Northwestern gouged Iowa for 349 rushing yards on 49 attempts, a 7.1-yard-per-carry average. It was the most rushing yards given up by the Hawkeyes since Indiana ran for 433 yards in 2000.
After weeks of rotating quarterbacks, he Wildcats went exclusively with do-it-all junior Kain Colter for all but two plays under center. Colter threw only nine times with six completions, but he was a force running the football. Colter rushed 26 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
"Colter, he’s so elusive and so good with the ball in his hands on any given play," Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde said. "I can understand why they had them in there the whole game and stuff like that. He’s a very good player. I give him credit."
BY THE NUMBERS
35 — Combined margin of defeat for Iowa in last two weeks
349 — Northwestern's yards rushing
8-of-11 — Third-down conversions
8:50 — Iowa's edge in time-of-possession (seriously)
10 — Passing attempts by Northwestern
C-minus — Remember when printers used to tell you “PC load letter”? Saturday was full-on PC load letter for Iowa.
— Marc Morehouse
D — But Coe, which beat Wartburg 35-7 to improve to 8-0, gets an ‘A.’
— Mike Hlas
C — Iowa's hashtag now reads "bullied of the Big Ten."
— Scott Dochterman
NORTHWESTERN RUSH STREET
The Wildcats' rushing attack surpassed 300 yards for the second time this year. Northwestern earlier rushed for 394 against Indiana in the Big Ten opener. Four times Northwestern has rushed for at least 275 yards in a game this year.
With Colter's 166 yards and Venric Mack running for 162, it was the first time a pair of backs each surpassed 150 yards against Iowa since Minnesota's tandem of Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney in 2004.
"We felt like if we could control the line of scrimmage, we’d give ourselves a great opportunity to win the game," Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "Some of the things we’ve done well we had Kain in at quarterback.
"For the most part it worked out pretty efficiently today."
RUN BUT CAN'T HYDE
Hyde produced three big plays for Iowa in different phases of the game. On the first play of the second quarter, Hyde downed a John Wienke punt at the Northwestern 1-yard line. On the next play, Mark burst up the middle and ran 72 yards down until Hyde tracked him down at the Iowa 27-yard line.
"I’m excited Micah is graduating," Fitzgerald said. "He’s been a great player for them. I think he made some money today running Venric down. He’s a great player."
"You know, he's a great player," Mark said. "I didn't know he was behind me. It was a huge hole and honestly I thought I was going to get to the end zone, but great play by him."
Hyde hoped the Hawkeyes could hold the Wildcats on that series, but Northwestern scored six plays later to take a 14-3 lead.
"It was just a high-effort play," Hyde said. "Coach talks a lot, don’t give up on a play. Turn a positive out of a negative. That’s was I tried to do. Unfortunately they still scored on that drive. If we would have gotten a turnover on that down, it would have been huge."
Early in the fourth quarter, Hyde recovered a Northwestern fumbled snap that led to Iowa's second touchdown.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Iowa running back Damon Bullock played for the first time since mid-September. Bullock, a true sophomore, rushed for 107 yards on 22 carries.
Bullock started Iowa's first three games before leaving midway through the third game against Northern Iowa after suffering a concussion. He was cleared to play at Michigan State, but experienced a "setback" during that week.
DIVERSE PASSING GAME
Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg completed 24-of-38 passes to eight different receivers for 214 yards. Vandenberg threw 23 passes along the perimeter and 15 in the middle of the field.
"I think we're all on the same page and we're comfortable with what we're doing," Vandenberg said.
Kevonte Martin-Manley caught seven passes for 46 yards to lead the Hawkeyes.
Fullback Mark Weisman suffered a leg injury in the first half and did not return. Weisman had been recovering from a sprained ankle two weeks ago against Michigan State. Wide receiver Keenan Davis suffered a hand injury but returned.
Iowa played true freshman defensive end Drew Ott midway through the third quarter when Joe Gaglione briefly went down with an injury. Ott is the seventh true freshman competing for the Hawkeyes this year.
BACK ON THE AIR
Iowa's student radio station, KRUI, aired an Iowa football game for the first time in nine years.
KRUI Sports Director Jordan Kabialis met with athletics officials Rick Klatt and Steve Roe, along with Hawkeye Sports Properties General Manager Chuck Schroeder, and the campus station was allowed to broadcast the game.
"It was a long-held notion that it wasn't a possibility and we tried in the past," said Kabialis, who handled play-by-play. "This is something that we really wanted and other schools like Northwestern that have contracts with Learfield, their student radio is allowed to do it.
"All types of emotions. Nervous, excited, I couldn't sleep last night."
KRUI was not allowed to air commercials or stream the action on its website. Iowa athletics officials also held right of approval on broadcasters.
Bria Davis provided game analysis. Originally the station planned to use former Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for color commentary, but the athletics department denied the request. Johnson-Koulianos, who is finishing his Iowa degree this fall, was booted from the team following a drug arrest in 2010.
Iowa (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) travels to Indiana (3-5, 1-3) next Saturday. The Hawkeyes have beaten Indiana four straight, but won by default the last time the teams played in Bloomington. Hoosiers WR DeMarlo Belcher dropped a sure touchdown pass in the final seconds, and Iowa won 18-13.
Before Saturday's 31-17 win against Illinois, Indiana had lost 23 of its previous 24 Big Ten games. Its only win in that string was a 34-31 overtime victory against rival Purdue in 2010.It's the final scheduled meeting between the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers until at least 2017. The teams are not scheduled to play one another for the next four seasons.