Big Ten Football Odds: Northwestern Wildcats at Iowa Hawkeyes

CJ Beathard has only been at his best in his senior season for the 3-1 Iowa Hawkeyes.
CJ Beathard has only been at his best in his senior season for the 3-1 Iowa Hawkeyes.

Spread: IOWA -13.5
Total: 44

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

Iowa is 3-1 on the season with Week 1, 2 and 4 victories over Miami (OH), Iowa State and Rutgers. Week 3 brought the loss to North Dakota State, but Iowa is hoping to get back on track as it hosts Northwestern as 13.5 point favorites according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The total set set at 44 for the game, which will appear on ESPNU.

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Last week in the win over Rutgers, QB CJ Beathard threw 12 of 23 for 162 yards and a TD, but registered a QBR of just 37.9. The Hawkeyes rushed for 192 yards, led by Akrum Wadley’s 84 (with a TD) and LeShun Daniels Jr.’s 77 yards. On the 38 rush attempts, Iowa averaged 5.1 yards per. George Kittle had two long-catches, a 36-yarder and a 20-yarder and. He also scored the lone Iowa TD. Wadley caught two passes for 38 yards, a 30-yarder and an 8-yard.

Defensively, Brandon Synder was huge with 13 tackles (eight solo) including one for loss. Joey Jewell also had 12 tackles (eight solo) with an assisted tackle-for-loss. Matt Nelson had two sacks and three tackles for loss and Parker Hesse also had two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Iowa finished with four sacks and eight tackles for loss while holding Rutgers QB Chris Laviano to 13 of 24 passing with just one Rutgers TD. Desmond King had an outstanding 45-yard kick return and two punt returns for two yards total. Ron Coluzzi punted seven times for an average of 42 yards, with a long of 55-yards.

Beathard is now a senior and the 6’2” quarterback from Franklin, Tennessee is about on pace with what he did last year, but with improved accuracy. Last season Beathard threw 17 TD passes with five picks, but this year has eight TDs with only one interception.

Beathard has been sacked twice a game on average, but that is actually an improvement on last season’s 29 sacks. His completion percentage needs to elevate a bit at just 59.1 percent, but his 7.97 yards per attempt is good and his passer rating is 152.3, which is up from last season’s 139.5. He is one of the best QBs in the NCAA.

Iowa is without WR Matt VandeBerg for an undisclosed amount of time. He was leading the team with 19 receptions for 284 yards. Expect George Kittle (No. 2 with 10 receptions) to receive a significant increase in his workload. It is a major loss for the Hawkeyes.

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Little has gone well for the Northwestern Wildcats. The team is just 1-3 after having lost Weeks 1, 2 and 4 to Western Michigan, Illinois State and last week No. 20 Nebraska. The Wildcats won week 3 over Duke.

In last week’s 24-13 loss to Nebraska, Tommy Armstrong went absolutely nuts with 246 yards passing and a career-high 132 rushing yards. Nebraska out-scored Northwestern 14-6 in the third quarter to take the game-decisive lead into a scoreless fourth quarter.

Clayton Thorson was active, but not particularly good. He threw 24 of 37 for 249 yards but had two interceptions with just one TD and a 6.7 yard per attempt average. Justin Jackson rushed for 79 yards on 20 carries, and Thorson picked up 43 yards on his 10 attempts, but they received precious little help. Austin Carr did his job as a wideout, catching eight passes for 109 yards with a TD. Flynn Nagel had five catches and Jackson had three out of the backfield for 18 yards (including a 12-yard play).

Defensively, Godwin Igewbuike was huge again. He had 15 sacks (13 solo) including two for loss, and Jared McGee had 10 tackles (seven solo) and an assisted tackle for loss. Northwestern did not record a sack but had six tackles for loss.

Solomon Vault did a nice job returning two kicks for 57 yards total, including a 35-yard return. Nagel returned one for 27 yards, and he also returned one punt for five yards. Punter Hunter Niswander did a solid job with one touchback and two punts pinned in the 20-yard, as well as a long of 50-yards.

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