Oct. 26, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern clawed back from a double-digit deficit Saturday at Big Ten Legends Division foe Iowa to force overtime, but came out on the short end of a 17-10 (OT) decision.
Northwestern's defensive unit recorded a stellar effort on the day, allowing a touchdown on the opening series of the game before settling in to surrender only a field goal over the final 54:22 of regulation. It marked the second straight game in which NU permitted only one offensive touchdown through four quarters of play. The 'Cats also held the Hawkeyes offense more than 100 yards below its season average of 410.9 yards per game.
Junior LB Chi Chi Ariguzo paced NU with a career-high 14 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and an interception.
On the opening series of the game, Iowa converted on both a third-and-short and fourth-and-short with QB sneaks by Jake Rudock to keep alive what turned into a 14-play touchdown drive, with Damon Bullock rushing three yards for the score.
Offensively, senior QB Kain Colter returned from a game missed to injury and took all but seven snaps under center for the 'Cats, completing an efficient 11-of-14 passes for 104 yards while rushing for 60. In doing so, Colter surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career both rushing (2,014) and passing (2,083), becoming the ninth QB in Big Ten history to accomplish that feat.
In the backfield, redshirt freshman Stephen Buckley enjoyed a second straight career game, rushing 17 times and falling only one yard shy of his first career 100-yard performance (5.8 yards per attempt). Sophomore Dan Vitale, playing on his 20th birthday, led NU with four catches for 52 yards and Northwestern's lone touchdown on the afternoon.
After a Northwestern three-and-out on the first series of the game, the NU defense pitched in with a big stop aided by a Tyler Scott pass breakup on first down and a Damien Proby tackle for no gain on a third-and-3 rushing attempt by the Hawkeyes.
The ensuing Iowa punt pinned the Wildcats at their own 1-yard line, but veteran Mike Trumpy, who made his sixth career start at running back, calmly moved the chains with back-to-back 5-yard rushes to give NU breathing room. After another first down, the Northwestern drive stalled on the first series of the second quarter when a third-down pass by Colter was broken up by cornerback B.J. Lowery.
Iowa added three points on a 38-yard Mike Meyer field goal, but the 'Cats put together a quality drive in response. NU moved the ball 45 yards on nine plays -- including an 18-yard end-around rush by Dan Vitale -- but would stall out at the 34-yard line of Iowa on a fumble by Trumpy, recovered by the Hawkeyes.
The Northwestern 'D' responded to the sudden change by forcing Iowa into a three-and-out, but the 'Cats were forced to punt with 28 seconds left in the second half to enter halftime trailing by 10.
After the teams traded punts to begin the third quarter, Northwestern put together its best drive of the game to get on the scoreboard. A 31-yard pass from Colter to Vitale followed by a 13-yard Colter rush moved Northwestern to the 34-yard line of Iowa, and an 18-yard pass to Rashad Lawrence advanced the 'Cats into the red zone. On second-and-8 from the 10, Colter sold a play-fake to Trumpy and found Vitale all alone in the end zone for a touchdown with 4:44 to play in the third.
The Wildcats then forced the Hawkeyes offense off the field thanks to a tremendous effort on third down by Chi Chi Ariguzo, who brought down Rudock for a loss of two yards.
NU then moved the ball to midfield where it began the fourth quarter with a fresh set of downs. In an effort to keep the chains moving, Colter scrambled to the sideline on third down but took a hit to his lower body as he fell across the first down marker. Trevor Siemian entered the game but kept the ball moving with runs by Buckley and Trumpy.
The Hawkeyes notched a third-down stop on the 10-yard line to prompt Northwestern's field goal unit to enter the game. Jeff Budzien knocked through a 29-yard attempt with ease, leveling the game at 10 apiece with 9:09 to play.
Iowa then drove into field goal territory before a 44-yarder sailed wide left in a swirling wind. Northwestern was able to cross midfield, but a fumbled option pitch gave the ball back to the Hawkeyes. On fourth-and-15 with 15 seconds left in the game, Iowa opted to attempt to keep its drive alive rather than kick a lengthy game-winning field goal try, but Ariguzo stepped up and recorded his third interception of the season to send the game into overtime.
Iowa (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) scored a touchdown on its opening possession of the extra period, finding the end zone with an 8-yard pass by Rudock despite a hellacious Northwestern blitz. NU then was unable to achieve a first down on its offensive series, with Colter coming up short of the sticks on a fourth-down scramble.
Next week, Northwestern (4-4, 0-4 Big Ten) remains on the road when it heads to Nebraska (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) for a 2:30 p.m. tilt on Saturday, Nov. 2. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network.
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