No matter where both teams are in the standings, Northwestern versus Iowa is always sure to be a toss-up. Between two schools that seem to be the epitome of Big Ten football — strong defense, ground and pound run game, little offense — not a single Inside NU staff writer predicted either team to score more than 17 points. Here are their predictions for today’s 2:30 P.M. CST matchup:
Gavin Dorsey: Northwestern 16, Iowa 10
I haven’t picked the ‘Cats since the loss to Miami (OH), but today’s the day. In a battle in which the offense that scores a touchdown first probably wins, I’m picking Northwestern by six. I was impressed with Brendan Sullivan last week, and think he’ll be able to build on his performance again today. Pat Fitzgerald has a great track record against Kirk Ferentz; he’s 9-7 overall, winning four of his last six, including his last three at Kinnick. Fitz and the crew find something today and earns their first win on American soil since Oct. 16, 2021.
Bradley Locker: Iowa 16, Northwestern 13
This might be Northwestern's last chance at a win to stay alive in the zany Big Ten West, and I think the 'Cats know what's at stake in Kinnick Stadium. At the same time, this Iowa defense is one of the staunchest in the country. NU might not get many chances to even get in enemy territory — and if it does, it cannot turn the ball over. I predict Brendan Sullivan makes a backbreaking mistake or two, giving the Hawkeyes just enough to eke out a win. There's also the chance this game could end about 45-42, because this is the great sport of football after all.
Iggy Dowling: Iowa 17, Northwestern 7
Yes, you read that right... THREE touchdowns! Unfortunately, I think Iowa’s defense will score one of them. Only four teams in the country have committed more turnovers than Northwestern this season. That’s a recipe for heartbreak against an Iowa team with an offense whose ineptitude can only be described by unpublishable words.
John Olsen: Iowa pi, Northwestern 2^0.5
If there’s ever a game that’s capable of producing a final score that features irrational numbers, it will be this one.
Adam Beck: Northwestern 17, Iowa 14
Northwestern has a legit shot to beat Iowa. They looked promising at times against Maryland and with a quarterback controversy brewing in Iowa City this game is going to be sloppy. Led by Brendan Sullivan’s legs and a couple turnovers forced by Bryce Gallagher and Adetomiwa Adebawore, the ‘Cats will get their first win in North America in the last 378 days.
Jake Mozarsky: Iowa 12, Northwestern 7
I think that the flashes the Northwestern offense showed in College Park will not be replicated at Kinnick Stadium, as the Iowa defense is much better than Maryland’s. Iowa will have 12 points, but only three will come on offense. Expect Northwestern to lose the turnover battle even though the Iowa offense is so, so terrible.
Ethan Segall: Iowa 9, Northwestern 3
If you are passionate about punting, this is the perfect game for you. Iowa’s defense is the real deal so I’ll seize on the opportunity to predict an unwatchable slog that features exclusively field goals. Nothing on Halloween will match the horror of watching these offenses go at it on Saturday.
Ryan Cole: Iowa 14, Northwestern 13
I think Northwestern can stop Iowa. I also think Brendan Sullivan is a lot better than Ryan Hilinski. But the Iowa defense is too good for the ‘Cats to win this game. It will be close, likely a heart breaker, but Northwestern is headed for 1-7. We’re brimming with positivity here at InsideNU this season.
Jason Boué: Iowa 4, Northwestern 3
I’m 99.99% sure that it is not possible to score negative points in a game of American football, but if there’s a game that will prove me wrong, it’s this one.
Zain Bando: Iowa 17, Northwestern 14
To be fair, for his first start, I thought Brendan Sullivan looked good in College Park last Saturday. Was it good enough to pull off a road upset? Absolutely not. Will more heartbreak happen again in Iowa City this weekend? Unfortunately, yes.
Patrick Winograd: Iowa 17, Northwestern 10
I am going with a surprisingly normal score for this game. Northwestern’s turnover issues will rear their ugly head again and will lead to the loss. The only reason I think Iowa will reach 17 points is as a result of a defensive touchdown.
Sophia Vlahakis: Iowa 14, Northwestern 7
It’s still football season? Northwestern could win this game, but we have all heard that story before.
Leo Tesler: Iowa 13, Northwestern 7
Iowa is coming off a blowout loss to Ohio State, but has held their own against other competitive teams in the Big Ten. They kept Michigan within two scores, and didn’t allow a touchdown in a 9-6 loss to Illinois. Northwestern does have a shot if they keep the game close, but I think Iowa is battle-tested enough to pull this one out.
The Wildcats’ offense has struggled to move the ball all year and the Hawkeyes have had success with stopping the run, only holding Samuel Brown of Rutgers to 34 yards rushing the entire game. Yes, I understand that game was a month ago and Iowa has been in a tailspin, but if that defense can do it to Brown, they can certainly give Evan Hull a run for his money.
I see a late-fourth quarter interception or fumble recovery to help put the game on ice, handing Northwestern its seventh-straight loss after starting the season a promising 1-0 in August.
At least basketball season starts next week, right?
Brendan Preisman: Iowa 8, Northwestern 3
I’d like to believe that the football gods are generous and good. Unfortunately, this game proves otherwise. Whichever team is the first to cross midfield twice probably wins, and Iowa’s defense is a lot stouter than the Wildcats’. And for those wondering, yes, the eight points come from two field goals and a safety.
6-1: John Olsen
4-3: Bradley Locker, Gavin Dorsey
3-4: Iggy Dowling, Sophia Vlahakis, Zain Bando
2-5: Sarah Effress
4-2: Jake Mozarsky
3-3: Jason Boué, Sam Richardson, Brendan Preisman
2-3: Mac Stone
2-4: Ben Chasen
1-0: Patrick Winograd, Leo Tesler, Ethan Segall, Ryan Cole, Adam Beck
1-1: Emma Manley, Myles Gilbert
0-3: John Ferrara
0-2: Justin Dunbar, Dan Olinger, Andrew Katz
0-1: Didi Jin