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Northwestern vs. Iowa: Talking Kirk Ferentz, rivalry?, and boredom with BHGP

jerks hate ferentz weisman bad boring football fat people corn awful Iowa-Northwestern sad

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

We hate those damn Iowegians. We play them in football two days from now. Let's meet up with RossWB and see what stupid, idiotic, barely coherent things that illiterate jerk from jerkville has to jerk jerk jerk hate corn jerk corn worst awful bad.

Take it away, Ross!

1. So you guys are really just giving the ball to Mark Weisman over and over again, huh. How's that working out?

WEISMAN NOT WEAK!  Sorry, thought we were talking about the Ukraine for a moment.  Anyway.  Weisman is Iowa's main man, but by Iowa standards, his workload hasn't been too egregious.  He has 136 of Iowa's 306 carries on the season -- less than half!  And he only carried the ball 17 times combined in Iowa's last two games, against Michigan State and Ohio State.  Of course, Iowa lost both of those games and there might be a connection there... so yeah.  Weisman's success running the ball has a bit impact on Iowa's ability to win games and look good on offense.  I think a winning gameplan for Iowa on Saturday probably involves Weisman getting at least 20 carries and pounding away at the Wildcat defensive front.  The success that a big back like Carlos Hyde had against that same defense gives me some optimism.  Mark Weisman is no Carlos Hyde -- he's, like, a half-a-bottle-of-applejack-down homeless man's Carlos Hyde -- but I think he can do some damage on Saturday.

Iowa will probably also run out a few other running backs -- Damon Bullock has been the main back-up this year and he brings a little more speed (and a lot less physicality) to the table than Weisman.  He's also a much better pass-catcher and the coaches have been using him in that capacity more and more.  The other running backs are LeShun Daniels, a Shonn Greene starter kit, and Jordan Canzeri, who's small, speedy, and (so far) little-used.  All in all, the running game has worked pretty well for Iowa this year.

2. Hate hate hate hate hate. Iowa-Northwestern was a mini-rivalry with some upsets and some trashtalk, but the past two years have been pretty much straightforward, expected home wins for each team. As of today does NU fall on the most hated list with Iowa fans? I'm guessing below Iowa State and Minnesota.

I think the hate is a little muted this year.  Honestly, after losing to y'all so many times in recent years, I think we're probably a little numb to at it this point.  (And I'm not talking about any damn marching band, either.)  Plus, a lot of the ire in losing to Northwestern stemmed from little ol' underdog Wildcat teams (undercats?) knocking off favored Iowa teams and spoiling good seasons (or potentially good) seasons.  Iowa, uh, hasn't had a good season going for a little while now and only the most punch-drunk Iowa fan would argue that the Northwestern teams in recent years haven't been as good (or better) than Iowa.  So right now, I'd put Northwestern below the two teams you mentioned (in-state pissing matches do matter and Minnesota stages unlawful annual claims on our pig, which is unacceptable) and the "other" NU.  Those assholes get our dander up a lot more than you folks.

3. Iowa has pretty good stats defensively in terms of yardage allowed, but struggled in losses. (Seriously, 26 points to Michigan State might as well be a trillion.) What should NU be expecting when we have the ball, and who's a guy to look out for?

Y'know that Iowa defense you guys have seen for the last, oh, 15 years?  Yeah, it's pretty much the same thing this year.  Except we blitz more now!  And, yeah, considering we blitzed approximately 0.0 times a game in the past, literally ANY blitzes would constitute "more" this year.  But still: blitzes y'all.  Our defense has finally entered the 20th century!  Of course, the reason they have to blitz more is because the defensive line really struggles to generate a pass rush by themselves. Which is kind of a problem.

Whatever you do, don't target the Iowa safeties, either.  They're definitely never out of position or late to make a break on a ball or liable to miss a tackle or-- sorry, I got into some of that applejack, I think.  Safety play is not a strength for Iowa's defense this year.  The best play Tanner Miller has ever made in an Iowa uniform is still probably that interception he had against you guys two years ago -- the one he picked off near the goal line and ran back like 98 yards.  That was sweet.  The rest of his tenure as Iowa's starting FS... not so much.  His partner-in-crime, Johnny Lowdermilk, also has some struggles when it comes to coverage, so... yeah, please don't challenge Iowa with deep passes.  Please.

What is good about the Iowa defense?  The linebackers.  James Morris, Christian Kirksey, and Anthony Hitchens are are like a tackle-happy, pass-swatting, sack-snatching Cerberus in the middle of the Iowa defense.  They've been around forever (all three are seniors and all three have been multi-year starters), but they're playing like they want to end their Iowa careers with a bang.  Morris and Hitchens are tackling machines, while Kirksey is probably Iowa's best linebacker in coverage.  (He's also probably Iowa's best blitzer.)  They make plays, swarm to the ball, get the rest of the defense into correct alignment, and provide a ton of leadership.  I really can't complain about their play this year.

4. On a scale of "white bread" to "mayo," how bland is Iowa this season compared to other seasons?

I'm gonna go with chipotle mayo.  It's spicier than normal -- we run a little zone-read!  we go up-tempo!  we blitz more! -- but it's still, y'know, pretty mayo-y.  We're not putting straight sriracha on anything here.  And don't even think about touching the ghost peppers.  But compared to Iowa teams of yore, there's a little more spice involved.

5. The Jaguars cut Mike Kafka and later signed Ricky Stanzi. Is it worse to be cut by the Jaguars or to be on the Jaguars?

I just want Ricky Stanzi to play a game in the NFL.  One freaking game.  IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK FOR?  America needs this Jacksonville.  UNLEASH THE AMERICANZI.

Also: yes, being on the Jaguars is worse than being cut by the Jaguars.  Being cut by the Jaguars means they don't think you have ANY shot of being better than Blaine Gabbert, which means you must be a real shitburger.  Also, being on the Jaguars means that you still get to collect fat NFL paychecks, which is nice.  Plus, you get to hang around with the Jags' owner and his fan-freaking-tastic mustache, which has gotta be pretty awesome.

6. Is it Iowa custom to include nudies in your return emails? Why are you/aren't you doing so in this case?

I thought you'd rather have a signed copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover instead -- was that not accurate?  Dammit, I was told to keep it highbrow.

7. Give us a prediction, y'all.

History suggests that Fitzgerald will have Northwestern uber-motivated, that Colter will shake off his ailments to nickel-and-dime Iowa's defense to death, that there will be a big special teams play that goes your way, and that I will want to set myself on fire on Saturdayafternoon. But fuck history.  I think Weisman softens Northwestern up and Jake Rudock finishes them off with some aerial bombardment.  It will be close -- Iowa doesn't really know any other way to play -- but this time the Hawks make the key plays in the fourth quarter.  IOWA 31, NORTHWESTERN 21

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