EVANSTON, Ill. — Iowa’s trip to Northwestern wasn’t exactly the prettiest, but the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes walked away Saturday afternoon from Ryan Field with a 20-0 win. Here’s a closer look at the win:
Play of the game
THE SETUP — Neither offense had any momentum. Northwestern’s front seven had been making Nate Stanley’s life difficult in the pocket. Iowa’s Keith Duncan earlier missed a 46-yard field goal after a sack pushed the Hawkeyes back 11 yards.
WHAT HAPPENED — Senior quarterback Nate Stanley fired a pass to redshirt freshman wideout Tyrone Tracy Jr., who was surrounded by three Northwestern defenders at the Northwestern 36-yard line. Tracy broke through a tackle on a spin move and ran free to the end zone.
THE RESULT — Instead of a fourth down, Iowa scored the only points of the first quarter and shifted momentum for the rest of the first half.
Marc Morehouse: B+
There was no need for stunts. This was not that Northwestern.
John Steppe: B
The Hawkeyes’ offense will need to be a lot more consistent against Wisconsin in two weeks, but it was enough against Northwestern, now 1-6.
By the numbers
1.8 — Average yards per Northwestern rushing attempt.
4 — Failed Northwestern fourth-down conversions.
5 — Iowa sacks.
10 — Carries for Iowa running back Tyler Goodson in the second half.
38 — Years since Iowa’s last shutout against Northwestern.
43 — Receiving yards for freshman tight end Sam LaPorta.
• Iowa shut out Northwestern for the first time since 1981, when the Hawkeyes won 64-0 in Evanston. The Billboard No. 1 song at the time was “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie.
• Saturday’s win marks Iowa’s first against Northwestern since 2015. Before that, head coach Kirk Ferentz’s unit won four of the previous five matchups.
• With Stanley’s first-quarter touchdown, he passed Drew Tate for No. 2 on Iowa’s all-time passing touchdown leaderboard with 62. Chuck Long (74) is No. 1.
• Offensive lineman Justin Britt’s absence from Saturday’s win against Northwestern keeps the possibility of redshirting the 2019 season for the time being. Defensive back Dane Belton appeared in his third game of 2019, so he can play one more game before deciding whether to redshirt.
• Scouts from the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans were in attendance for Saturday’s game. Representatives from the Citrus Bowl and TaxSlayer Gator Bowl were also in attendance.
• Not much went right for the Wildcats, but they only picked up two penalties.
• Saturday was Northwestern’s homecoming game. The Wildcats honored the 2010 Outback Bowl team at halftime. That team beat the Hawkeyes 21-17 — much more offensive productivity than Saturday.
• The Hawkeyes’ 20 points is their most against the Wildcats since 2015. Before that, Iowa had a stretch of 40-plus points in three of five matchups against Northwestern.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
• Lack of offense is nothing new to the Wildcats, who have scored 15 points or less in six of their seven games this season. They entered Saturday ranked second-to-last in the Big Ten in total offense and last in passing offense.
Linebacker Kristian Welch and tight end Nate Wieting were among Iowa’s inactives Saturday. Welch suffered a stinger in the second half against Penn State on Oct. 12 and has not played since.
Junior Shaun Beyer replaced Wieting, who played 59 snaps last week against Purdue, at tight end. Beyer finished with one reception for 11 yards. Ferentz said Wieting suffered a strain in practice on Wednesday.
Britt is in concussion protocol and was not active.
The Hawkeyes’ offensive attack was also without wide receiver Brandon Smith, who suffered an ankle injury on an otherwise career day last week. He led Iowa with nine receptions for 106 yards against Purdue. He is expected to miss another three to five weeks.
Running back Tyler Goodson left the game in the third quarter with an ankle or foot injury but returned later in the half.
The Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) will have a week off before traveling to Camp Randall Stadium to take on No. 13 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2). The Badgers will also be coming off a bye week after losing 38-7 to No. 3 Ohio State.
There is not a start time yet for next Saturday’s batlle for the Heartland Trophy.
A win in Madison is essential to stay within reach of a Big Ten West title.