There’s no trophy at stake between Iowa and Northwestern, but the Hawkeyes rushed the field in celebration as if they had reclaimed one.
The Hawkeyes’ 17-10 overtime win reversed the team’s recent trend of building early leads against the Wildcats only to lose in excruciating fashion. The win moved Iowa to 5-3 overall, while it dropped Northwestern to 4-4.
“Just elation, relief, excitement, probably all those things wrapped into one,” Iowa linebacker James Morris said. “Euphoria. You saw everybody running around like they won the lottery. So it was just an awesome feeling.”
B — This game was cattywampus. I think that word says it all. And it is a real word. I looked it up and everything.
– Marc Morehouse
B-plus — Some things don’t have to be beautiful to feel beautiful.
– Mike Hlas
B — Iowa never has to play Kain Colter again. Ever.
– Scott Dochterman
BY THE NUMBERS
2 — Penalties committed by Iowa, losing just 10 yards
6 — Sacks by Iowa’s defense, the most since 2008 against Florida International
19 — First downs by each team
75 — Games played in the Iowa-Northwestern series. The teams have met annually since 2005 and Iowa owns a 48-24-3 all-time advantage.
108 — Consecutive extra-points converted by Iowa kicker Mike Meyer
JUST FOR KICKS
In a confusing late-game situation, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz eschewed a 53-yard field goal into a brisk wind to go for a first down on fourth-and-11 from the 35. Quarterback Jake Rudock’s pass was intercepted by Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo with seven seconds left.
“We wanted to get at least inside the 25,” Ferentz said. “The 20 would have been better, but the situation we ended up in, we just figured let the clock go down, try to convert and if we did, we had two timeouts and get the field goal then.”
Kicker Mike Meyer, who missed an earlier 42-yarder wide left, was ready if Ferentz called.
“If I hit good, it could possibly be that far,” Meyer said. “Redemption would have been good, but we went with it and we won the game in the end.”
Meyer has moved into No. 2 all-time at Iowa in field goals and points. He scored five points to total 291, one more than Rob Houghtlin. His 38-yard first-quarter field goal was his 55th to pass Houghtlin in that category.
Meyer now is 12 field goals shy of tying Kaeding. He’s 82 points away from tying Kaeding’s career scoring record.
“I really haven’t given much thought to it,” Meyer said. “I think there’s time for that after the season.”
Iowa true freshman cornerback Desmond King barely showed up in the box score, but his impact was felt way beyond it.
King had two tackles, but he was crucial to preserving Iowa’s win. With Northwestern inside Iowa territory and less than 4 minutes remaining, King pounced on a fumble to give the Hawkeyes the ball at midfield.
In overtime, King broke up a third-down pass intended for Northwestern’s Stephen Buckley that would have resulted in a first down.
“He stepped up today, deflected a pass, knocked it down,” Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis said. “That’s what we expect from him. That’s why he’s starting. Coach (Phil) Parker demands a lot from his DBs. He’s really on them.”
Iowa now is one win from gaining bowl eligibility for the first time in two seasons. Two scouts from the Outback Bowl were in attendance, and the Hawkeyes already have exceed their 2012 win total.
“Bowl game is part of the conversation at the beginning of the year,” Morris said. “We want to go to a bowl game. Is that what we talked about this week, or is that what we talked about at all this season? No, nobody has said those words in our building. It’s about winning.”
In each of Iowa’s last four home games against Northwestern, the Wildcats have rallied from double-digit deficits to either win or tie the game. In 2008, Iowa led 17-3 in the first half only to lose 22-17. In 2009, Iowa led 10-0 before losing 17-10. Two years ago, Northwestern rallied from a 17-0 deficit to tie the game 17-17, but the Hawkeyes pulled out a 41-31 win.
Saturday, Iowa led 10-0 at halftime before Northwestern rallied to tie the game and send it into overtime.
“I’ll never play them again,” Morris said. “I’m 2-2 against Northwestern, and one of the wins I didn’t even play.
“They are a team that we’ve struggled with in the past. So I’d say it feels extra good.”
Iowa’s one-two running back tandem of Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman combined for 108 yards on 30 carries. Bullock finished with 17 rushing attempts
Weisman, who injured his foot three weeks ago against Michigan State, said he’s healthy. He rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries. He also caught two passes for 20 yards.
“I’m good to go,” he said.
Iowa tackles long-time rival Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The teams are tied 42-42-2 but have not played since 2010 when the Badgers pulled out a 31-30 victory.