Live from Iowa City: What you need to know about Northwestern-Iowa
Good Morning from Kinnick Stadium. It was 23 degrees at 7:30 a.m., as the Hawkeye Marching Band goes through its paces.
No Canzeri, Kittle. Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri will miss today's game against Northwestern with an ankle injury.
Canzeri was hobbled two weeks ago during a 38-31 loss at Maryland.
The 5-foot-9, 192-pound junior has rushed for 219 yards this season, averaging 4.1 per carry. He was listed behind Mark Weisman on the Hawkeye depth chart.
Tight end George Kittle is also sidelined with an injury.
Linebacker changes. Josey Jewell, expected to start for the suspended Reggie Spearman at weakside linebacker, was reinjured in practice this week isn't likely to start. Quinton Alston is expected to slide to that spot, with Travis Perry filling Alston's void at middle linebacker.
The Hawkeyes will be wearing special helmets for today's game against Northwestern. The traditional tigerhawk logo will be camouflage, instead of the usual gold. It was done to recognize the men and women of the military service.
Offensive line shakeup. Austin Blythe, who started the last game at right guard, has moved to left guard with Jordan Walsh returning to right guard. Tommy Gaul is the center and Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal the tackles.
Iowa's biggest advantage today... Northwestern ranks in the upper half of the Big Ten in just one key statistical category. The Wildcats are 13th in scoring offense (20.9) and total offense (351.4 yards), 12th in rushing offense (127.6), ninth in rushing defense (158.3), total defense (374.9) and pass defense (216.6) and eighth in pass offense (223.9). The lone exception is scoring defense, where they're fifth (20.4). Those numbers should be encouraging for an Iowa offense, 10th in rushing offense (146.3) and 11th in scoring offense (27.0), looking for a breakout game.
What could be their undoing? Purple pride. Iowa lost just five home games between 2008 and 2011. Three of them were to Top 10 foes Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State. The other two? Northwestern, thank you very much. Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is 5-3 against Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. Fitzgerald enjoyed three of those victories at Kinnick Stadium (2006, 2008, 2009). Iowa pulled out a 17-10 overtime thriller last season. This game could come down to the kicking game. If Iowa's punting game doesn't do a solid job of flipping field position, the Wildcats could leave Kinnick with a fourth victory in the last seven tries. Fitzgerald is 13-9 in the month of November since 2008.
Who should we be talking about but aren't? Redshirt freshman Josey Jewell is next man in at weakside linebacker for Iowa, replacing the suspended Reggie Spearman. Talk about getting thrown into the fire. Jewell will make his first career start against a Northwestern team that loves the short passing game. Jewell will have to be on his toes against Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian and his quick-strike receivers.
Final prediction: Iowa's ground game comes to life, the Hawkeyes win time of possession and the game. Iowa 23, Northwestern 17.