Wildcats run through Hawkeyes

By Nader Ihmoud

The Northwestern University Wildcats executed their game plan and this time held on to the lead in the fourth quarter to improve to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play.

The Wildcats 28-17 victory against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes was driven behind their running game and their great defensive play on Oct. 27 at Ryan Field.

“We had a difficult time trying to stop [the Wildcats’ ground game] and the score shows that,” said Hawkeyes defensive linemen Louis Trinca-Passat, following the loss.

On the first drive of the game, Northwestern drove the ball down the field, strictly using the rushing attack. Eleven plays and 75 yards after the kick-off, Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns. Colter, who played a part in every scoring play, also threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Christain Jones in the third quarter.

“Every time [Colter] touches the football he’s got a chance to make a big play happen,” Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

Running back Venric Mark and Colter combined for 328 yards on the ground. Mark exceeded 1,000 yards rushing for the season. He is the first Wildcat’s running back to do so since Tyrell Sutton did it in 2006.

“I’m excited but I’m not overly excited,” Mark said. “We still have more games to play but I have to give credit to the offensive line.

The offensive line allowed the Wildcats to execute their running game, leading to a better conversion rate on third down. They converted eight first downs when faced with third downs.

Northwestern’s passing attack took a back seat in the team’s victory. The Wildcats only passed the ball 10 times for 84 yards compared to 349 yards on 49 rushing attempts.

With a comfortable lead throughout the game the Wildcats didn’t need to pass the ball, thanks in part to their stellar defense that held the Hawkeyes to three points in the first half, and did not allow a touchdown until less than a minute remained in the third quarter.

Northwestern’s defense had three sacks and four tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Wildcats’ defense was led by senior outside linebacker David Nwabuisi, who had a game and career-high 18 tackles.

“David [Nwabuisi] is one of our senior leaders that is just playing the best football of his life,” Fitzgerald said.

The Wildcats enter their bye week in better position to contend for a Big Ten title than the previous week, when they blew a late lead against the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.

“We put ourselves in position now to be in the postseason and to put ourselves in position to have a significant November,” Fitzgerald said.

Following their bye week, the Wildcats travel to University of Michigan to take on the Wolverines on Nov. 10.

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