The Iowa Hawkeyes open the Big Ten race at home against Northwestern. The Hawks are 3-1 after a loss at Pitt while the Wildcats enter with a record of 4-0. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the defense will need to slow down Northwestern’s spread offense led by quarterback C.J. Bacher.

Ferentz says Northwestern is very proficient in the offense and the players all understand what they are trying to do, so it prevents a great challenge. Ferentz says the Northwestern defense is vastly improved this season. He says they have good players who are experienced and play hard.

Ferentz says defending the spread is not that much different than defending other offenses. He says it’s still about how you play against them, and still have to beat blocks and defend. Ferentz says overall they have to tackle better, as it showed last week in the loss to Pitt.