Hawkeyes end hectic week at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. — A tumultous week for the Iowa football team could end on a high note if the Hawkeyes are able to keep pace in the Big Ten Western Division race and take care of Northwestern on Saturday.

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC’s Peacock streaming application.

Interim UI athletic director Beth Goetz confirmed embattled offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will not return in 2024. Ferentz, the son of long-time head coach Kirk Ferentz, will finish the season with the Hawkeyes (6-2 overall, 3-2 in the Big Ten), who rank either last or near the bottom nationally in virtually every offensive category.

Well-rested Iowa, which was off last week, will face a suddenly surging Wildcat team on Saturday. The Wildcats have climbed their way back to the break even mark at 4-4 with recent Big Ten wins over Minnesota and Maryland at home.

“They are showing improvement week to week,” Kirk Ferentz said of Northwestern. “I think they are gaining momentum (under interim head coach David Braun) and playing with good confidence.”

Brendan Sullivan threw for 265 yards and a pair of scores in the upset win over the Terrapins. Sullivan also had 56 rushing yards.

The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, have managed just 71 points total in their last five contests. The point total for this matchup has been set at 29.5, which is believed to be the lowest number in college football history.

Deacon Hill has completed only 37 of 98 passes for 427 yards in place of injured Hawk started Cade McNamara. Leshon Williams has rushed for 472 yards at an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

No active Iowa receiver has over 125 yards on the season.

By The Associated Press


Iowa looks to maintain at least a share of the Big Ten West lead when it meets Northwestern at Wrigley Field. The Hawkeyes are tied with Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. They lost 12-10 to Minnesota two weeks ago.

Interim athletic director Beth Goetz announced Monday that offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will not return next season. She is Ferentz’s direct supervisor because of the school’s nepotism rules.

Surprising Northwestern hopes to break a lose-one, win-one pattern after beating Maryland last week and string together back-to-back victories for the first time since a 5-0 start to the 2020 Big Ten West championship season.


Iowa’s offensive line vs. Northwestern’s defensive front. Northwestern had six sacks last week for its highest total since 2017. Aidan Hubbard had three to match the second-highest mark in program history. He also tied the single-game high this season by a Big Ten player and took home conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.


Iowa: QB Deacon Hill. Pressed into a starting role after Cade McNamara tore an ACL, Hill has completed just 37.8 percent of his passes for 427 yards. He has two touchdowns and three interceptions. Hill threw for 116 yards last week — his season high.

Northwestern: QB Brendan Sullivan. Sullivan bounced back in a big way last week, throwing for a career-high 265 yards and two touchdowns after struggling in the previous game. He got sacked a whopping seven times and threw an interception in a loss at Nebraska a week earlier.

Interim coach David Braun said Sullivan will start his fourth straight game for the injured Ben Bryant.


Both teams have running backs who could hit the 1,000-yard mark in this game, with Iowa’s Leshon Williams at 953 yards and Northwestern’s Cam Porter at 965. … The Hawkeyes rank last in the nation in total offense and 118th in scoring. … Iowa LB Jay Higgins leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the nation with 101 tackles. … This will be Iowa’s first game against a Big Ten opponent in a baseball stadium since Thanksgiving 1904 — an 11-0 loss to Minnesota at Athletic Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. … Braun is trying to become the first Northwestern coach with five or more wins in his first season since 1903, when Walter McCormack led the Wildcats to a 10-1 record and a Co-Big Ten Championship. With the Wildcats 4-1 at Ryan Field, he has more home wins than any other first-year Wildcats coach. … This is Northwestern’s third game at Wrigley Field in 14 seasons.