On a cold, rainy day at Ryan Field, the No. 13 Iowa Hawkeyes (7-3, 4-2) once again lost to the Northwestern Wildcats (7-3, 3-3), 21-17.
Yes Northwestern, you do own the Hawkeyes.
The scoring began when Northwestern’s quarterback Dan Persa got the team on the board with a first quarter touchdown. It took the Hawkeyes until the second quarter to score when freshman kicker Mike Meyer hit a a 32-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
The Wildcats entered the locker room ahead, 7-3.
Iowa come back strong in the third quarter, with two quick touchdowns: one by Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt five minutes into the quarter, followed by a with 70-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. This was the longest reception of DJK’s career.
The Hawkeyes took a 17-7 lead but not so fast…enter the fourth quarter of play.
With a Stanzi interception near the goal line, Persa stepped in and began a Wildcat drive for the win.
At the 6:21 mark, Persa threw a six-yard pass to wide receiver Jeremy Ebert, bringing the game within three at 17-14. Five minutes later with 1:22 left, Persa threw the game-winning touchdown for the Wildcats. But it was a bittersweet moment for the team.
After he threw the touchdown pass, Persa suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, ending his season. He received assistance to exit the field and will have surgery for the injury. Persa is a junior and will return next year.
With over a minute left on the clock, Iowa made one last attempt for the win. At the 26-second mark, Stanzi threw a 23-yard pass to McNutt on 4th and 15. He was sacked by Northwestern for a seven-yard loss on second down and after an incompletion, Northwestern’s defense broke up Stanzi’s Hail Mary pass to the end zone with six seconds left.
Star of the game? Persa. He was extremely impressive and poised. At times, he looked like Michigan’s rushing quarterback Denard Robinson. For the day, Persa went 32 for 43, 318 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Unfortunately for Hawkeye Nation, there were Bad Stanzi appearances in the fourth quarter with his interception, a goofy fumble that he recovered himself and incomplete passes.
For the day, Stanzi went 23 of 41, 270 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was disappointed by the outcome, blaming his interception for the loss, but after Saturday’s game, Stanzi moves onto the Hawkeyes’ all-time passing list as No. 4 with his total 6,855 yards.
With two games remaining, he could surpass Chuck Hartlieb at 6,934 yards.
The Hawkeyes had running back Adam Robinson back on the field Saturday after he missed last week due to a concussion. Many of his runs were short but for the day, he had 22 carries for 108 yards. This was the sixth game that Robinson carried for the 100 yard-mark.
Koulianos had five receptions, 104 yards and one touchdown.
Northwestern’s defense gave up only 101 rushing yards while Iowa’s defense looked lackluster. Jeff Tarpinian returned as the outside linebacker but left in the second half with another stinger. He had eight tackles.
Freshman James Morris continues to have a good season at middle linebacker with his career high 13 stops on Saturday. And cornerback Micah Hyde had a career-high 12 tackles.
Where is defensive end Adam Clayborn? His presence at Ryan Field was not dominant and he’s been a little off this season.
It was a disappointing day for the Hawkeyes and their hopes of a Big Ten conference title are gone. However, they will host Ohio State next weekend and regardless of conference standings, the Hawkeyes will definitely look for a win.
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Written by Debbie Baratz