Prediction Caturday – Iowa

The ‘Cats went 1-0 last week and shellacked the Terrapins back into their shells. This week brings up a big big matchup in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes. Can the ‘Cats pull it out on Halloween?

 

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
nulogo Tigerhawk-Multi-colored-vinyl-car-decal nulogo no contest nulogo nulogo nulogo

TRENT

editor’s note: this was written before the Maryland-Minnesota game last night. I was right about the game being one to watch, but will admit Tua’s brother impressed.

Of all the possible outcomes for game one, the ‘Cats winning by 40 was not one that I had on my radar. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for my prediction of an easy win for once, but I did not see a scenario where we’d look that dominant. Granted Maryland is probably horrible, and Taulia Tagovailua is obviously benefiting off his brother’s name, but still, for us to do that against any B1G team is lovely to see. 

Peyton Ramsey is just super solid, and reminds me of Dan Persa with the way he plays and his mannerisms. His accuracy and his wiggle in the running game were what stuck out the most to me. Mike Bajakian may seem like a genius after game one, but that may just be a reflection of how horrid Mick McCall truly was, and how truly horrid Maryland is. But damn, it was so refreshing to see WRs getting open and RBs getting room to run. And how about an actual TE on the field making an impact. John Raine is the truth, he may be my second favorite player on the team behind my boy Bowser. 

So recap over, now a quick hit on Wisconsin. They’ve got six players with COVID, including their current first and second string QBs. Paul Chryst and five other members of his staff also have it. Their game against Nebraska is canceled, and Wisco loses those six players for 21 days. This is going to completely scramble the B1G West and could take the Badgers out of contention for the B1G championship if they miss two additional games. Does this open things up for the ‘Cats?

Back to our game this week, at Iowa. The Hawkeyes had some serious internal issues this summer with calls of racism and internal turmoil within the team and coaching staff. Kirk Ferentz is the longest tenured coach in the conference, and makes way too much money for doing his typical 7-5 or 8-4 dance each year. The Hawkeyes lost game one to a shorthanded Purdue, and you can just imagine what the temperature will be in Iowa City if they open with losses to the Boilermakers AND the Purple Wildcats. Can those folks in Iowa take the internal BS ON TOP off losses to those two teams which they see (fairly or not) as lowly opponents in the scheme of the B1G? I think not. I think Ferentz will be on the serious hot seat if that scenario plays out, and honestly I think he’ll be coaching this game like his job depends on it. 

Game Summary: I don’t see our offense having the same success as we did in game one. Iowa’s defense is a far cry from the sieve that was the Terrapins D. I’m anticipating a slugfest in a cold Iowa City, with Bowser having some success but ultimately the ‘Cats going down in a close one.

Game Score: NU 23 – Iowa 28

Play of the Game: Bowser continues his success in Kinnick with another long TD scamper.

Player(s) to Watch: The O Line. After a solid performance last week, that unit is going to have a much tougher test this week. If they can open holes for the RBs and give Peyton some time, we’ve got a solid chance. If they can’t, it’ll be a long day.

Warrior to Watch: Rankin. This game is on Halloween. What will he wear?
Other Game to Watch: Minnesota – Maryland on Friday night. This will serve as a barometer to show us if NU’s blowout win against the Terps actually was impressive. Also curious to see how Minny bounces back after a L against Michigan.

Other Game to Watch: Minnesota – Maryland on Friday night. This will serve as a barometer to show us if NU’s blowout win against the Terps actually was impressive. Also curious to see how Minny bounces back after a L against Michigan.

DOC ROCHE

No contest due to COVID.

ROGER

Cats won last week…. so did COVID. Wisconsin and Nebraska will be a “no contest” this weekend. Again, I’ll be shocked if NU plays all 8 scheduled games.

Back to the football. Yes, Maryland is terrible. That said, last season’s version of NU would not have been able to march up and down the field and beat them by 40. So, we’ve got that going for us.

I think Ramsey is a legitimate Power 5 QB and that goes a long way in making an offense look functional. I also appreciate how Bajakian seems to have simplified the run blocking and protection schemes. No more of that Mickey Mouse McCall shit leaving our QB back there to get clobbered.
This week we have Iowa. I didn’t watch them last weekend, but they lost to what many considered a suspect Purdue team (without Rondale Moore no less). So, I’m assuming this is your typical Kirk Ferentz Iowa squad: a team that vastly underachieves given they probably have a few 10+ year NFL players at non-skill positions. 

Game Summary: See the underachieving part above…. I suspect our defense will do the bend but not break thing in this game because Iowa will shit the bed when they most need to move the ball. Ramsey will be solid again and we’ll establish a running game that gets more effective as the game goes on.

Game Score: NU 27 – Iowa 17

Play of the Game: Iowa’s QB gets blindsided on a JR Pace blitz and fumbles deep in his own territory.

Player(s) to Watch: Probably the offensive line again. They were good last week, but they played Maryland. Has the simplified scheme helped? Will Skoronski look the part again against a better front 7?

Warrior to Watch: Me. I have a majestic Halloween costume.

Other Game to Watch: I guess we start watching the B1G West… we have a short season and games are already getting canceled. NU could look the part and make it to Indy or they could back their way in with some help elsewhere (i.e. more Wisconsin games canceled). If NU gets off to a 2-0 start and you have an 0-2 Iowa, 1-1 Tonka and 1-? Wisconsin, then this could get interesting very quickly. 

ZVON

CATS 30 – IOWA 21

HACK

I would like to apologize to two groups for my prediction last week. I underestimated the Cat’s D and to the rest of the panelists of this illustrious group for exposing them as Pharisees of the highest order. I alone predicted that the Cats would treat the Terps like the Germans have treated the French Army since Napoleon. I kept the faith. I knew that no one rolls into Evanston on a cold October night for a season opener and leaves with their dignity still intact. 

Now, let us turn to this week wherein the Cats travel to Iowa to play the Hawkeyes. In this matchup of the two longest-tenured coaches in the Big Ten, we have two programs in very different places. One has been wounded by scandal and staggers into this game like a sickly water buffalo. The other is creeping silently in tall grasses waiting for its moment to separate the weak from the herd. Iowa is the one team Coach Fitz truly hates and he always has the boys ready to play against them. Time to deliver the hammer blow and end the Ferentz era.

Game Summary: Think of this Iowa team like an older Mike Tyson. They clearly aren’t in their prime, but the knockout punch is still within their grasp.

Iowa O vs NU D: This Iowa team’s strength appears to be their wide receivers, which is an odd thing to type. Northwestern appears to be loaded in the defensive backfield so strength on strength should be fun to watch. The Hawkeyes have a talented but inexperienced qb and a solid o line as always. If they were to open up the play calling a bit, they might fare better, but this is Iowa and they won’t. Expect many punts and run, run, pass sequences.

NU O vs Iowa D: This Iowa D is not your typical Hawkeyes D. Iowa might have the worst secondary that I’ve ever seen an Iowa team have. They got torched by a Purdue team playing with one albeit great wide receiver. The Cats don’t have a receiver of Bell’s quality, but they do have 6 or 7 good options for Peyton Ramsey to pick out. I expect for him and the receivers to have a field day. The front seven is solid but lacks the typical Iowa star power and depth. It will be interesting to see if the Cats and their young o-line can get a run game going against them. I think it’ll be a slow start on the ground with later chunk plays as the Cats salt away the game.

Special Teams: Iowa has a very good kicker and a punter from Australia, who we will be seeing plenty of on Saturday.

Game Score: Northwestern 31- Iowa 10 

Play of the Game: Paddy Fischer stuffs a qb sneak from the 1 for a turnover on downs.

Player(s) to Watch: Joe Spivak and Jake Saunders. These two hog mollies need to play well if the Cats are going to contain the world’s most boring offense.

Warrior to Watch: Roger, let’s just say he’s hauntingly beautiful.

Other Game to Watch: Ohio State – Penn State Should be fun, I guess.

PAUL

Game Summary: Cats spook the Hawkeyes

Game Score: Northwestern 26 – Iowa 19 

Play of the Game: Fake FG for 1st Down

Player(s) to Watch: Paddy Fisher

Warrior to Watch: HACK – will he turn into a vampire?

Other Game to Watch: The Battle For Michigan

ANDY DAY

Game Summary: I think ideally we will still be able to score. Clearly not as easily as last week, but should be able to get some momentum and put up some points. I feel like our defense is better than Purdont’s, so we should be able to keep them from putting up too many points. I think we get an early lead and never give it back. We get a scare at some point in the 4th, but a big stop shuts the door and we end up with a nice W.

Game Score: NU 27 – Iowa 20

Play of the Game: Ramsey Scampers for a huge 1st down which lets us run out the clock

Player(s) to Watch: Bowser – he had some moments against MD but only averaged 3 YPC (compared to 6.1 as a unit). How will he handle an undoubtedly better Iowa D?

Warrior to Watch: Roger – he sold dope to kids.

Other Game to Watch: B1G football, i guess?

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