The year is 2020 and the hits keep on coming for these Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa raced to a 17-0 lead on Saturday afternoon, only to let Northwestern score three touchdowns in a row without a trip to the endzone themselves to drop to 0-2 on the year in a 21-20 loss. This is the first time Iowa started a conference season 0-2 since I don’t know when.
One week after a Purdue loss that featured zero Ihmir Smith-Marsette catches, the Iowa offense had itself a plan to get perhaps its most explosive player the ball early and often. ISM caught a six yard pass on the first play of the game en route to a performance where he hauled in 7 balls for 84 yards, but it wasn’t enough.
Things were going downhill fast after Iowa built up its not-so-insurmountable three score lead. Northwestern and Isaiah Bowser and whoever else the Wildcats brought out had an answer to whatever Iowa threw at them. The Hawkeyes saw its 17-point lead dissipate to 20-14 at the half, and the mood was not good in living rooms across the midwest.
Iowa went nowhere to start the second half, but absolutely stifled Northwestern on its first possession of the third quarter.
After forcing a punt, Iowa found itself on its own 45-yard line up 20-14 on what looked like what would be the most important drive of the game.
Spencer Petras made one of the two biggest mistakes his young career then and there, forcing a pass to a blanketed Shaun Beyer. Northwestern’s Brandon Joseph ran it back 16 yards to give the Cats workable field position.
Eight plays later, Northwestern waltzed into the endzone and found its first lead of the game after being in a hole. 21-20 bad guys.
After starting the game 9-11, Spencer Petras then went 7-19 tear that included a three-and-out after Northwestern’s go-ahead touchdown. He ended the day 26-50 for 216 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
The teams then went punt, punt, punt, annnnd a Peyton Ramsey interception to Jack Koerner. Hope sprung eternal.
Three plays later, Petras returned the favor to Brandon Joseph again, and the Hawkeye defense trotted onto Kinnick down by with 7 minutes left in the game.
Phil Parker’s unit did its job to force a punt and give the Iowa offense a chance to win the game with 4 ½ minutes on the clock.
A relatively lifeless drive was extended by a pass interference call on Northwestern. On 4th down with 5 yards to go from midfield, Petras forced a ball to a blanketed Sam LaPorta and Northwestern got the ball with 2 minutes to go and a one point lead.
Again, the Iowa defense bailed out its offensive counterpart and forced a three and out to give the Hawkeyes at least four downs to win the game.
An incomplete pass set up a 10-yard scramble for Petras. And then he threw the ball to a blanketed LaPorta. Again.
For the second week in a row, Iowa had a chance to put the game away, and faltered. I’m just a kid and I’m living a nightmare.
- I’m holding my comments on Spencer Petras for a later date.
- The only thing other I need to get off my chest: I just can’t say enough about Daviyon Nixon here.
All damn day he was splitting double teams, eating running lanes, and forcing Peyton Ramsey into the arms of Chauncey Golston. He was the best player on the field for Iowa, and I wish more could’ve been done to compliment and complement his game. He was trying the hardest, hitting the strongest and had the most life of anyone on this Iowa defense. He’s just a junior, and I’m not sure how much more we’ll see out of him in Black and Gold.