Kirk Ferentz has plenty of respect for this week’s opponent.

For Week 9, the Hawkeyes are traveling to Evanston, Illinois to take on Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats. Both programs are regarded well for their defense and toughness, and Ferentz does not mind Iowa being compared to Northwestern.

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During his Tuesday press conference, Ferentz said such comparisons are a compliment to Iowa. He sees quite a bit that he likes in Northwestern’s efforts on the football field.

Hawkeye Sports shared Ferentz’s comments:

“That’s a compliment toward us in that, to me, I look across, I watch them, they don’t beat themselves,” Ferentz said. “That’s the first thing you have to do in football. They rarely mess it up, they play hard, they show up every week. You have to beat them if you’re going to beat them. Nothing will be easy about it.”

“I would hope people would say (the programs) look like each other,” Ferentz said. “(Northwestern head coach) Pat (Fitzgerald) and I don’t look like each other. We’re not like each other as players. He won awards, that’s a whole different ballgame there.”

The Wildcats have won three straight over the Hawkeyes with each win coming by seven points or less. Four of the last six contests in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Saturday’s kickoff is set for 12 pm EST on ESPN 2.