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    Northwestern Comeback Thwarted at Iowa, 41-31

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Senior Jeremy Ebert set a career-high for receptions Saturday night at Iowa.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Senior Jeremy Ebert set a career-high for receptions Saturday night at Iowa.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Oct. 15, 2011

    Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery  | Quotes | Final Statistics Book

    Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Kinnick Stadium)
    Score: Iowa 41, Northwestern 31
    Records: NU (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten), Iowa (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten)
    Next NU Event: Saturday, Oct. 22 vs. Penn State • Ryan Field • Evanston • 6 p.m. CT • BTN
    Tickets: Call 1-888-GO-PURPLE

    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern bounced back from an early 17-0 deficit in a Big Ten road test at Iowa, tying the score in the third quarter before ultimately dropping a 41-31 outcome to the Hawkeyes Saturday night in Iowa City. Senior receiver Jeremy Ebert set a career best with 13 receptions on the evening, compiling 107 receiving yards with one touchdown.

    Northwestern moved the ball well all night, picking up 29 first downs compared to 17 by Iowa and converting 16-of-22 third-down tries. NU had season highs for yards (495), first downs (29) and passing yards (342).

    An Iowa field goal to open the game was followed by consecutive punts, but Northwestern's offense looked strong on its next series. The Wildcats marched to the 8-yard line thanks in part to a magnificent diving catch by Kain Colter on a 32-yard pass, but on first-and-goal, a Persa offering under pressure was intercepted and returned 98 yards for a touchdown by Iowa's Tanner Miller, setting the score at 10-0.

    The 'Cats went right back to work, however, moving into the red zone once again when Colter broke free for a 37-yard rush, the longest run on the season by a Wildcat. After the first-quarter break switched NU to the opposite end of the field, an Iowa sack put an end to the drive and forced a Wildcats' punt.

    Northwestern returned the favor by stopping Iowa on third down for the third straight time to start the game, but was forced to punt once again. A three-play Iowa scoring drive on the next possession culminated in a 47-yard pitch-and-catch from James Vandenberg to Keenan Davis, giving the hosts a 17-0 lead midway through the second period.

    The Wildcats went to the ground game on their next possession, with Adonis Smith picking up two first downs and leading NU into the red zone. Following an 11-yard Colter rush to set up first-and-goal, Persa found Ebert cutting down the seam for a six-yard touchdown completion. It was the 12th time over the last two years that Persa-to-Ebert equated to a Northwestern touchdown.

    Junior cornerback Demetrius Dugar, who made his second-career start in the game, gave NU a chance to get even closer with a diving interception across the middle, the first of his career. But the Iowa defense held, sending the game to halftime with the hosts ahead, 17-7.

    Northwestern wasted no time narrowing its deficit after halftime, continuing its success on third-down conversions and sustaining a drive that took them down to first-and-goal on the 4-yard line. Colter pitched to Smith on the option for a touchdown and suddenly the Wildcats trailed by just three, 17-14, with over nine minutes to go in the third.

    The 'Cats forced a three-and-out and pieced together another stellar drive, this time a nine-play series that resulted in a career-long 47-yard field goal by Jeff Budzien, knotting the score at 17 apiece.

    Iowa retook a seven-point lead on its next drive, which was capped by a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by Marcus Coker.

    With the help of two more third-down pickups, Northwestern made its way into enemy territory again before seeing its drive stall at the Iowa 30-yard line. Budzien came on looking for a repeat of his 47-yard field goal, but his attempt sailed just inches wide right, giving the ball back to Iowa with 9:49 left.

    Iowa's two-touchdown lead was restored when Vandenberg hit Marvin McNutt for a 35-yard scoring play, then the Hawkeyes forced a Persa fumble and added a field goal to take a 34-17 lead.

    Northwestern fought back on a quick scoring drive, pulling to within 34-24 when Colter found Drake Dunsmore for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 4:50 remaining in the game, but Iowa recovered an onside kick and punched the ball in to put the game on ice, 41-24.

    With many deep on the depth chart now into the game, freshman Trevor Siemian hooked up with Rashad Lawrence for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 2:34 to play before Iowa recovered its second onside kick of the night to close out the contest with a 41-31 win. For Siemian and Lawrence, who both starred at Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla., it was their first collegiate scoring hookup since matriculating to Northwestern to play Big Ten football.

    Next Saturday, Northwestern returns to Ryan Field for the last of three-consecutive night games, hosting Penn State at 6 p.m. CT. Call the Northwestern ticket office at 1-888-GO-PURPLE for information on purchasing tickets for the game.

    Due to a Storify service outage, Northwestern's normal Social Media Recap for the Iowa game is unavailable.

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