Northwestern Football: Previewing Northwestern/Iowa game

COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Clayton Thorson
COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Clayton Thorson /

At 3-3, in order to make a bowl game Northwestern needs a win. The game vs Iowa is a great chance for a win, here’s our preview.

After a strong 2016 season, the Northwestern Wildcats seem to have taken a step back so far in  2017. With wins against Nevada, Bowling Green, and an injury depleted Maryland squad, they have yet to win against serious competition. They get their first chance on Saturday against the Iowa Hawkeyes. At 4-2, and a late Penn State touchdown away from 5-1, Iowa is no team to look over. If the Wildcats do not take this game seriously, it could turn into a blow out real quick. Here are our keys to victory for Northwestern.

Clayton Thorson must have a good game

Through 6 games for Northwestern, Clayton Thorson has been the exact definition of up and down. He has thrown for close to 1500 yards, an average of 250 per game. Although he has the yards that make him look good, he also has 9 interceptions to just 8 touchdowns. The Hawkeyes are no joke on defense, as they are currently allowing only 18 points per game. If they held Penn St. to only 21 points, there is no question that they can hold the Wildcats inept offense to less than that.

If the Wildcats truly want a hope to win this game and provide Saturday with it’s first upset of the day, Thorson must have over 250 yards with no turnovers.

More from Da Windy City

Stopping Akrum Wadley

He may have only 483 yards on the ground during the season, but Akrum Wadley is one of the top running backs in the Big Ten. Iowa depends on Wadley to pound the rock against opposing defenses, and for him to provide quarterback Nate Stanley with a solid check down when the play breaks down, as he his second on the team in receptions with 15. Northwestern ranks 176th in all of college football against the run. This could end up being a ground game for Wadley against the Northwestern defense.

Get Justin Jackson involed

In just 6 games, Justin Jackson has 510 yards. 171 of those yards came against Maryland last week, in that game he got 28 carries. It is no coincidence that whenever Jackson gets over 100 yards, the Wildcats win. In the teams 3 wins, he has 76 carries for 401 yards. That being said, it could be hard for him to get involved if Northwestern falls behind early. The Wildcats need to avoid that, and get Jackson involved early on.

Next: Could St. Brown be a Bears target?

The Wildcats need to win this game if they hope to reach the needed 6 wins in order to get into a college football bowl game. After this game, they take on Michigan State next week, and Nebraska the following week. With tougher competition on the horizon, they need to take advantage of the here and now.