After three consecutive losses to the Northwestern Wildcats, the Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1) finally snapped their losing streak and beat Northwestern (2-4, 0-3) 41-31 at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. Neither team looked pretty but Iowa got the job done.
The Hawkeyes jumped on the board first with a 27-yard field goal by Mike Meyer at the 11:17 mark.
Their first touchdown of the night came from a turnover. Iowa’s free safety Tannen Miller caught Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa’s pass at the 2-yard line and ran 98 yards for the touchdown, giving the Hawkeyes a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Hawkeyes extended their lead to 17-0 after a touchdown by wide receiver Keenan Davis at 9:34 in the second quarter. Northwestern finally jumped on the board at 3:54 with a touchdown and Iowa entered halftime 17-7.
They had to fight hard in the second half to regain their lead after the Wildcats made halftime adjustments.
It was a good third quarter for Northwestern as they came within three after a 4-yard touchdown run, followed by a game-tying 47-yard field goal with 4:19 remaining.
Iowa woke up in the fourth quarter and finally got a second half score with a 1-yard TD run by running back Marcus Coker at 13:55. The Hawkeyes extended their lead to 31-17 from a James Vandenberg 35-yard TD pass to wide receiver Marvin McNutt.
With his 21st touchdown reception, McNutt is now tied with Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes for the school record.
Will next week bring a new record?
Iowa extended its lead with a 40-yard field goal by Mike Meyer but Northwestern didn’t give up. They got their first score of the fourth quarter at the 4:50 mark to make it a 34-24 game but Iowa came back with a second touchdown by Coker at 3:56 to make it a 17-point game.
This sealed the win for Iowa but Northwestern got in one more touchdown with 2:34 remaining.
With Iowa’s fourth quarter 24 points, it represented more than what they have scored against Northwestern in each of their previous three meetings.
Vandenberg threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. While he looked better than he did against Penn State, he still doesn’t look as confident as he did in September against Pittsburgh and ULM. He had some errant throws and a little less swagger.
Northwestern’s talented Persa went 31 for 40 on 246 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Iowa’s Davis led in receiving, going 6 for 109 yards and one touchdown.
In the running game, Coker had 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Northwestern stuck in their backup quarterback Kain Colter to pinch hit as a running back. I had questioned what they would do with him because of his rushing ability. They used him well as he had 12 carries for 76 yards, again the team’s leading rusher.
Iowa’s defense continued to struggle, allowing 495 yards (vs Iowa’s 379) and 29 first downs to Northwestern. They helped Northwestern convert 16 of 22 third downs but stepped up when needed. Tyler Nielsen led the defense with 12 tackles.
Next up for Iowa is a home game against Indiana. The Hoosiers will bring a 1-6, 0-3 record.
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Written by Debbie Baratz