Northwestern Pulls 17-10 Upset Win Over No. 8 Iowa
Nov. 7, 2009
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -No. 8 Iowa finally ran out of time.
Dan Persa threw a touchdown pass and Marshall Thomas recovered a fumble for another score, and Northwestern snapped the Hawkeyes' 13-game winning streak with a 17-10 victory Saturday.
It was the first win over a top-10 opponent for the Wildcats (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) since knocking off then-No. 6 Ohio State 33-27 in overtime in 2004. It also ended the nation's second-longest winning streak.
Iowa played without starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi after he sustained an apparent ankle injury early in the second quarter. Freshman James Vandenberg was just 9 of 27 for 82 yards and couldn't lead the Hawkeyes (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) to any points after Stanzi left the game.
Northwestern scored twice off turnovers in the second quarter. Thomas recovered a fumble in the end zone after the hit that knocked Stanzi out of the game, and Drake Dunsmore caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Persa after another Iowa miscue.
Brandon Wegher had 63 yards rushing for Iowa, whose national title hopes are all but over. The Hawkeyes can still win at least a share of the Big Ten title with victories over Ohio State and Minnesota in their final two games.
That might be tough to do, though, if Stanzi can't play. Though he can be inconsistent at times, the Hawkeyes had won 17 of the 20 games he had started before Saturday's loss.
Stanzi was 4 of 9 for 134 yards with a touchdown, an interception and that costly fumble in his own end zone before leaving the game.
Vandenberg, a native of Keokuk, Iowa, who holds the state high school record for career touchdown passes, had thrown just three passes entering the game. His inexperience showed, and after the Hawkeyes won four games by three points or fewer this season, they finally ran out of magic just a week before playing the Buckeyes.
Vandenberg drove the Hawkeyes into Northwestern territory on Iowa's first possession of the second half, but Daniel Murray missed a 46-yard field goal try.
Iowa's defense kept the Wildcats off the board in the third, but Northwestern's Stefan Demos hit a 47-yard field goal with 13:29 left. The Hawkeyes had a chance to tie the game after taking over with 2 minutes left on their own 17, but an incomplete pass on fourth down sent the Northwestern bench erupting in celebration.
Stanzi watched from the sideline in a warmup suit with crutches. He was taken to the locker room after being drilled in the end zone by Corey Wootton, and Thomas's recovery brought Northwestern within 10-7 with 11:46 to go in the second quarter.
Vandenberg's first pass was intercepted by Quentin Davie, and Northwestern took advantage. Persa's TD pass to Dunsmore gave the Wildcats their first lead, 14-10.
Before the injury to Stanzi, it looked like the Hawkeyes might finally have an easy game. They needed just three plays for Stanzi to find McNutt for a 74-yard touchdown catch to make it 7-0, and Murray's 39-yard field goal pushed the lead to 10 midway through the first quarter.
But a week after committing six turnovers in a win over Indiana, Iowa turned it over four times in the second quarter alone against the Wildcats. Northwestern took its 14-10 lead despite gaining just 109 yards of offense in the first half.
The Hawkeyes honored former coach Forest Evashevski, who passed away last week at the age of 91, with a helmet decal and highlights on the scoreboard. Evashevski coached at Iowa from 1952-60, leading the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten titles and two wins in the Rose Bowl.
A trip to Pasadena - for the Rose Bowl, not the BCS title game - may be the best Iowa can hope for after getting knocked off by Northwestern.