Nov. 13, 2010
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Northwestern 21, No. 13 Iowa 17
Site: Ryan Field - Evanston, Ill.
Records: Northwestern (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten), Iowa (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Up Next: vs. Illinois (Wrigley Field) -- Saturday, Nov. 20 -- 2:30 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Trailing by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, Northwestern put together a pair of long scoring drives, including the game-winning touchdown pass from Dan Persa to Demetrius Fields with 1:22 remaining, to upset 13th-ranked Iowa 21-17 on Senior Day at Ryan Field. The Wildcats have now won five of the last six meetings against the Hawkeyes.
Persa completed 32 of his 43 passing attempts to eight different receivers for 318 yards and the pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, complemented by 50 yards rushing on 18 attempts with another score. Drake Dunsmore hauled in eight catches for 65 yards while Jeremy Ebert added six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Mike Trumpy finished with 51 yards on 15 carries while adding five catches for 55 yards, finishing with 106 yards of total offense on the afternoon. Northwestern and Iowa both finished with 101 rushing yards on the day, but the Wildcats held the advantage in passing yards, 318-270.
Persa's two-yard touchdown scamper capped an 11-play, 62-yard drive that covered nearly five and a half minutes in the opening quarter. On the drive, Persa completed all three of his pass attempts for 35 yards while also picking up 23 yards on the ground, including an 11-yard scramble on third and seven to get inside the 10-yard line.
Northwestern had a chance to extend the lead to 10 in the second quarter, but Stefan Demos' 40-yard attempt into the wind sailed wide right. Iowa was able to get on the board right before the half, converting a 32-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining to trim the Northwestern lead to 7-3.
Iowa took the lead early in the third quarter as Ricky Stanzi found Marvin McNutt in the corner of the endzone from five yards out, putting the Hawkeyes on top 10-7. After the ensuing Wildcat drive stalled, Iowa responded in a big way as Stanzi connected with Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for a 70-yard touchdown catch and run to give Iowa the 17-7 advantage after three quarters of play.
Northwestern found life in the fourth quarter after Brian Peters intercepted Stanzi inside the redzone, giving the Wildcats the ball at their own 15-yard line. Persa then led Northwestern down the field, putting together a 13-play, 85-yard drive capped by a six-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert in the corner of the endzone, cutting the deficit to three at 17-14 with 6:21 remaining.
Pinned back at its own nine-yard line with just over four minutes to play, Persa once again led a Wildcat drive downfield, covering 91 yards in 11 plays and connecting with Fields for the 20-yard touchdown pass with 82 seconds remaining to give Northwestern the lead 21-17.
Iowa put together one final drive to try and pull out the victory, moving into Northwestern territory to the 39-yard line. But a key sack by Vince Browne on third down forced the Hawkeyes into a fourth and 16 on the 45 as Stanzi's heave into the endzone fell incomplete to seal the Wildcat victory.
Defensively, Peters paced Northwestern with 10 tackles, the interception and a pair of pass breakups. David Arnold added seven tackles and a pair of breakups as well with Bryce McNaul adding six tackles. Browne and Nate Williams each recorded a sack of Stanzi on the afternoon for the Wildcats.
While Saturday marked the final game at Ryan Field for Northwestern this season, it was not the Wildcats' final home game as next weekend NU will face in-state rival Illinois in the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic at Wrigley Field on Saturday, November 20.