Oct 31, 2020; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6) is thrown into the air by Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Erik Mueller (35) during the second quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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Northwestern rallies to upend Iowa, 21-20

The Northwestern Wildcats came back from a 17-point first-half deficit to defeat the host Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, 21-20.

It was a game of contrasting styles, as the Wildcats (2-0) utilized a heavy run game, running the ball 60 times while the Hawkeyes (0-2) threw the ball over 50 times.

Northwestern had two big fumbles in the first five minutes of the game. After forcing a 3-and-out, punt returner Kyric McGowan muffed the Iowa punt, which the Hawkeyes recovered at the 7-yard line. On the next play, Spencer Petras found Brandon Smith on a fade route for the first score of the game.

On the next Wildcats possession, Zach VanValkenburg forced and recovered a fumble from Isaiah Bowser around midfield. Less than 90 seconds later, Tyler Goodson scampered in from 15 yards out on a draw play.

The Hawkeyes added a chip shot field goal at the end of the quarter to go up 17-0.

Northwestern started to turn it around in the second quarter, driving down the field on its first drive. The Wildcats converted one fourth down and four third downs. On the fourth third-down conversion, McGowan received a handoff on a jet sweep and entered the end zone from three yards away to cut the deficit to 17-7.

But Iowa scored immediately afterward. Following a couple of rushes and a 22-yard pass, Iowa was in field goal range again with Keith Duncan nailing a 47-yarder.

But the Wildcats had found their rhythm by relying on the run game and that continued on the next possession. Passing the ball only twice, Northwestern drove 79 yards, finishing the drive with a Jesse Brown 1-yard touchdown run.

In the third, Brandon Joseph picked off a Petras pass and set up the Wildcats in great field possession at the Iowa 35-yard line.

Continuing to run the football, Northwestern drove quickly into the red zone and Brown once again capped off a drive, this time with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to put Northwestern up 21-20.

In the fourth, Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey’s interception set Iowa up in good field position, but Brandon Joseph picked off Petras to end the Hawkeyes’ advance.

Iowa had one final chance at the end of the game, but Bryce Gallagher picked off Petras to seal the victory.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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