Northwestern leads the Big Ten West Division by a full game and owns wins over second-place teams Wisconsin, Purdue, both of which beat Iowa this season.
Yet the Hawkeyes on paper clearly are the better team. Northwestern is mid-pack among Big Ten teams in most defensive categories, while Iowa ranks second in scoring defense, total defense, rush defense and time of possession. The Hawkeyes’ losses fall in the last-minute variety, and this is home game.
After picking Iowa the last two games, both of which ended up losses, I’m a bit gun-shy about doing so again. But the numbers point too much in Iowa’s direction to ignore, even against the eventual division champion.
Steve Batterson – Iowa 27-21:
Another week, another veteran quarterback. Clayton Thorson has been a magician in his 48 games as a starting quarterback for Northwestern, orchestrating an offense that does just enough to complement the work of an effective defense. The Wildcats are facing an angry Iowa team which has let a couple of games slip away the past two weeks. In a high-energy game decided in the final quarter, the Hawkeye run defense should be able to make just enough of a difference in this one.
Brendan Stiles – Iowa 23-17:
After playing four games on the road over the past five weeks, I expect the Hawkeyes to come out fired up getting to play in front of the home crowd again. Northwestern has more at stake, as it only needs two wins in its final three games to reach Indianapolis, so I definitely expect Pat Fitzgerald’s squad to put up a fight and keep it close all the way through.
The biggest key to this game for Iowa is how the Hawkeyes start. I think this is a game where Iowa jumps out to a big lead early on, plays most of the game from ahead, and does just enough to fend off a scrappy Northwestern team at Kinnick on Saturday.
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Tyler Tjelmeland – Iowa 37-17:
Northwestern always seem to spoil Iowa. When is the last time Iowa was in a position to spoil something for the Wildcats? Northwestern has looked terrific over the last month, including a claw back, near victory last week against Notre Dame. Logic says Northwestern. My gut says Iowa. I like my gut. Noah Fant has a monster game after dropping the pass to lose in Evanston last year.
Jack Brandsgard – Iowa 31-21:
You’ve probably heard these statistical trends: Iowa wins nearly every time it rushes for at least 100 yards or scores 20-plus points. Here’s a trend you probably haven’t heard: Iowa is 0-2 this year when Nate Stanley and I sit on the same bus the week of the game. The former trends have been bucked in recent weeks, and I’m picking Iowa this week despite seeing Stanley on the bus today.
Iowa’s experiences against Trace McSorley and David Blough the last two weeks should prepare it for Clayton Thorson, another accomplished dual-threat quarterback. Running against the Hawkeyes is difficult for most teams, which doesn’t bode well for Jeremy Larkin. Iowa will need to find an answer for Flynn Nagel on the outside.
Offensively, the Hawkeyes should be able to pound the ball against Northwestern. My bus-buddy Stanley was in better form last week than in previous games and is due for a breakout game. I think he gets one at home this Saturday.
John Patchett – Iowa 31-17:
Iowa was already going to try to spread out Northwestern’s Defense and emphasize the pass on Saturday. Now the Wildcats are missing half of their starting defensive secondary due to injuries. While this series has become very competitive and stats/records often aren’t predictive of the next game’s outcome – Iowa is just better than the Wildcats in all three phases. Also, Northwestern can afford to lose this game and still become the B1G West Champ.
NW Starting QB Clayton Thorson has almost as many INTs as TDs. Look for the Hawks Defense to pressure him early and often and the Secondary in Phil Parker’s new hybrid 4-2-5 scheme to lock him down.
Iowa bounces back at Kinnick after two heart-breaking losses on the road.
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