IOWA CITY -- On a night when fans were asked to stripe the stadium in alternating black and gold sections, Iowa broke a three-game losing streak against Northwestern, defeating the Wildcats, 41-31, to notch their first Big Ten victory of the season.
James Vandenberg threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, including a 35-yarder to Marvin McNutt. McNutt tied the all-time school record for touchdown receptions with 21 on that catch.
Marcus Coker also added 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1).
The defense was still shaky, surrendering 495 yards to the Wildcats, who scored several times in the closing minutes to keep it close.
Iowa jumped out to a 17-0 lead before Northwestern tied it at 17 a piece. The Hawkeyes then ripped off another 17 unanswered points before trading scores back and forth to close the game, ending with a 41-31 final score and just their second victory over the Wildcats in their last seven meetings.
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Here is what our "so-called experts" think of tonight's game, as well as Iowa State's game at Missouri and the Michigan-Michigan State showdown:
Marc Morehouse — If you know the Greek myth of Sisyphus, you know the treacherous king of Corinth is looking at the Hawkeyes in this one and giving them a little body English. Northwestern 21, Iowa 20
Mike Hlas — The Kinnick Stadium press box is rented out for weddings. But the most romantic things I’ve ever seen on the stadium property are T-shirts Iowa students wear that say “(Expletive deleted) the (Hawkeyes’ opponent).” Iowa 42, Northwestern 35
Nick Pugliese — There is nothing better than college football under the lights. Iowa 27, Northwestern 24
John Campbell — The Wildcats are dead last in defense in the Big Ten. Can Iowa take advantage? You bet, but don’t leave the stadium early. Iowa 27, Northwestern 24
Beth Malicki — For the handful of people who aren’t at the game or glued to your TV, you are likely doing what we’re doing: attending youth soccer games. Your kids will thank you someday — or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Iowa 17, Northwestern 14
Bob Brooks — Iowa pulls out all of the stops against the ‘Cats. You have to respect Persa, but Iowa “D” will save the day. Iowa 28, Northwestern 17
J.R. Ogden – Can you spell funk with an “I”, an “O”, a “W” and an “A”? Northwestern 28, Iowa 24
Jeff Johnson – Truth of the matter is Iowa simply isn’t that good. Northwestern 31, Iowa 20
Rob Gray – 'Cats have had Hawkeyes' number, but can Dan Persa cause heartbreak in Iowa City again? No. Iowa 28, Northwestern 24
Jeff Linder – Hawks will exorcise their own nemesis today. But it will take more than three points. Iowa 19, Northwestern 14
James Steward – We saw one streak involving Iowa come to an end last week. Here’s hoping another bites the dust Saturday night in Kinnick. Iowa 24, Northwestern 20
Mike Condon – Revenge goes the other way this week. Iowa 27, Northwestern 22
Scott Saville –The Hawkeyes are a hungry football team. Iowa wins a shootout. Iowa 35, Northwestern 31
John Sears – The Hawkeye offense was pathetic in Happy Valley. The cure? Playing the worst defense at home under the lights. The bad news, Northwestern still has Dan Persa. The losing streak ends tonight. Iowa 34, Northwestern 23
Chris Taylor (from The Gazette’s Facebook page) – Lately, the “N” on Northwestern's helmet has stood for “Nemesis” against the Hawkeyes and last week Iowa's “ANF” could have been “Absolutely No Fun.” Hopefully that ends tonight. Iowa 31, Northwestern 27
Morehouse — The bauble up for grabs here is the Telephone Trophy. The winner will have to pay the $220 a month if it wants the data package. Missouri 34, ISU 24
Hlas — The SEC already has a school in Columbia (South Carolina) and two teams called the Tigers (Auburn, LSU). So, Missouri, you jumping to that league wouldn’t be quite as original as the time you elected a dead guy to the U.S. Senate. Missouri 42, ISU 32
Pugliese — James Steward, our online sports point person, went to Missouri. Sorry James. ISU 24, Missouri 20
Campbell — Linebacker Jake Knott leads the Big 12 in tackles but he is being held together by duct tape and baling wire. The Clones will need him full speed today. ISU 21, Missouri 20
Malicki — Once again I’m not endearing myself to any Cyclones out there but this one is understandable. I’m a Mizzou Alumnae and was an adjunct at the J-school while working at the University-owned TV station. So, without Mizzou I would have been unemployed for most of my 20s. GO TIGERS! Missouri 38, ISU 20
Brooks — “Cy” has a chance in this one, but Missouri talent-pool just too deep for Jantz and company. Missouri 30, ISU 20
Ogden – Looking more like ISU’s most impressive win was over UNI. Missouri 37, ISU 21
Johnson – Truth of the matter is Iowa State simply isn’t that good. Missouri 31, ISU 26
Gray – The Cyclones need big games from Steele Jantz and Darius Reynolds to win. Could happen. But Tigers find a way. Missouri 27, ISU 21
Linder – The 3-0 start was fool’s gold. Missouri 41, ISU 24.
Steward – It’s the 100th homecoming for the school that invented the whole concept. Missouri will not drop to 0-3 in the conference, plain and simple. Missouri 35, ISU 17
Condon – This is a game the Cyclones must have if they have any bowl aspirations. ISU 33, Missouri 31
Saville –The Clones bounce back this week. ISU 28, Missouri 24
Sears –I believe this is Paul Rhoads’ best team he’s had at Iowa State. The problem, outside of Kansas I don’t think the Cyclones will be favored in any remaining games. They’re 15 point dogs. Clones keep it close but come up short. Missouri 37, ISU 28
Taylor – If ISU was playing this week's game at Ames, it would take down the Tigers. But in Columbia, Mizzou comes away with a victory. Missouri 27, ISU 23
Morehouse — Denard Robinson is a peripheral visionary. Michigan 27, MSU 17
Hlas — Today is the birthday of my sister, Teresa. Send all your cash gifts my way and I’ll see she gets them. Minus the service and handling fees, of course. MSU 42, Michigan 41
Pugliese — Denard wins another shootout. Michigan 38, MSU 34
Campbell — The Wolverine Express comes to halt against a Michigan State defense that is rested and rated number one in the Big Ten. MSU 18, Michigan 17
Malicki — I get chest pains when I see a kid running around a field with shoelaces bouncing untied. The fact that Michigan’s quarterback deliberately leaves his untied and even goes by the name “Shoelaces” flies in the face of all that is just and right with the world. Oh well. Michigan 27, MSU 24
Brooks — Tough game to figure, but go with Michigan State’s defense and experience against the Michigan offensive show. MSU 23, Michigan 20
Ogden – Not real sold on Michigan, but Michigan State?? Oh, what the heck. Michigan 21, MSU 12
Johnson – Brady Hoke is no joke. Michigan 28, MSU 17
Gray – Denard Robinson runs — and throws — wild. Again. And Big Blue's 'D' seems to finally have reemerged. Michigan 38, MSU 17
Linder – Wolverines are on their way back. Michigan 30, Michigan State 21
Steward – Are the Wolverines for real? Or will this be the beginning of another Rich Rod-esque second-half collapse? Michigan 24, MSU 21
Condon – Could be the Legends Division championship game in mid-October. MSU 28, Michigan 26
Saville –The Spartans defense will slow down Denard Robinson and score just enough points to win. MSU 21, Michigan 17
Sears –The battle for the leader of the Legends. Wait, what? For some reason I’m not sold on Sparty. I’ll take the QB who doesn’t like to tie his shoes. If that’s not analysis, I don’t know what is. Michigan 24 , MSU 21
Taylor – Unlike the Hawkeyes last weekend, the Spartans follow their bye week with a solid performance and take advantage of a couple errant Denard Robinson passes. Michigan State 30, Michigan 21