Understanding Northwestern’s Recent Dominance Over the Iowa Hawkeyes

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KIRK FERENTZ

Everyone has a foil- someone or something they just can’t get the best of. Dr. Claw had Inspector Gadget, Charlie Brown had Lucy, and her placekick holds; and I have the various forms of fried chicken.

And the Iowa Hawkeyes have the Northwestern Wildcats.

On Saturday, the Cats once again ruined the Hawks college football season. Last year they defeated No. 8 (AP) Iowa (No. 4 BCS) in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes were 9-0. This year, they ended their Big Ten title and BCS bowl hopes.

NU has now won three in a row in the series and five of the last six, including three games at Kinnick Stadium in 2006, 2008 and 2009. During ’08-’09 Iowa went 12-0 at home versus every non-Northwestern opponent.

Iowa still leads the overall series 46-23-3, but NU has again won 9 of the last 14. After the loss in Evanston, I had to ask the Hawkeyes what was going on with this recent purple reign.

By Paul M. Banks

I first asked Head Coach Kirk Ferentz:

“If you look at the last two games going backwards, we turned it over and they didn’t. Today, they just outplayed us. If you look at [Northwestern’s] seasons from the past two years, they’ve had two good football teams. They’ve played extremely well against us, they played well against Missouri in a bowl game, they played well last year against Auburn. They’re well coached and they’ve got good players who make the plays you need to make. Two 7-3 teams today, and they were the better team today, that’s for sure.”

Northwestern has either led or been tied in the second half of 26 straight games dating to November 2008.

A reporter asked DT Karl Klug if it possible for one team to just have another team’s number.

“It’s hard to argue against the stats,” he said.

It is common for one team to own another in football. The Hawkeyes have certainly had their way with Penn State lately. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 8-3 in their last 11 versus Illinois.

But this is Iowa- who’ve won 22 of its last 27 and 24 of 30. The Hawkeyes are 13-4 in the last 17 Big Ten games. I’m sure you can guess who gave them three of those conference losses.

Iowa may be in the Big Ten‘s upper class, but their fans have a crisis of confidence when it comes to playing Northwestern. They often refer to NU by “jNW” meaning “just Northwestern,” a tongue-in-cheek way of saying “be ready, it’s NOT just Northwestern.”

“”We’re trying to figure out what’s going on when we play these guys, they always get up for us and we try to get up for them. They just always play well against us and they played well today and you got to give them credit,” star tailback Adam Robinson said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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