Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz considers tomorrow’s matchup with Northern Illinois as another Big Ten game. The Hawkeyes play the first of three straight home games and both teams are 5-3. Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak has put together a solid program that can compete with the best in division one. He says they’ve done a good job building the program from the ground up and have had tremendous success.

Iowa will be without quarterback Drew Tate who underwent surgery on the thumb of his non-throwing hand this week. Either senior Jason Manson or redshirt freshman Jake Christensen will start the game but both could play. Ferentz says the Iowa defense faces a tough challenge.

Iowa State needs a victory and soon. The Cyclones take an 0-4 record in the Big-12 to Kansas State looking to turn their season around. The Wildcats are 1-3 in the conference and 4-4 overall under first year coach Ron Prince who replaced long-time coach Bill Snyder.

I-S-U coach Dan McCarney says the Wildcats are improving and their special teams can have an impact as K-State is ranked highly in punt and kickoff returns. McCarney says the offensive line needs to protect quarterback Bret Meyer as Kansas State “blitzed like crazy” against Missouri. McCarney says they expect to see the blitz too.