Iowa has yet to lose to an FCS opponent, but Saturday's game against Northern Iowa may defy history.
Iowa (1-1) hasn't exactly been dominant offensively through two games, scoring a combined 24 points against Northern Illinois and Iowa State.
Northern Iowa (1-1), led by freshman quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen, just scored 59 points against Central State and barely lost to Wisconsin in the season opener, 26-21.
Don't be surprised if this game goes down to the wire.
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
When: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Big Ten Network
Live Stream: BTN2Go
Betting Line: TBA
What's At Stake?
Northern Iowa has racked up 16 Missouri Valley Football Conference titles since first joining in 1985. That includes seven conference titles in the last 11 years.
After losing the FCS Midwest Region Championship Game against Montana last season, 48-10, the Panthers are seeking their first regional championship since 2008.
As for Iowa, the Hawkeyes haven't won the Big Ten since 2004 when they went on to capture the Capital One Bowl. Iowa was ranked No. 7 overall in the AP poll at the end of the 2009 season.
Iowa is coming off a 7-6 campaign (4-4 Big Ten), losing to then-No. 14 Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
RB Barkley Hill - Knee - OUT for season
DB Ruben Lile - Knee - OUT for season
RB Jordan Canzeri - Knee - OUT for season
What They're Saying
Northern Iowa athletic director Troy Dannen is contemplating a move to the FBS, given Northern Iowa's strong track record in the FCS and an uptick in money, according to KCRG.
Dannen said he's looking five years down the road, adding via KCRG.com:
A school like Northern Iowa and a lot of schools in the top end of FCS football, I feel, are going to be more aligned philosophically, ideologically, and be aligned more financially with the schools that are in those below-the-line conferences.
Iowa has yet to lose a game against an FCS team, per Mike Hlas of The Gazette. Since 1995, the Hawkeyes have gone 8-0 against FCS teams.
Of course, Iowa escaped with a nail-biting 17-16 victory over Northern Iowa in 2009. That was despite dominating the rest of its FCS games.
Northern Iowa Player to Watch: Sawyer Kollmorgen, QB
Freshman quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen is no joke. He went 11-of-19 for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers' 59-0 blowout of Central State last week. That was after he passed for 265 yards (7.8 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns against then-No. 12 Wisconsin in the opening week.
The good news for the Hawkeyes is that they have a solid pass defense.
Iowa Player to Watch: Damon Bullock, RB
Ever since Shonn Greene left for the NFL, the running back situation at Iowa has been in flux. Six different running backs vying for the No. 1 spot have either suffered serious injuries or left the program.
Iowa senior quarterback James Vandenberg has had a rough go so far. That's why it's crucial for a running back to emerge as a consistent threat in the backfield.
Sophomore Damon Bullock rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries to open the season against Northern Illinois. Then he rushed 22 times for just 53 yards in Iowa's 9-6 loss to Iowa State last week (although he did add 56 yards through the air).
Bullock, a 2-star recruit in 2011, could be the key for the Hawkeyes moving forward.
Key Matchup: Iowa Passing Game vs. Northern Iowa Defense
Northern Iowa is not to be taken lightly. The Panthers barely lost to Wisconsin to start the season, 26-21, and limited Heisman contender Montee Ball to 3.8 yards per carry (they've allowed 2.5 yards per carry in two games).
Bullock may not have much room to run against Northern Iowa, similar to the Iowa State game. That means James Vandenberg is going to have to finally step up for the Hawkeyes.
In two games, Vandenberg has completed just 54.7 percent of his passes for 4.87 yards per attempt and thrown zero touchdowns to two interceptions. He was particularly bad last game against Iowa State.
Prediction: Northern Iowa 21, Iowa 17
Who will win?
I'm just not that confident in Iowa's offense right now. You don't know what you're going to get from Bullock and, despite Northern Iowa being worse against the pass than the run, the Panthers have still notched four interceptions through two games.
The defense is there for Iowa (allowing 26 points through two games), but Sawyer Kollmorgen has also been solid so far for the Panthers.
Northern Iowa showed against Wisconsin it has the potential to upset a Big Ten team.
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