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Northwestern Wildcats 14, Iowa Hawkeyes 10: THREE-PEAT

What is there to even say here?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Just as a reminder, I write all of this in real time and I don’t edit before posting because editing is for Monday’s. Be nice.

Remember when Wisconsin was a threat for the playoff and our biggest rival for the Big Ten West? Remember when we just needed them to lose two of three games against Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State while we win out? Those were the times. Those were the timessssss.

Instead, I’m writing this as Northwestern is a win and a Purdue loss away from locking up the Big Ten West with two weeks left in the season. Makes me sick.

Anyways, it’s freezing cold in Philadelphia and, from the looks of it, Iowa City. There’s a half-assed blackout on my screen (can’t blame anyone for not going and sitting through three hours of 27-degree weather at this point) and our beloved Iowa Hawkeyes are battling for... the Outback Bowl? Let’s get weird.

After a nice return to the 47 from ISM — who has become a damn good weapon in the return game — Iowa picks up where they left off last week and punt the football after a quick three-and-out. Northwestern moved the ball enough on their first drive to flip the field, but Iowa’s defensive line (in particular, Parker Hesse) did enough to halt their efforts and force the punt. Pinned deep, Nate Stanley held onto the ball way too long on second down and fell victim to another coverage sack. It would turn out to be nothing but a ruse though as Stanley wanted to show off his cannon to T.J. Hockenson for the long third down conversion. Iowa would eventually sputter on Northwestern’s 34-yard line, go for it despite it being fourth-and-five and come up a yard short after a Stanley scramble.

Maybe I should just turn on Bedlam.

Yada, yada, yada, A.J. Epenesa just made a left tackle his you know what on third and long and Northwestern punts the ball away.

Bedlam is 14-14 BTW and I’m watching this. At least this was cool:


Iowa punts again (and boy was it horrid). The offense looks like it’s stuck in quick sand. Fun, fun, fun... on to the second quarter.

0-0, everybody wave!

Care to guess how the Wildcats faired in their ensuing drive?

What is, “Three-and-out”, Jerry? Correct!

Care to guess how Iowa faired in a drive that had this happen?

Another punt.

You can feel Brady Quinn’s boredom through the television.

With a little over seven minutes left in the first half, Iowa and Northwestern have punted seven times. Maybe Iowa can get something going here? Put Northwestern in a stranglehold even?

And we just had our eighth punt and one of the announcers just said we’re putting the “foot in football”. That’s where we are in this game.

We still somehow have nearly three minutes in this half and Northwestern punts for the ninth total time. Iowa takes over on their own 46-yard line with two time outs and a very warm punter that will probably kick one more time before going into the locker room.

Welp, it wasn’t a punt... but it was still a kick. With a minute left, Miguel Recinos buries a 46-yard field goal for the first points of the game.

3-0 at the half, and I really don’t understand why there are fans still in Kinnick and not at Union?

Much like both of these offenses, I didn’t feel like moving very much. So I ordered in some Buffalo Wild Wings. I wonder what happens first? I finish my eight count of boneless wings and chicken wrap or either of these teams scores actual points.

On their first drive of the half, Clayton Thorson throws a pick to Geno Stone before I could even open the box. Was B-Dubs the twist of fate we all needed?

... NOPE! Iowa punts, has a great chance to down the ball inside the five and Josh Turner missed it. This is getting to be laughable. The same uninspiring play calling at the most inopportune times is once again out in full force. Oh, and to make matters worse, Nate Stanley was limping after he scrambled for six meaningless yards:

A few plays later, Iowa gives Northwestern their longest play of the day after a bullshit questionable pass interference call on Matt Hankins. Of course, that would lead to a 34-yard touchdown run for Isaiah Bowser.

7-3 Northwestern, and I’ll let Irrational Hawkeye take this one:

I didn’t finish my meal, for those that care at home.

On their next drive, Iowa would move the ball down the field after an amazing catch from ISM that was originally ruled incomplete but reversed after a lengthy review. Iowa looked like they could pull ahead once again here, which means, of course they absolutely did not. After stalling out on a questionable heave down the sideline to Max Cooper (who was being guarded by a fourth string QB), Recinos clanked his 38-yard attempt off the upright.

I’m about to quit. I really am. But why should I keep subjecting myself to this? I don’t want to get on my soapbox, but Iowa’s complete inability to scheme their offense to their best two players (i.e. their tight ends) is getting to be so blatantly idiotic that I’m not going to be able to soon forgive Kirk and Brian for it. For weeks, I’ve watched Iowa not throw the ball to Noah Fant. For weeks I’ve seen them neglect him until they fell behind by so much, that they had no choice. And even in those instances, they still subbed him out on integral third and fourth down plays.

I don’t understand why Iowa would ever throw a fade on Northwestern’s fourth string cornerback to Max Cooper in a hundred, thousand, million years. And I never, ever will. Throw it to a speedster like ISM at least. Or, you know, your best jump ball guy.

I just can’t believe that Fant has one catch with six minutes left in the third quarter. ONE. AGAINST NORTHWESTERN. How is that even possible?

Alright, rant over because (Good) Jake Gervase just picked off Thorson in Northwestern territory. Need points here.

And just like that, they send ISM after one of those same corners and Stanley finds him wide open in the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown.

10-7 Hawkeyes. Yes, my point still stands.

To start the fourth quarter, Northwestern has a critical fourth-and-one from Iowa’s 30-yard line... and they get it. The Wildcat’s longest offensive drive continues... until it doesn’t. After a costly holding penalty against Maui, Northwestern is forced to kick a 38-yard field goal that falls way, way, way short.

10-7, Iowa is still clinging.

After settling into another third and long situation, Iowa decided to run a four yard out instead of testing a defense that is missing four different dudes. Three plays. Five yards. Punt. COOOL!

Unlike Iowa and the Ferentz Familia, Pat Fitzgerald doesn’t mind taking shots against corners that deserve to be tested. And he was rewarded with a fantastic catch by Northwestern’s Ben Skowronek for 32-yards and a touchdown.

How anyone would ever want to let a good receiver make a play on a ball in the end zone, I’ll never fully understand. Four plays, 46-yards and another score.

14-10, Wildcats. Don’t forget... Iowa was a 10-point favorite.

How does Iowa answer? Yet another three-and-out and eventual punt. Remember when we thought Nate Stanley could jump to the NFL a season early too?

After a punt from Northwestern the Hawkeyes take back over and almost immediately fumble the football right back to them.

I’m not much of a statistician, but I don’t believe Iowa has looked at either tight end for the entire second half. Not once. That’s like the Luke Walton giving into LaVar Ball and allowing Lonzo and Rondo to ignore LeBron.


And somehow, Iowa has an opportunity for a two-minute drill to still win this game. They’ll have to go 90-yards, but hey, anything is possible right?

First play, horizontal pass for no gain. Second pass, a first down catch for Hockenson. Third play, two yard gain on a short pass. Fourth play, hits Hock for another first down. Fifth play, FUMBLE by Ivory Kelly Martin on an effing run play.

YOU NEED 90 EFFING YARDS... you know what? It’s not even worth it.

Iowa loses their third straight game and Kirk Ferentz goes to 1-6 in one score games since 2017.

I’m going for a drive and am going to play some Christmas music. Try to have a good weekend and be nice to each other in the comments. We’re all equally frustrated with this football team.