In the middle of May, we talked about the 5 most important Hawkeye football games for the 2023-2024 season and it's looking like our prediction as the most important game is coming least so far. Both of these Big 10 teams head into Saturday's (Oct 14) game with only 1 loss on their record and this could be a massive swing game, for either team, to take control of the Big 10 West division.

This division could very likely come down to a tie-breaker and whichever team wins on Saturday will surely have a massive advantage heading towards the end of the season. There's a new starter for the Hawkeyes who might have a little extra motivation this week as this should be considered the most important game for both teams, so far this season.

Purdue v Iowa
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After the sad news that former starting QB, Cade McNamara, would be out for the rest of the season, the Hawkeyes needed a new starting Quarterback to rally around. After last week's win against Purdue, can Deacon Hill be the guy to lead this Iowa team?

Extra Motivation

A lot of athletes at the professional and collegiate levels will try to downplay facing their former team. You'll often hear athletes say "It's just another game" or "I'm going to prepare like it's any other game" but if you've been around athletes at these levels, you know deep down they really, really want to beat their former teams.

Deacon Hill transferred to Iowa, from Wisconsin, after 2 years. He never even attempted a pass in that timeframe. You can't blame a guy for wanting to better their situation and hope for a better opportunity to play. Hill will do his best to try and not make the game on Saturday too big. He told KCRG

I think the biggest thing is don’t make it too big. Respect the game for what it is, respect them for who they are, but don’t try to blow it out of the water. But also don’t try to make it any less than what it is.

Linebacker Jay Higgins reminded Hill that he faced a similar situation in the Purdue game. He reminded Hill that Purdue didn't want him either. He told KCRG

I was joking around with him yesterday. He left pretty late yesterday watching tape. I let him know that Purdue didn’t want me (Higgins is a native of Indianapolis), and that the Wisconsin situation for him was kind of the same. Just a little motivation there.

When you have teammates who are aware enough to know the situation, that can only help build Hill's confidence. They have his back, they know how important this game is for the team and how important it is for their new starting QB. Things like this can really help rally a team around each other and hopefully, this is exactly what happens for the Hawkeyes. They shouldn't need extra motivation this week but I don't see how this can hurt.

Hill's First Start

Hill will want to improve on connecting with his receivers if Iowa wants to have a chance to win on Saturday. In his first start, he threw 21 passes and only completed 6 of those attempts. He did connect on a really nice 22-yard touchdown pass to Erick All in the 3rd quarter last week and will want to continue to build on that.

Iowa travels to Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday and whichever team can leave Camp Randall Stadium will have the upper hand for the remainder of the season.

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