116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A closer look at Iowa’s 33-13 victory Saturday over Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa had 10 points on two possessions for a 10-0 lead, thanks to drives of 63 and 59 yards. That’s right, Iowa’s offense had two straight scoring drives.
Northwestern, stymied offensively in the first quarter, moved from its 25 to Iowa’s 22, where it had second-and-7. Then the Hawkeye defense took command.
First, the Wildcats were called for holding to make it second-and-17. Then Ethan Hurkett of Cedar Rapids Xavier had his first career college sack, a 10-yard loss for the Wildcats. Then Northwestern quarterback Brendan Sullivan slipped and was down for a 9-yard loss after getting hounded.
It was fourth-and-36 at the Northwestern 49, and time to punt. The Wildcats wouldn’t be trading offensive punches this day.
By the numbers
3 — Northwestern’s three-game winning streak at Kinnick was snapped.
7 — Iowa sacks
8 — Eight different Hawkeyes caught passes in the first half.
18 — Northwestern rushing yards. That total was minus-17 in the first half.
32 — Northwestern’s Evan Hull came in averaging 78 rushing yards, but was held to 32.
54 — Freshman kicker Drew Stevens’ career-long field goal in the third quarter that gave Iowa a 23-7 lead.
134 — Iowa scored its first offensive touchdown in 134 minutes and 37 seconds, covering 28 days.
252 — Iowa had 252 first-half yards. Its season average coming in was a nation-worst 227.3.
* Connor Colby moved from right tackle to left guard in the starting lineup. Jack Plumb made his first start of the year, at right tackle. The rest of the offensive line was Logan Jones (center), Mason Richman (left tackle) and Beau Stephens (right guard).
* Karen and Pat Connors were here, representing the Citrus Bowl.
It wasn’t clear why. Iowa was at last year’s Citrus Bowl, and Northwestern isn’t going to any bowl barring a bizarre set of circumstances.
Six NFL teams had scouts here. That was easier to understand.
* Tory Taylor has been a folk hero in Iowa and Iowa City since he arrived on campus from Australia because of his gregarious nature and consistently awesome punting.
He came in averaging seven punts a game but because of Iowa’s first-half effectiveness on offense uncharacteristically didn’t get off a boot until there was 9:53 left in the third quarter.
Also uncharacteristically, he shanked it 13 yards, setting up Northwestern at the Hawkeyes 35-yard line and leading to a Wildcats touchdown.
“Iowa iced their own punter!” exclaimed ESPN2 color analyst Brock Osweiler.
* “It’s a start. Hopefully it’s a start,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz told ESPN postgame. “Hopefully we can build on this now.”
Iowa finished with a season-high 398 yards, including 173 on the ground.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks,” Ferentz said. “But the guys have kept pushing forward. Really proud of the way they stuck together and just kept playing. And practicing.
“That’s all you can do. Go back to work. When things don’t go your way, you go back to work. That’s what we’ve been trying to do the last several weeks. It was good to see the players rewarded today.”
Iowa cornerback Terry Roberts missed a second-straight game. Linebacker Jestin Jacobs didn’t suit up, either.
Hawkeye running back Gavin Williams left the game with an apparent lower-body injury after his only carry of the day, and didn’t return.
Iowa plays at Purdue Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT). The Boilermakers were idle Saturday. They are 3-2 in the Big Ten, 5-3 overall.