Oct. 27, 2012
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Site: Evanston, Ill. (Ryan Field)
Score: Northwestern 28, Iowa 17
Records: NU (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten), Iowa (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Nov. 10 at Michigan Time TBA Ann Arbor, Mich.
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Led by a rushing attack that churned out 349 yards and a defense that kept Iowa out of the end zone until the final minute of the third quarter, Northwestern pleased its 2012 Homecoming crowd with a 28-17 victory over the Hawkeyes Saturday at Ryan Field. The win over the Hawkeyes is NU's sixth in its last eight meetings with its conference and divisional rivals.
Quarterback Kain Colter was a thorn in the side of Iowa all afternoon, rushing for a career-best 166 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing a 47-yard TD pass and finishing with 80 yards through the air.
Junior running back Venric Mark recorded a milestone on the afternoon, rushing for 162 yards to go over 1,000 ground yards for the season. It marks the 15th 1,000-yard rushing season in NU football history and the first since Tyrell Sutton ran for exactly 1,000 in 2006. It's also the second time this season that Mark and Colter each topped 100 yards in the same game, a feat that before this season had not been achieved by the 'Cats since 2003.
Defensively, Northwestern was led by a stellar effort by senior linebacker David Nwabuisi, who recorded personal-bests of 11 solo and 18 total tackles. Damien Proby also had a prolific day with 12 stops.
Northwestern marched down the field for a touchdown on its opening drive, keeping the action on the ground for all 75 yards in the series. Colter scampered for long runs of 18 and 20 yards -- both coming on third-down plays -- and Mike Trumpy broke free for 17 yards, all of which set up a 5-yard rush around the left end by Colter, his ninth rushing TD of the year.
Iowa answered with a field goal and intercepted the Wildcats two plays later, but the Northwestern defense halted the Hawkeyes' ensuing series. An Iowa punt by John Wienke pinned NU at its own 1-yard line to begin its next drive, but the Wildcats quickly broke free from the shadow of their own goal posts when Mark surged for a 72-yard run on first down, the second-longest rush of his career. Northwestern ran six more running plays to cover the final 27 yards to the end zone, including Colter's 2-yard scoring touchdown run.
Northwestern turned away the Hawkeyes on the next series as well, putting Iowa behind the chains with an 8-yard pass sack by Brian Arnfelt before senior cornerback Demetrius Dugar recorded a key pass breakup on a third-and-11 play defending Iowa's Keenan Davis.
With Iowa looking to get in the end zone before halftime, junior Tyler Scott notched a big third-down sack and a James Vandenberg pass fell incomplete on Iowa's fourth-and-11 attempt, sending NU into the locker ahead for the eighth time in nine games this season.
Iowa's offense took the field to open the second half but was sent off after a TFL by Brian Arnfelt and a third-down sack by Deonte Gibson. On the ensuing punt attempt by the Hawkeyes, senior Tyris Jones broke through the protection and easily blocked the kick, setting the Wildcats up at the Hawkeye 4-yard line. Colter ran in his third TD of the game on first down, giving Northwestern a 21-3 advantage early in the third.
The Wildcats kept rolling on their next series, taking a shot down the field and connecting when Colter hit sophomore Christian Jones streaking toward the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown strike to make it 28-3 Wildcats.
Later in the period, Iowa snuffed out a Northwestern fourth-down attempt near midfield to take over on downs. The Hawkeyes did their damage on the ground on their way to a 12-play, 59-yard drive that culminated with Vandenberg plunging into the end zone from 1-yard out to cut NU's lead to 28-10.
Northwestern looked poised to extend its advantage early in the fourth as it had first and goal at the Iowa 3 before a high snap went over the head of Colter and was recovered by Micah Hyde with 9:20 remaining in the contest.
The Hawkeyes would drive 84 yards, capped by a one-yard rush by Vandenberg, as the visitors closed to within 11 with 6:37 left. Following a three-and-out by the Wildcats, Iowa got the ball to the Northwestern 24 with just under two minutes remaining. However, the defense stiffened and held to seal the win, giving NU its sixth win over the Hawkeyes in the last eight meetings.
Northwestern will be off from action next weekend before returning to play Nov. 10 at Michigan. Game time and television designation are still to be determined.
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