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Point/counterpoint: Who has more momentum coming in?

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 06, 2009 7:20 AM

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Iowa has more momentum going into this weekend’s game

There is only one team in the country who can claim to have more momentum than Iowa right now, and that is certainly not 5-4 Northwestern, a team that comes to Kinnick Stadium after getting whacked by Penn State.

The Hawkeyes have not lost since during the 2008 season. Come Saturday, that will be 364 consecutive days Iowa has gone without a loss.

For the past 13 games — and the first nine to start this season — the Hawkeyes have been perfect.

Only one team from the heart-throb SEC holds a longer winning streak.

Northwestern has beaten Iowa three out of the last four times the teams have met. Both times they met at Kinnick, the Wildcats left with a “W.”

That bears no significance to this game.

This Iowa team is built around resiliency and short memory span, as evidenced by Ricky Stanzi’s fourth quarter clinic last week. The Hawkeyes won’t even know Northwestern has won the last two games played at Kinnick, ridding any mental edge the Wildcats might delude themselves into thinking they have.

No team with a barely above .500 record, and coming off a loss to a team Iowa dominated, can claim to have more momentum than a BCS No. 4-ranked Hawkeye team with the second-longest winning streak in the nation.

Herky has had a giant bull’s-eye on his back since Adrian Clayborn returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in State College, Pa. But Iowa has survived every opponent’s best punch, and countered with a knockout.

Nothing will change this week as the Hawkeyes ride momentum from their best start in school history and makes the Wildcats look like kittens.

— by J.T. Bugos

Northwestern has more momentum entering this weekend’s game

Iowa would be the safe choice for possession of the momentum meter. At 9-0, the Hawkeyes are in the midst of their best start in school history.

Over the past few years, though, there has been one team that has been a thorn in Iowa’s side.

Northwestern has won in each of its last two appearances at Kinnick Stadium, in 2006 and 2008. Its domination on Iowa’s home turf has spurred many Wildcat faithful to refer to our beloved stadium as “Ryan Field West,” referring to Northwestern’s stadium.

The success on the road against Iowa, combined with a 3-3 record that puts them at the bottom of the Big Ten race, gives the Wildcats a feeling of nothing to lose.

Four of the Hawkeyes’ nine wins have been within three points, and Northwestern is no stranger to a tight game after narrow wins against Indiana and Eastern Michigan. Many say a man with nothing to lose is a dangerous man. This Northwestern team will arrive in Iowa City with everything to gain, while the pressure is on the Hawkeyes to continue their historic streak.

This year, Iowa has also had a tendency to overlook opponents in preparation for big games the ensuing week. No other time was this evidenced than the 24-21 win over Arkansas State that came one week before Michigan was in town for Homecoming.

The hunger to win and ability to pull through in close games, combined with a confidence garnered from its past two wins at Kinnick, make Northwestern a scary opponent.

The Wildcats may not win, but they definitely pose a dangerous threat to Iowa’s pristine record.

— by Jake Krzeczowski


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