Rapid Reaction: Northwestern edges out Iowa for narrow victory, moves to 2-0
Final Score: Northwestern 21, Iowa 20
Brief Recap: Thanks to a pair of fumbles early on, Iowa jumped out to a 17-0 lead. However, Northwestern was able to chip away at that lead and take a 21-20 lead halfway through the third quarter. The Wildcats never looked back, trading interceptions and punts with the Hawkeyes for the remainder of the game. The final key stop came with just under a minute as Spencer Petras threw his third INT of the contest.
Key moment: After giving the ball away twice early in the game, Northwestern got a takeaway of its own. With 9:36 left in the third quarter, Brandon Joseph picked off Spencer Petras and set up the Wildcats for an eight-play, 35-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. That made the score 21-20 in favor of Northwestern, and neither team scored again.
Key player: Joseph was the player of the game for the Wildcats as his two interceptions helped change the game, including one that set up the game-winning drive. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey was effective when he needed to be, completing 11-of-18 passes for 130 yards.
Key stat: 4 yards per play. Northwester’s defense held Iowa to just over four yards per play. The Hawkeyes struggled to move the ball through the air and on the ground. Although they scored 20 points, 14 of them came off turnovers with favorable field position. In the end, Northwestern’s defense was able to give the offense enough time to get back into this game.
What it means for Iowa: It means the Hawkeyes are 0-2, which is an extremely unusual spot for a Kirk Ferentz team to be in. Iowa thought it might compete for a division title this season, but it looks like this will be more of a rebuilding year as Petras gains experience.
What it means for Northwestern: The Wildcats are 2-0 and look like they will be a tough out for any Big Ten team this season. Northwestern has dominated defensively through two weeks, including a 43-3 win over Maryland in Week 1. With Ramsey being effective as a game-manager, there’s a high ceiling for this Wildcat squad.