Rapid Reaction: Iowa breaks out of offensive funk with dominant win vs. Northwestern
Final Score: Iowa 33, Northwestern 13
Brief Recap: That one had to feel good for the Hawkeyes. Even if the performance came against an abysmal Northwestern opponent, Iowa ran away with a Week 9 win and posted the best offensive performance of the season in the process.
The successes for the Hawkeyes came right away with a 10-0 first quarter to open the game. That hot start put Iowa in the driver’s seat to control the game the rest of the way.
By the time halftime rolled around, the Hawkeyes held a 20-0 lead and were already approaching their best showing of the season. The Wildcats had a few chances to make the game interesting in the third quarter, but Iowa was up to the task each time.
Defensively, the Hawkeyes stifled the Wildcats and held Northwestern to less than 200 yards of offense. Star running back Evan Hull was also shut down with Iowa holding Hull to 32 rushing yards. The only output worse than that for Hull came in the loss to Wisconsin.
Iowa still faces a tricky November schedule moving forward, but the Hawkeyes have at least put their 3-game losing streak behind them and can try to build off the win in Week 9.
Key Player: Speaking of outings that felt good, Spencer Petras had to enjoy the success he felt in Week 9. He accounted for 2 of Iowa’s 3 total touchdowns and was highly efficient throughout the game.
At the final whistle, Petras had completed 21-of-30 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown. He also had a short rushing touchdown to his credit in the win. But beyond those scores, the most important aspect of Petras’ performance was the fact he did not have a turnover in the win.
Key Moment: Coming out of halftime, Northwestern had a shot to try and make things interesting. On their second drive of the 3rd quarter, the Wildcats scored a touchdown to make it a 13-point game. Another stop and score would have made things very interesting the rest of the way.
Iowa responded on both sides of the ball, forcing back-to-back punts from the Wildcats and scoring 13 unanswered points in the process. While Northwestern tacked on a score as time expired, the game was well in hand by that point.
Key Stat: 7.3 and 4.8, Iowa’s yards per pass and yards per carry in the win over Northwestern. For an offense looking for a spark, the Hawkeyes were surprisingly efficient and controlled the game all day long.
What it means moving forward: Now at 4-4 on the season, getting to a bowl game is far from guaranteed for the Hawkeyes when looking at the November schedule. However, Iowa does get games against Wisconsin at Nebraska at home in Kinnick Stadium, and it’s hard to imagine Kirk Ferentz and company not circling the wagons enough to at least go 2-2 in November.
As for Northwestern, this might truly be the worst team of Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure with the Wildcats. The team is now 1-7 and has a realistic shot at losing every remaining game on the schedule.