Rapid Recap: No. 22 Iowa 17, Northwestern 12


Gabe Bider/The Daily Northwestern

Stephon Robinson Jr. runs down the sideline. The graduate wide receiver reeled in five catches in a 17-12 loss to No. 22 Iowa.

Gabriela Carroll, Senior Staffer


Northwestern kept it close, but in a close Big Ten battle, the Wildcats (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) came up just short in a 17-12 loss against No. 22 Iowa (7-2, 4-2).

Northwestern made its third quarterback decision of the season and it was Andrew Marty. After sophomore Ryan Hilinski started the past five games, Marty took the field for the beginning of Saturday’s game.

But, like the other two quarterbacks to lead NU this season, Marty struggled. He threw an interception in the second quarter and the Cats scored just three points after failing to generate significant momentum in the passing game.

Meanwhile, Iowa — who’s struggled offensively as of late — also faced a quarterback decision, benching the struggling Spencer Petras for Alex Padilla.

Neither team’s offense excelled, but Padilla threw for 172 yards and Iowa’s running backs rushed for two touchdowns in the first half.

NU’s offense struggled all year, no matter who was in the quarterback position, and some of the issues continued on Saturday. Even after recovering a fumble on the Hawkeyes’ nine-yard line, the Cats only managed to kick a field goal, bringing them into the half down 14-3.

The game stayed a one score contest for most of the matchup, but as the Cats drove into the red zone early in the fourth quarter to try to tie it up, Marty threw his second interception of the game in the end zone. He eventually found running back Evan Hull for a 31-yard touchdown to pull Northwestern within five. The Cats attempted a two point conversion to make it a three-point game, but failed to convert.

After an Iowa three-and-out, NU got the ball with just under two minutes remaining. However, Marty threw his third interception of the game to clinch the win for the Hawkeyes.


1. Is Andrew Marty the answer, or do the problems go deeper?

NU fans were excited to see Marty get his first start after solid performances at Duke and against Minnesota. But even Marty couldn’t save the struggling Cats offense. Despite completing 25 of 44 passes, Marty threw just one touchdown pass in the game and the Cats failed to score a touchdown as a whole until late in the fourth quarter, while Marty threw three interceptions.

Both Hilinski and senior quarterback Hunter Johnson both have struggled in games this season. Were Marty’s strong performances a sign that teams didn’t anticipate what he would do?

Iowa is a tough defensive opponent, forcing 16 interceptions this year and allowing just eight passing touchdowns. This contributed to NU’s offensive performance.

2. The defense has its best game of the season.

NU’s defense has struggled throughout the season, from rushing to allowing big plays. The Cats struggles stopping the rush are well-documented, but against Iowa, NU locked in and played one of its best games. After allowing 259 yards in the first half, the Cats allowed just 55 in the third quarter, and 363 in the game as a whole.

3. Charlie Kuhbander makes both his field goals.

Senior kicker Charlie Kuhbander was 4-of-9 coming into Saturday night’s matchup and had made only one field goal from over 30 yards out, a 47-yarder against Indiana State on Sept. 11. While Kuhbander made kicks from just 22 and 30 yards against Iowa, it’s a sign of improvement since he’s failed to make a field goal since Sept. 25 against Ohio.

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