CLOSE

Iowa linebacker Djimon Colbert says Wisconsin loss has opened up Big Ten West race, but Iowa needs to concentrate on tough Northwestern team. Listen: Mark Emmert, memmert@gannett.com

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

It seems like it's been a sort of Charlie Brown season for Iowa football.

Just when you think things might be ready to take that next big leap, Lucy rips the pigskin away at the last moment.

A 4-0 start? Boom, woeful performances on offense against Michigan and Penn State.

A rebound of sorts against Purdue, along with Wisconsin's inexplicable loss at Illinois, to boost Big Ten West hopes? Pow, so long to Brandon Smith for several weeks.

And now, the looming doom of Pat Fitzgerald's devil magic he holds over Kirk Ferentz awaits in Evanston this weekend, as the 5-2, 19th-ranked Hawkeyes look to survive their way into another bye week.

The Wildcats are bad: 1-5 overall, winless in conference play. But you know better in this series. Get a win, and get out.

Here are projected starters for the 11 a.m., ESPN2-televised matchup:

OFFENSE

Quarterback: No. 4, Nate Stanley (6-foot-4, 243 pounds, senior)

Running back: No. 10, Mekhi Sargent (5-11, 223, junior)

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Tight end: No. 39, Nate Wieting (6-4, 250, sr.)

Fullback: No. 36, Brady Ross (6-0, 246, sr.)

Wide receiver: No. 3, Tyrone Tracy Jr. (5-11, 200, freshman)

Wide receiver: No. 6, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1, 183, jr.)

► NEW OPTIONS: The wide-receiver plan without Brandon Smith

Left tackle: No. 77, Alaric Jackson (6-6, 320, jr.)

Left guard: No. 68, Landan Paulsen (6-5, 305, sr.)

Center: No. 65, Tyler Linderbaum (6-3, 286, fr.)

Right guard: No. 71, Mark Kallenberger (6-5, 291, sophomore)

Right tackle: No. 74, Tristan Wirfs (6-5, 322, jr.)

CLOSE

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley on the challenge posed by Northwestern defense, and what Calvin Lockett can bring to the Hawkeye offense. Listen: Mark Emmert, memmert@gannett.com

DEFENSE

Defensive end: No. 57, Chauncey Golston (6-5, 270, jr.)

Defensive end: No. 94, A.J. Epenesa (6-6, 280, jr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 95, Cedrick Lattimore (6-3, 295, sr.)

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Defensive tackle: No. 91, Brady Reiff (6-3, 277, sr.)

Weak-side linebacker: No. 32, Djimon Colbert (6-1, 235, soph.)

Middle linebacker: No. 43, Dillon Doyle (6-3, 235, fr.)

Leo/Cash: No. 49, Nick Niemann (6-4, 235, jr.)

Strong safety: No. 9, Geno Stone (5-10, 210, jr.)

Free safety: No. 28, Jack Koerner (6-0, 204, soph.)

Cornerback: No. 11, Michael Ojemudia (6-1, 200, sr.)

Cornerback: No. 33, Riley Moss (6-1, 191, soph.) OR No. 8, Matt Hankins (6-0, 185, jr.)

► HE'S BACK: After surviving injury frustration, Moss makes instant impact in return

CLOSE

The free safety from Dowling Catholic explains the approach heading into Iowa's game at Northwestern. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: No. 10, Caleb Shudak (5-8, 180, jr.) OR No. 3, Keith Duncan (5-10, 180, jr.)

Punter: No. 22, Michael Sleep-Dalton (6-0, 212, sr.)

Kickoff returns: No. 6, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1, 183, jr.)

Punt returns: No. 19, Max Cooper (6-0, 188, jr.)

► HEY, BIG SPENDER:Northwestern the latest school to make lavish renovations

No one covers the Hawkeyes like Hawk Central, the Register and the Press-Citizen. Subscribe today so you don't miss a moment.​​​​​​​

NORTHWESTERN'S PROJECTED STARTERS

OFFENSE

Quarterback: No. 11, Aidan Smith (6-2, 215, jr.) OR No. 15, Hunter Johnson (6-2, 216, soph.)

Running back: No. 25, Isaiah Bowser (6-1, 215, soph.)

Wide receiver: No. 8, Kyric McGowan (5-10, 210, jr.)

Wide receiver: No. 19, Riley Lees (6-0, 201, jr.)

Wide receiver: No. 81, Ramaud Bowman (6-2, 203, jr.)

Slot back: No. 89, Charlie Mangieri (6-4, 252, soph.)

Left tackle: No. 70, Rashawn Slater (6-3, 305, jr.)

Left guard: No. 66, Nik Urban (6-3, 305, jr.)

Center: No. 65, Jared Thomas (6-4, 310, sr.)

Right guard: No. 52, Sam Gerak (6-3, 291, soph.)

Right tackle: No. 73, Gunnar Vogel (6-6, 300, jr.)

CLOSE

Iowa safety Geno Stone is coming off a strong performance against Purdue, and knows the Hawkeyes have lost three in a row vs. the Wildcats. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

DEFENSE

Defensive end: No. 97, Joe Gaziano (6-4, 275, sr.)

Defensive end: No. 91, Samdup Miller (6-3, 270, jr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 95, Alex Miller (6-3, 300, sr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 96, Trevor Kent (6-6, 280, soph.)

Will: No. 51, Blake Gallagher (61-, 235, jr.)

Mike: No. 42, Paddy Fisher (6-4, 24,6 jr.)

Sam: No. 28, Chris Bergin (5-11, 215, jr.)

Safety: No. 13, J.R. Pace (6-1, 205, jr.)

Safety: No. 7, Travis Whillock (6-1, 200, jr.)

Cornerback: No. 2, Greg Newsome II (6-1, 193, soph.)

Cornerback: No. 18, Cam Ruiz (5-11, 180, soph.)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: No. 14, Charlie Kuhbander (6-0, 185, jr.)

Punter: No. 17, Daniel Kubiuk (6-1, 201, sr.)

Kickoff and punt returns: No. 19, Riley Lees (6-0, 201, jr.)

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE