IOWA CITY, Iowa (Ticker) -- From 10 losses to 10 wins in just three years.
Sixth-ranked Iowa, which has won seven straight, can accomplish that turnaround Saturday when it hosts Northwestern in its 600th Big Ten Conference game.
After going 1-10 in 1999, Kirk Ferentz's first year as coach, the Hawkeyes (9-1, 6-0) began their steady climb. They went 3-9 in 2000 and 7-5 last season.
Now, Iowa is looking to reach 10 wins for the first time since 1990 and just the fourth time in school history. But the Hawkeyes still are going to need some help to win the Big Ten title.
Since Iowa and Ohio State do not play, the first tiebreaker is overall record, meaning the Buckeyes have the advantage because they are unbeaten. Iowa lost to Iowa State in September.
Iowa defeated Wisconsin, 20-3, last week to improve to 6-0 in conference play for the first time in school history. Brad Banks completed 17-of-30 passes for a career-high 275 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Iowa nearly doubled Wisconsin in total yards, outgaining the Badgers, 405-215. Jermelle Lewis rushed for 81 yards on 25 carries, providing a spark after leading rusher Fred Russell left the game early in the third quarter with a hand injury.
Northwestern (3-7, 1-5) recorded its first conference win of the season last week, outlasting Indiana, 41-37. Jason Wright, who rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries, scored on a seven-yard TD run with 2:19 left to give the Wildcats the victory. Wright was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Brett Basanez completed 18-of-27 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown for the Wildcats, who have surrendered 40 or more points in six of its 10 games this season.
Northwestern put up little resistance against Iowa last year, suffering 59-16 loss. The Hawkeyes rolled up 602 yards of total offense - 297 on the ground and 305 through the air.
Iowa leads the all-time series, 44-18-3, and has won 14 of the last 15 meetings at home. Northwestern's only win in Iowa City since 1971 came six years ago, when the Wildcats posted a 40-13 triumph.