Nov. 15, 1997
Brian Musso leads the Wildcats to victory with two touchdown catches. (file photo)
Wildcats Close Season in Victory
CHICAGO--Brian Musso caught seven passes for 109 yards and a pair of
touchdowns, including the go-ahead score early in the third
quarter, as Northwestern held on for a 15-14 Big Ten Conference
victory over 22nd-ranked Iowa.
After back-to-back Big Ten titles, the Wildcats (5-7, 3-5 Big
Ten) merely were spoilers and may have done just that with their
third straight win over the Hawkeyes. Iowa (6-4, 3-4) absorbed
its fourth loss in six games and may have squandered any chance
for an appearance in a major bowl.
Musso had touchdown catches of 31 and 40 yards from Tim Hughes,
who replaced the injured Chris Hamdorf in the second quarter.
His second score came with 10:14 remaining in the third quarter
and gave Northwestern the lead for the first time.
Tavian Banks had 30 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns for
Iowa, which again was without injured quarterback Matt Sherman.
The dangerous Tim Dwight was limited to 32 yards on two catches
and was limited to one punt return for 13 yards as Northwestern
repeatedly kicked away from him.
Amid swirling snow, the Wildcats took the lead when Hughes threw
into the left flat for Musso, who eluded three converging
defenders as he caught the ball and pranced untouched into the
From that point, Northwestern managed just one first down, but
it came on its final possession and helped run out the clock.
The defense was strong down the stretch, and Iowa did not help
itself by missing two field goals, throwing an interception and
failing on a 4th-and-3 from the Wildcats 27 within its last six
The Wildcats were 0-for-4 on field goals. Chad Johnson missed a
50-yarder and Zach Bromert a 43-yarder in the second quarter.
Bromert missed a 33-yarder in the third quarter and Johnson was
way short and right on a 47-yard attempot with 2:57 to play.
Hughes was 9-of-18 for 131 yards after coming on for Hamdorf,
who sprained a knee. Adrian Autry added 67 yards on 25 carries
to eclipse 1,000 yards for the Wildcats, who moved to 17-41-3 in
the all-time series. Northwestern had lost 21 in a row before
its current three-game series streak, its first since 1965-67.
Banks raced 46 yards for a score to give Iowa the lead less than
six minutes into the contest. Hughes countered with a 31-yard
TD pass to Musso that tied it with 11:42 to play in the second
But Banks gave the lead back to the Hawkeyes with a one-yard TD
run with 1:41 left in the first half. It was his 19th score of
the season and 17th on the ground, both school records.
Northwestern closed to 14-9 early in the third quarter. Iowa
punter Jason Baker lined up in his own end zone, but long
snapper Ryan McCormick whipped the ball past him for a safety.
Musso's second score came on the ensuing possession.
Randy Reiners was 4-of-10 for just 71 yards and an interception
as he lost for the first time in three games as a starter.
Sherman has an injured right hand.