Iowa Football Game Preview: Week 7 at Northwestern Wildcats

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laura vandeberg

Every Iowa football fan knows all too well the wild card that is each and every game in the Northwestern series. Over the past two decades, anything can happen. The Hawkeyes have taken 11, while the Wildcats have won 9 in the last 20- almost dead even.

This season, both teams look like a side that will finish just above .500, and Saturday’s contest in Evanston might just determine who finishes the year 7-5, and who ends up 6-6. No wonder Las Vegas is so unsure about this game, and most sports books have labeled it a pick’em.

This one could really go either way.

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PODCAST PREVIEW:

Joining The TSB Show to preview the Northwestern versus Iowa football game is Todd Brommelkamp, of KGYM Radio Cedar Rapids and Voice of the Hawkeyes.com, the 24/7 Sports Iowa website. Follow him (@toddbrommelkamp)

We agree that you should expect a very fast moving game on Saturday as both teams will keep it on the ground as much as they can and build a game plan around their respective star running back.

Here’s the whole podcast below embedded below:

In addition to previewing the game, we talked some Chicago Cubs and the NLCS. After all, you had two Cubs fans on the phone just hours before game three of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field.

Game 6, if there is one, starts about four hours after this football game.

KICKOFF: 11 AM CST

ODDS: Iowa go to Northwestern as marginal one point favorites with seven bookmakers, as firms are unable to split the two teams in what should be a bruising Big Ten matchup. The bookies are predicting a relatively low-scoring affair, with the over/under set at 47.5, and casual bettors have initially felt comfortable backing the under here.

The half time/full time double is equally close, with Iowa/Iowa at 3/2 and Northwestern/Northwestern just 13/8. This seems a game to stay away from for the neutral neophyte with nothing between the teams according to Vegas.

SERIES HISTORY:

Since 1995, this series is almost even Steven, just like we said in the open.

Of course, prior to that year, which is essentially year one Anno Domini in the modern history of Northwestern football, the Hawkeyes ruled with an iron first, winning every season from 1974-1994. Ouch! Northwestern’s best run came from 2005-2010, when they won five of six.

It included what is the signature win on Pat Fitzgerald’s resume- Nov 7, 2009 when his Cats went into Iowa City and defeated the #4 Hawkeyes, who were 8-0 at the time. They did it with a QB, Dan Persa, who had hardly seen any action at the time. The contest was a MAJOR turning point that Iowa football season.

pat fitzgerald

The same could be said about Northwestern in 2015, when the Hawks came in on October 17th. We all knew that was a de facto B1G West championship game, and up until that point, there was surprisingly limitless potential for the Cats.

Iowa crushed them 40-10, in a game that was even duller than it sounds. The Hawkeyes thrashing kind of exposed that Wildcats team as one that had been winning with smoke and mirrors and defense. In order to know where we’re going on Saturday, we need to remember where we’ve been.

2009 and 2015 are two of the more meaningful and memorable recent tilts in what is almost becoming a rivalry.

laura vandeberg

Current Iowa Football Team Preview: 

The couple repeatedly pictured in this game preview article is Senior WR Matt VandeBerg and his wife Laura. They are essentially the power couple of Iowa football as she’s a host for the school’s official web channel and he hasHe has 1,488 career receiving yards, 20th in program history.

He also has 121 career receptions, 11th most in program history.

The duo were the Iowa football highlight of B1G Media Day in Chicago this past summer, as their recent marriage and the getting hitched trend that it started on the team provided a narrative that was a welcome respite from all the “just getting better today than we wore yesterday” and “focusing on the things that we can control” verbal gobbledygook.

laura vandeberg

VandeBerg doesn’t actually lead the Hawkeyes in any major receiving categories this season though. Nick Easley has emerged as the receiving corps’ alpha dog, and Akrum Wadley coming out of the backfield as the second biggest weapon.

His pass catching abilities are only further ramping up the price of his NFL Draft stock which could be a first round buy. Take a look at where we have him in our latest NFL mock draft. Brommelkamp and I discussed Wadley in the podcast, as Todd pointed how lucky Iowa was to have him not enter the draft and instead come back this season.

Overall, Brommelkamp sees this as pretty much a 7-5 Iowa football team, and maybe a Music City Bowl berth in the end. Again, be sure to listen to the whole podcast, and hear everything that he has to say.

PREDICTION: Northwestern 20, Iowa Football 19

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Pat Fitzgerald is 6-5 against Iowa football as a coach, and he also beat them twice while a player. I don’t know what it is, but NU sometimes performs better against the Hawkeyes than they do against other brand name programs in the league- Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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