After Northwestern had taken a 7-3 lead at halftime on a cloudy, rainy Ryan Field, Iowa’s Hawkeyes roared back early in the second half; it was reminiscent of the Wildcats’ losses to Michigan State and Penn State. Northwestern had early leads in both those games and lost. Iowa scored twice in the third quarter on touchdown passes from Ricky Stanzi, first to Marvin McNutt and then to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. The second one of those went for 70 yards and gave Iowa a 17-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.
But the Wildcats came back and Dan Persa passed for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, first to Jeremy Ebert and then to Demetrius Fields, the latter coming with only 1:29 remaining in the game. The Wildcats then held Iowa, who made one fourth-down conversion but failed on the second one, to win the game 21-17.
Persa finished with 31 completions in 42 attempts for 302 yards, the two TDs and one interception. Iowa’s Stanzi had 23 completions in 43 attempts for 268 yards. He matched Persa with a pair of TD passes and one interception.
Northwestern improves to 7-3 and 3-3 in the Big Ten going into next Saturday’s Wrigleyville Classic at Wrigley Field against Illinois. No. 13 Iowa drops to 7-3 and at 4-2 in the Big Ten, is probably out of Big Ten title competition.