The Iowa football team snapped a three-game losing streak versus Northwestern in a 20-0 route, but it wasn’t the prettiest game.
Honestly, I can’t tell if I am just being an entitled Iowa football fan or not at this point, but 20-0 against a pathetically bad Northwestern team just doesn’t feel that good.
There were still mistakes from past games lingering into this contest like when Joe Gaziano, a guy we knew could impact this game, stunted into an open hole left by left guard Landan Paulsen early in the game. Paulsen was too focused on assisting future NFL tackle Alaric Jackson to not notice Gaziano get a wide-open look at Stanley to force fourth down.
Special teams also struggled throughout. The weather was bad, but still. Michael Sleep-Dalton continues to give me flashbacks of last year’s Colten Rastetter, and Caleb Shudak, our kickoff specialist, knocked the ball right out of bounds to give Northwestern fantastic field position later in the game.
Yet, despite all of this, the Iowa football team basically dominated this game from start to finish and there was literally zero concern from me of Northwestern managing to pull this one out. And that’s what ultimately matters.
Iowa got a shutout and put up 20 points giving them their sixth win of the season and moving them to 3-2 in conference play. And if we’re being honest, the Hawkeyes probably could have put up 35-40 points if not for a few bad calls and some questionable choices on 4th downs. But like I said above, I think at this point, that just might be me being a bit entitled.
Defensively, the Hawks got after Northwestern’s beleaguered offensive attack, registering five sacks, forcing one turnover, and holding the Wildcats offense to 202 yards.
Offensively, I felt Nate Stanley played a solid game that could have been even better had Nico Ragaini managed to come down with more than one catch on his six targets, and we saw true freshman tight end Sam LaPorta get his first career catch. LaPorta wasn’t the only youngster doing damage though.
Redshirt freshman Tyrone Tracy Jr had two big catches in the game and freshman Tyler Goodson led the team in rushing before leaving the game with an injury.
It may just be 20-0, but anytime we can walk away from a game against Northwestern with a win, I’ll be happy because historically, Northwestern just gets it done against us.
We’ve now got a bye week to get a bit healthier, clean up a few things, and focus on the most important stretch of the season starting with a game that could decide the Big Ten West against Wisconsin.