Northwestern holds off Iowa, 17-10, in overtime
(AP) Quarterback Clayton Thorson scored on a 1-yard run and Northwestern rallied from a sluggish first half for a 17-10 overtime victory over Iowa on Saturday.
Thorson’s score was set up by a 23-yard reception by running back Justin Jackson, who broke three tackles on the play to give the Wildcats (4-3, 2-2 in the Big Ten) a first down at the 1-yard line.
“Probably the difference in the game,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said of Jackson’s reception. “A great player making a big-time play.”
Following Northwestern’s score, Iowa moved the ball to the 18-yard line, but Nate Stanley’s pass for Noah Fant on a fourth-and-3 play fell incomplete, ending the game.
Thorson finished 21 of 36 for 192 yards. Jackson rushed for 93 yards rushing on 25 attempts and had five receptions for 38 yards. Jackson now has 4,732 career yards to pass Anthony Davis (Wisconsin) for eighth place on the Big Ten’s all-time rushing list.
Stanley was 19 of 33 for 223 yards with a touchdown and an interception and Akrum Wadley rushed for 90 yards on 26 carries to lead Iowa (4-3, 1-3).
Iowa, which averaged 138.7 yards rushing before Saturday, was held to 89 yards.
“We’re a better team when we can run the ball efficiently,” coach Kirk Ferentz. “It’s always been that way. That is our plan, that’ll continue to be our plan. We’ll try to do a better job there.”
The Hawkeyes tied the score at 10 on kicker Miguel Recinos’ 48-yard field goal with 1:30 remaining in regulation. Iowa won the coin toss before overtime and decided to play defense first.
“I thought today was just a great Big Ten defensive battle,” Fitzgerald said. “I think two really good defenses, two really physical football teams just went toe-to-toe.”
Iowa: Middle linebacker Josey Jewell – the conference leader in tackles entering the weekend with 70 – didn’t play because of a shoulder injury. Free safety Brandon Snyder (knee) also was held out. The Hawkeyes thrived on defense early in spite of the losses, but seemed to wear down.
Northwestern: The Wildcats were shut out in the first half and then went three-and-out – losing 5 yards in the process – on the first offensive possession of the second half. But the game’s momentum may have swung when NU punter Hunter Niswander got off an 80-yard punt to pin Iowa back to its 3-yard line. The Hawkeyes had to punt after five plays. The Wildcats then put together 12-play, 66-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes host Minnesota on Saturday.
Northwestern: The Wildcats host Michigan State on Saturday.