College Football
Preview
Northern Iowa at Iowa
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 15, 2018
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa

Although its offense hasn't exactly clicked on all cylinders over the first two games, Iowa's defense is already in midseason form and appears to be one of the best in the country. Sparked by a defense that has given up a score on only two of 24 drives so far, the Hawkeyes seek their third 3-0 start in four seasons Saturday when they host Northern Iowa.

Iowa ranks 114th in FBS in total offense with only 311.5 yards per game but has dominated both Northern Illinois and Iowa State in the second half, giving up only a late touchdown to the Huskies after building a 33-0 lead before blanking the Cyclones over the final three quarters last week. The nation's second-best scoring defense and fifth-ranked total defense held Iowa State to 188 total yards - 122 after the Cyclones' opening drive - en route to a 13-3 victory last weekend. "The running back (Iowa State's David Montgomery) is a tremendous player. So for our defense to be able to do the things they did today, it really speaks highly of them. … He's as good as we're going to face," Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said. The Panthers nearly rallied from a 26-0 halftime deficit against Montana in their opener, but their comeback bid ultimately fell short in a 26-23 setback on Sept. 1.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: None.

ABOUT NORTHERN IOWA (0-1): Briley Moore tallied team highs of five catches and 78 yards versus the Grizzlies, taking the early lead in the race to become the top receiver for quarterback Colton Howell after Daurice Fountain was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft in April. The Panthers return 10 offensive players from a team that advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs last season, including Marcus Weymiller, who ran 17 times for 50 yards and a touchdown against Montana after rushing for team-high marks of 809 yards and eight TDs in 2017. Linebacker Duncan Ferch is one of six returning defenders and paced the team with 12 tackles in the opener, followed by freshman Chris Koarevic's 10 stops.

ABOUT IOWA (2-0): One season after averaging 16.5 yards per catch and scoring 11 touchdowns - tied for the most in FBS by a tight end - on 30 receptions, preseason All-American Noah Fant has amassed only 41 yards and one TD on seven catches through two contests. Some of the blame can be placed at the feet of quarterback Nate Stanley, who ranks 13th in the 14-team Big Ten in completion percentage (52.9) and yards per attempt (5.4). Sophomore defensive end A.J. Epenesa, who was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after recording career highs in tackles (five) and sacks (two), is tied for the conference lead and ranks second in the NCAA with three sacks.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Hawkeyes lead the series 16-1, with the Panthers' only victory coming in 1898 in the first meeting between the schools.

2. Iowa has outscored its opponents 82-7 in the second half of its last three regular-season games.

3. The Hawkeyes have allowed a Big Ten-low 26 first downs and are tied for second in FBS with nine sacks.

PREDICTION: Iowa 38, Northern Iowa 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Northern Iowa 0-1 L1 23.0 26.0 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-1 0-0
Iowa 2-0 W2 23.0 5.0 2-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Northern Iowa Iowa
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/30/14 UNI 23 IOWA 31 405 25 380 401 151 250
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Northern Iowa S. Kollmorgen 45.9 380 2 2
Iowa J. Rudock 75.6 250 2 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Northern Iowa D. Johnson 13 34 2.6 0
Iowa T. Smith 1 35 35.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Northern Iowa D. Johnson 5 203 40.6 1
Iowa K. Martin-Manley 8 62 7.8 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Northern Iowa D. Johnson 1
Iowa L. Daniels 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Northern Iowa T. Alexander 0.0 0 0 0
Iowa N. Stanley 52.9 274 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Northern Iowa T. Alexander 0 0 0.0 0
Iowa T. Young 29 152 5.2 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Northern Iowa T. Alexander 0 0 0.0 0
Iowa T. Hockenson 10 97 9.7 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Northern Iowa T. Alexander 0
Iowa N. Fant 1
Quickchart Matchup
Northern Iowa Northern Iowa Off vs  Iowa Iowa Def
Northern Iowa 0 yards
Iowa 199.5 yards
Northern Iowa 0 yards/rush
Iowa 2 yards/rush
Northern IowaIowa 4.9 yards/attempt
Iowa Iowa Off vs  Northern Iowa Northern Iowa Def
Iowa 311.5 yards
Northern Iowa 0 yards
Iowa 3.7 yards/rush
Northern IowaIowa 5.8 yards/attempt
Northern Iowa