Iowa's top receiver in both catches and touchdowns is going to be out a minimum of three weeks, according to Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. Brandon Smith, who was injured in last Saturday's Homecoming victory over the Purdue Boilermakers is likely to be out anywhere from three to five weeks according to Ferentz.

At his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Ferentz didn't give specifics on Smith's injury but did say,

We were optimistic maybe Sunday, Monday. We got a test yesterday, so I think it's going to take a little while to get him back out on the field...  I think we're looking at probably three,  four,  five weeks probably ballpark. There's no way to just say when. So wherever that puts us, that's where it puts us. Looked like it might be a contusion, then kind of went south on us.

Smith, a 6'2" junior leads Iowa with 33 catches and 4 touchdown receptions, nearly half of Iowa's 9 receiving touchdowns on the season. He also has 407 yards receiving, second only to fellow junior Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who has 443.

Ferentz said freshman wide receiver Tyrone Tracy (15 catches/218 yards/1 TD) will start in Smith's place this weekend. It could also mean Iowa City West grad Oliver Martin will see more snaps. The Michigan transfer has just one catch in his last four games.

Losing Smith, a deep threat, could spell trouble for Iowa, a team that has struggled mightily to run the ball recently. Iowa has 93 rushing attempts for a total of 173 yards, a 1.86 yards per carry average, in their last three games.

Northwestern has had offensive struggles of their own having lost four in a row. They've scored just 28 points in their last three games. However, the Wildcats always seem to bring their best in games against Iowa, having beaten the Hawkeyes each of the last three seasons.

Iowa and Northwestern kick off Saturday morning at 11 in Evanston, Illinois. The game will be televised by ESPN 2.

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