Northwestern +10 3.3% play & +348 1% play
Iowa will be held under 100 yards rushing in this one, and this will be a one possession game, just like they have the last 3 years. Northwestern stole 2 of those games as a +10 and +11 underdog winning outright. Iowa has not been able to get the running game going in conference play, and Northwestern is very solid in gap control, and rank 11th in the country in power success defensive line, which is better than Purdue who held them to 102 yards on the road. Now Iowa on the road, and they have had a tough schedule with Michigan, Penn State, and then Purdue, meanwhile Northwestern with the extra day to prepare after getting blown out to Ohio State on national TV. I think the 10 points are a gift, as this game will come down to Iowa passing the ball, and they have been very poor at doing so. Nathan Stanley continues to turn the ball over, and Northwestern is only giving up 180 yards per game through the air, and Iowa has struggled in the red zone on the year, and they are without their #2 WR Brandon Smith who had 9 receptions and over 100 yards receiving last week. Iowa also has been banged up on the offensive line and shuffling guys all over the place, which has been the reason they have had issues protecting the QB. Iowa’s offense has scored 20+ points in 4 games, and all 4 of those opponent defense ranked on average 92nd, with none of them being in the top 75.
Northwestern could have some offensive success in this game. They are certainly due, and have played a tough schedule of opponents defenses. Outside of UNLV, where they scored 34 points, they have played 5 teams ranked in the top 70 in defensive line power success rate, and 4 of those were top 40. They have faced three top 20 overall yards per play defensive teams, and 3 top 25 run defenses. Here they face another with Iowa ranking 19th, but it’s come against weak competition with an average opponent ranking of 75th in YPP offense. Iowa also 22nd vs. the run but they have not faced a team that can run the ball 89th in opponent average ypc, and Penn State ran for 177 yards, and just kept picking up first downs. Iowa ranks 127th in power success rate defense, and they rank 94th ins ack %. Those are the two areas that give me concern and have me thinking that maybe Northwestern could score a couple of TD’s, which will be all they need to cover the spread, and maybe pull the upset. Northwestern struggled turning the ball over in their home games against Michigan State and Ohio State, but those two teams bring the havoc 19.9%, and 24.5% havoc rate. Iowa just 14.1% havoc rate on the season. Also, Northwestern the fresher team here they had a bye before the Ohio State game and an extra day of rest, and they ran for 157 yards against Ohio State, a team that ranks 5th in rushing defense. Truly think Northwestern can move the ball here, and come up with some turnovers to win the game outright.
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