Northwestern Rains On Iowa’s Homecoming 38–31
It misted rain before the game and again late in the contest — foreboding and fitting. Iowa played well at times, coming back in the Second Quarter to take a 21–17 lead into Halftime. The Hawkeyes then showed life again in the Fourth Quarter to pull within 38–31 after Northwestern had scored 21 straight points. But otherwise, this Iowa team looked pedestrian on offense and mediocre on defense. And while, overall, special teams continued to be a strength, it wasn’t enough to make the difference in this contest.
Rushing continues to be a major issue for the Hawkeyes — on both sides of the ball. Iowa’s Defense continues to struggle against the run, surrendering 198 yards on the ground to Northwestern — and the Hawkeyes Offense only garnered 79 yards rushing against a Wildcats Defense that was giving up an average of 177.5 per game. Overall Northwestern had 362 yards of total offense to Iowa’s 283.
Iowa Starting Quarterback C.J. Beathard continues to appear to have real issues in terms of pocket presence — and he was sacked six times by a Wildcats Defense that only had six sacks in the first four games. The absence of WR Matt VandeBerg didn’t help Iowa, but WR Riley McCarron had a career day receiving (8 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD). McCarron also had a big punt return and a kick return when Northwestern chose to kick away from Desmond King. Running backs Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels combined for only 107 yards on 31 carries but did get three touchdowns (Wadley two, Daniels 1).
Once again penalties were a significant problem for Iowa, which ended the day being flagged six times for 70 yards. Each team had one turnover — Iowa recovered a Northwestern fumble and turned it into six points; Beathard threw what was essentially a game-ending pick as the Hawkeyes were trying to tie the game as the clock wound down.
The Iowa — Northwestern series has become a close and fairly intense rivalry in recent history. Each team has defeated the other on the road in the last two years — and the Wildcats have now won seven of the last 12. The Hawkeyes nine-game Big Ten regular season winning streak comes to an end — and Iowa has now lost two consecutive home games.
Iowa (3–2, 1–1) now goes on the road to face Minnesota next Saturday as Big Ten West Division play continues. Northwestern ( 2–3, 1–1) has a bye week before it plays Michigan State in East Lansing.
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