Iowa -Two years ago, Iowa found a broken Northwestern team waiting for it in Evanston. The Hawkeyes cruised to a 20-0 victory against an opponent without an offense.Saturday meeting between the Big Ten West programs at Ryan Field feels similar. The Wildcats might be better on offense, but their defense is worse than two years ago.The 22nd-ranked Hawkeyes arent complaining after losing their last two games by a combined 51-14 score. Northwestern comes into Saturday having dropped two contests in a row to Michigan and Minnesota Ben Jefferson Jersey, being outscored, 74-21.While Iowa is searching for the formula that had it ranked No. 2 nationally three weeks ago, the Wildcats must win three of their last four games to reach a bowl. A victory against the Hawkeyes could do wonders.There really no secret. It November. We emphasize stopping the run, Northwestern defensive back Coco Azema said.We know what Iowa does. We know the type of ball that they play. We just coming in, hard-nosed football, preparing for a battle.With a game against Purdue at Wrigley Field coming up, Saturday is Northwestern final home game of 21. Theyll honor their seniors.Excited for the opportunity this weekend under the lights, Wildcat coach Pat Fitzgerald said.It should be a huge challenge against the Hawkeyes, a team that a couple of weeks ago was ranked No. 2 in the country. Physical on both sides of the line of scrimmage.The Wildcats rank 13th in the Big Ten in scoring offense and 12th in scoring defense . Theyre dead last in the league in rushing defense . They allow opponents to convert 45.0 percent of their third-down attempts, also worst in the conference.Northwestern rebounded from a 17-0 halftime deficit last season to win, 21-20, in Iowa City. Hawkeye quarterback Spencer Petras tossed three interceptions among his career-high 50 pass attempts.The Wildcats presented Petras with looks he hadnt seen on film. He vowed to be better handling them if he sees unusual alignments Saturday.If you fall back on your fundamentals and go through my progression and dont force anything, regardless if they show something that is completely foreign to what they do, you should be OK, he said.After getting a boost from Indiana graduate transfer Peyton Ramsey in winning the West Division last season Amari Terry Jersey, Northwestern hasnt been as fortunate with South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski. He was replaced by Andrew Marty last week. Hunter Johnson also has stumbled behind center this season.Ineffectiveness at quarterback could help the Hawkeyes focus more on running back Evan Hull, the fifth leading rusher in the league with 750 yards. Northwestern also features a pair of playmakers at receiver in Stephon Robinson Jr. and Malik Washington .On film, theyre just a tough team, physical players, good players, Iowa linebacker Jestin Jacobs said.They have a good running back. We know we have to come to play because every year that what they do with us.The Wildcats lost two stalwart linebackers off of last year team in Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher. Chris Bergin has emerged on the second level.The graduate senior linebacker is tied for lead nationally in total tackles per game and his 98 total tackles this season is tied for the most by a Power Five player. His 60 solo tackles lead the country.TV ANNOUNCERS:Cory Provus, Matt Millen, Elise Menaker on BTN.SERIES:Iowa holds a 51-28-3 advantage in the series that began with a 12-6 Iowa victory in 1897. The Hawkeyes are 25-16-3 all-time in games played in Evanston.Iowa won 21 consecutive games over Northwestern prior to a 31-20 Wildcat win in 1995 in Evanston. The Wildcats hold a 14-10 advantage since snapping that Hawkeye win streak.Northwestern won the last meeting in 2020, but Iowa won 20-0 on its last trip to Evanston .BETTING LINES: The game opened with Iowa as a 10.0-point favorite at Vegas Insiders on Sunday. That number moved to the Hawkeyes -12.0 by Wednesday afternoon. The total was at 40.5, where it opened. TRENDS-Northwestern is 7-3 Against The Spread in its last 10 home games.-Wildcats are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall https://www.theaffstore.com/haaziq-daniels-jersey-118.-Iowa is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 road games.-Hawkeyes are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.Read MoreTyler Goodson Declares for NFL DraftCyclones Rout Iowa in AmesTyler Linderbaum Wins Rimington AwardNORTHWESTERN PLAYERS TO WATCH-Brandon Joseph, S Last year Big Ten freshman of the year is enjoying another fine campaign. He paces his outfit with two interceptions to go with three pass breakups and 60 tackles.-Evan Hull, RB The sophomore from Minnesota ranks fifth in the conference with 93.8 rushing yards per game. He averaging 6.5 yards per carry and has scored 5 touchdowns on the ground and another through the air.-Adetomiwa Adebawore, DEThe Wildcat edge leads the team in tackles for loss and quarterback hurries . He ranks second on the squad with 3.5 sacks.KEYS TO VICTORYNorthwestern: Limit turnovers and slow down Iowa running game.Iowa: Start fast and build confidence through a productive run game.GAME NOTES-The Wildcats have tallied 10 offensive plays that have gone for 40-or-more yards this season ... In the previous 21 games prior to this season, NU only had eight offensive plays go for more than 40 yards ... Stephon Robinson, Jr. has accounted for seven of NUs passing plays that have gone for 20-plus yards.-Northwestern center Sam Gerak wears many hats. The fifth-year senior has started 20 consecutive games on the Wildcats offensive line and is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy James Jones IV Jersey. Gerak was voted a 2021 captain by his teammates. The Avon, Ohio, native graduated in June with a 3.558 grade point average, majoring in biological studies and classical studies. Following the 2021 football season, Gerak plans to go to medical school. He scored in the 98th percentile on the MCAT.-In total, 11 Northwestern players that were on the 2020 roster were invited to NFL camps this summer. Rashawn Slater , Greg Newsome II , Earnest Brown IV , JR Pace , John Raine , Gunnar Vogel , Riley Lees , Paddy Fisher , Blake Gallagher , Peyton Ramsey and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman . Most for a single class from the Pat Fitzgerald era.-Charlie Kuhbander ranks in the Top-10 all-time at NU for field goal percentage, field goals made, points kicking, extra points made and extra points percentage. His 132 career extra points made rank second in program history behind Jeff Budzien 136. Kuhbander 41 career field goals rank 4th in program history and he just needs five more to catch John Duvic in third.-Northwestern ranks sixth nationallyin punt returns this season averaging 17.00 yards per return ... The Wildcats have racked up 221 punt return yards through eight games which is the second most in the Big Ten.-Iowa leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the country in scoring defense . Iowas total defense ranks second in the Big Ten and ninth in the country.-Iowa leads the country in interceptions and ranks third nationally in takeaways . The Hawkeyes have 80 interception since 2017, more than any team in the country. Nine different Hawkeyes have at least one interception this season. Iowa is plus-15 in turnover margin in its six wins and minus-six in its two losses.-Iowa WR Charlie Jones is the only player in the conference to rank in the top three in average yards per kickoff return and punt return. Jones has returned 13 kickoffs for an average of 26.2 yards per return, No. 2 in the Big Ten. He averages 11.2 yards on a league-high 23 punt returns.-HawkeyeP Tory Taylor ranks fourth in the Big Ten averaging 46.6 yards per punt. Taylor has 16 punts of 50 or more yards. Twenty-four of his punts have been downed inside the 20 this season. Taylor was recognized as a first-team midseason All-American by The Athletic. Iowa owned the field position battle in each of its six wins.-Iowa LB Jack Campbell ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 76 tackles and was named a second-team midseason All-American by The Athletic. He had a career-high 18 tackles in Iowas Week 4 win against Colorado State, earning national and B1G Defensive Player of the Week honors. He is a Butkus Award semifinalist.NOTABLE ALUMNINorthwestern Arthur GoldbergIowa - James R. DowHOWE I SEE IT:Youre justified in being nervous for this game, Iowa fans. The Wildcats give your team fits more often than not.As I wrote in the opening, this game feels more like the matchup in 19, when the Hawkeyes needed to not screw it up on offense. Northwestern was a mess on that side of the ball.I dont think it as bad this year. It can run the ball and has some big play receivers. Im just not sure RyanHilinski or any other quarterback the Wildcats throw at Iowa can be effective enough to pull off the upset Nasir Rashid Jersey.Conversely, Iowa should be able to run the ball and limit the amount of times its offensive line must deal with pressure. Play action should be available.PREDICTION: IOWA 27, Northwestern 13.Rob Howe is in his 25th year covering University of Iowa Athletics. He worked for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Hawkeye Nation, Hawk Fanatic, Hawkeye Insider and more. Please follow @RobHoweHN on Twitter.