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#FlashbackFriday: Northwestern

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AKA The Akrum Wadley Show

NCAA Football: Iowa at Northwestern Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

As you probably noticed (but probably not, don’t lie), we skipped #Flashback last week because, well, Iowa had never played Rutgers before so there wasn’t a whole lot to flash back to. And quite frankly, we needed a break after that heartbreaker embarrassment against NDSU. So can Northwestern be the cure for the Hawkeyes’ recent ills? Recent history and Northwestern’s own fans would strongly suggest ‘yes.’ For our sake, let’s hope that this year’s Homecoming contest turns into Act 3 of “Killing Purple Kittens: The Akrum Wadley Story.”

Last year, the Hawkeyes rolled into Evanston undefeated and badly depleted by injuries, including leading WR Tevaun Smith and RB LeShun Daniels. That goes without mentioning that C.J. Beathard was still nursing his groin injury that plagued him all season and Jordan Canzeri went out with a badly turned ankle in the first half. I think it’s safe to safe that no one saw the second-worst beatdown of the Hawkeyes’ season coming. What happened was a merciless mollywhopping in every facet of the game. Iowa outgained Northwestern 492-198, Akrum Wadley had 4 TD’s on 204 rushing yards en route to a 40-10 smashing of the Fightin’ Fitzgeralds. This followed a 2014 showing in which the Hawkeyes delivered a 48-7 ass kicking in a game when a little-known true freshman, also named Akrum Wadley, burst onto the scene for 108 yards and a TD.

Oh, it should also be mentioned that Northwestern was honoring the 1995 team that went to the Rose Bowl, which included Pat Fitzgerald. The Hawkeyes gave them a lot to be proud of on that day.

Iowa v Northwestern
Wildcat hunter, Akrum Wadley
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

How did Northwestern’s season go? Really well, for the most part. By the way, how in the hell did Northwestern actually beat Stanford last year? Scholars will be debating that one for awhile. Anyway, Northwestern finished the regular season at 10-2 and right behind Iowa in the West Division. It should be pointed out though that they were absolutely outmatched against Iowa and Michigan last year, so maybe they were also the beneficiary of a weak schedule (yeah, pretty much the same one as Iowa, but hey 12-0 is 12-0). They capped it off with a 45-6 humiliation in the Outback Bowl at the hands of Tennessee. So evidently, their offense was trash when they ran into good defenses.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Northwestern
Clayton Thorson
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Who played well for the Wildcats? Frankly, no one on offense was particularly stellar. On the defensive side, OLB Jaylen Prater led the team with 11 tackles, which included a sack. Also, the punter Hunter Niswander had 2 punts over 50 yards. Yeah it’s a punter, but seriously, their box score reflects basically nothing good happened that day.

Who played well for the Hawkeyes? Well, the byline of this article should tell you who did well on offense. But on defense, Josey Jewell had 6 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, which included a thunderous hit you’ll see in the video below. Oh and Desmond King had one of his million interceptions. Also noteworthy was then-4th string Derrick Mitchell had 79 yards rushing and a TD.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Northwestern Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Who is returning that gave the Hawks trouble last time? No one in particular, although the two guys I mentioned earlier are returning. But keep an eye on RB Justin Jackson. Jackson is undoubtedly who the Cats want to get going early, but his OL has really failed him early this season. Iowa held him in check last year by allowing him to gain 30 yards total. But when NW has given Iowa trouble in the past it’s because they can’t stop the read option. It’s worth noting that QB Clayton Thorson had 43 positive rushing yards last year and the year before that, Jackson had 99 yards on the Hawks. So if Thorson and Jackson can make the read option successful, the Hawkeyes will be in for a dogfight probably.

Highlights (*credit to the HawkeyeHistorian as always):

Bonus Highlights from 2014 beatdown:

Let’s go Hawks!