No. 19 Iowa looks to stop slide when it meets Northwestern

No. 19 Iowa (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten, No. 22 CFP) at Northwestern (3-5, 1-4), Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT (BTN).

Line: Iowa by 11 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Iowa leads 51-28-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Iowa has dropped two straight since opening 6-0 for the third time in coach Kirk Ferentz’s 23 seasons and fallen 17 spots from No. 2 in the AP poll. The Hawkeyes were in the College Football Playoff discussion following a win over then-No. 4 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium, only to get outscored a combined 51-14 in stumbling at home against Purdue and at Wisconsin. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald pulled quarterback Ryan Hilinski in the Minnesota game, and Andrew Marty completed 10 of 16 passes with a pair of touchdowns in his first appearance since Sept. 18.

KEY MATCHUP

Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum against Northwestern’s defensive line. The All-America candidate will try to open holes for RB Tyler Goodson and get Iowa’s struggling ground game going against a defense having difficulties against the run. The Hawkeyes rank 118th in the nation and 13th in the Big Ten in rushing. Northwestern is 126th against the run nationally and last in the conference.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Iowa: Goodson. This could be a bounce-back game for Goodson after he ran for just 27 yards on 13 attempts against Wisconsin. Iowa’s leading rusher has 95 yards on 25 carries the past two games and ranks eighth in the conference averaging 76.6 yards this season.

Northwestern: S Brandon Joseph. The 2020 All-American remains a force in the backfield even if he is not picking off passes at the same rate as last year. He has two interceptions after finishing with six in nine games during the pandemic-shortened season, including a pair in last year’s win over the Hawkeyes.

FACTS & FIGURES

Iowa has lost four of the past five in the series, with Northwestern rallying from 17 down to win 21-20 in Iowa City last year. … Iowa is tied for fourth in the country in scoring defense (16.1) and ranks ninth in total defense (297.4). … The Hawkeyes lead the nation in interceptions (16) and have 21 takeaways. The school record for INTs is 23 (1986, 1987, 2008). … This is Northwestern’s final game at Ryan Field this season. The Wildcats host Purdue at Wrigley Field on Nov. 20 and visit Wisconsin (Nov. 13) and Illinois (Nov. 27).

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