Oct. 22, 2012
Northwestern (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten)
Saturday, Oct. 27 11 a.m. CT
Ryan Field (47,130) Evanston, Ill.
TV: ESPN2 (Crew: Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway, Lewis Johnson)
Radio: 720 WGN (Chicagoland) (Dave Eanet, Ted Albrecht, Sam Valenzisi) and WNUR (89.3 FM)
Online Video: WatchESPN
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE | Gametracker
Northwestern vs. Iowa -- Weekly Release | 2012 Northwestern Football Yearbook
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With Northwestern University staging its annual Homecoming festivities, the Wildcats renew acquaintances with one of their most familiar Big Ten rivals, hosting Iowa Saturday at Ryan Field (11 a.m. CT, ESPN2).
The Wildcats have won five of the last seven meetings against Iowa, and they've done it with a flair for the dramatic. Four of those seven games have been decided by seven points or fewer, including Northwestern's come-from-behind victory in 2010 in which the 'Cats trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Turnovers have played a key role in Northwestern's ability to claim five of the last seven meetings with the Hawkeyes, with the Wildcats posting a +6 turnover margin in their last five wins over Iowa. NU has consistently created extra possessions, entering today's game with a (+8) turnover margin on the year -- tied with Penn State for best in the Big Ten -- and is third in the country with 12 fumble recoveries. NU has forced at least one turnover in its last 22 games, a streak that began with the 2011 TicketCity Bowl vs. Texas Tech. In fact, the Wildcats have at least one interception or fumble recovery in 44 of their last 47 games.
Dynamic RB Venric Mark enters today's game needing 90 yards to record the 15th 1,000-yard rushing season in Northwestern history and the first since Tyrell Sutton netted exactly 1,000 in 2006. Mark, who is tied with Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Wisconsin's Montee Ball for most 100-yard rushing games by a Big Ten player this year (5), has moved into 10th all-time at Northwestern with 3,387 career all-purpose yards. Last week against Nebraska, Mark broke off a career-long 80-yard touchdown run, tied for the eighth-longest run from scrimmage in school history. Mark now is one of six players in FBS football with six or more rushing plays of 30-plus yards this season.
Once again this season, Northwestern ranks among the Big Ten leaders in offensive plays run per game. The Wildcats are third in that category with 74.6 snaps per contest, behind only Penn State (79.0) and Indiana (78.4). NU ran 100 plays in its win over Boston College, the most for the 'Cats since racking up 115 in the 2010 Outback Bowl vs. Auburn.
After today's game, Northwestern will enjoy a week away from competition before settling in for its final three Big Ten games, traveling to face Michigan and Michigan State and closing the regular season Nov. 24 at home against Illinois. The Wildcats own a record of 13-8 in the month of November since Pat Fitzgerald became head coach, including a 7-4 mark since 2009.
True freshman SB Dan Vitale's 10-yard scoring catch in the first quarter against Nebraska marked his first career touchdown and his longest reception. Vitale, who has six starts this year, now has five catches in his last two outings.
Right Place, Right Time
Timing has been everything for Northwestern redshirt freshman CB Nick VanHoose in his last two games. Against Nebraska, VanHoose recovered two fumbles on muffed punts by the Huskers -- something he also did at Penn State on Oct. 6 -- to become the first NU player with two fumble recoveries in a game since Tyler Scott vs. Illinois on Oct. 4, 2011.
The week prior at Minnesota, VanHoose showed off his good timing in a different way when he collected a trio of key pass breakups on passes into the end zone, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors in the process. The last of the three came with the Gophers in search of a game-tying touchdown and under three minutes remaining when VanHoose deflected away a would-be TD pass on third-and-goal from the 6-yard line.
Series Record: Iowa leads, 47-23-3
Series In Evanston: Iowa leads, 23-15-3
Last Meeting: Oct. 15, 2011 in Iowa City (Iowa 41, Northwestern 31)
Download the complete Northwestern weekly release in the PDF linked at the top of the page.
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