Oct. 26, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sophomore Jake Rudock lofted an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz on the first offensive series in overtime and the Hawkeye defense got the stop it needed to send the University of Iowa football team to a 17-10 overtime victory over Northwestern on Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.
"This is a real tribute to our guys, especially the older guys," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "The juniors and seniors have been doing a great job of leading back to November, and it's nice to see them get a reward for it.
"It's great to be able to walk in the locker room and see those guys happy and feeling good about what they just accomplished."
After ending regulation tied at 10, Iowa got the ball with the wind at its back going into the south end zone. Rudock connected with sophomore Tevaun Smith on a stop route, and he made a cut inside to gain 14 yards to the 11. Following a pair of Mark Weisman rushes to the 3, Iowa was flagged for a false start, setting up the third-and-8.
With safety Ibraheim Campbell and linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo bearing down on an all-out Wildcat blitz, Rudock lofted a pass into the far corner of the end zone where Fiedorowicz ran under for the score after beating safety Traveon Henry. It was Fiedorowicz's fourth touchdown reception this season.
"They brought the house it looked like," said Ferentz. "You can't block them all. Jake did a great job of waiting until the last second and then had faith that C.J. would be in the right spot. It looked like he put the ball out there, and C.J. went and got it."
The Hawkeye defense stepped up, with sophomore Drew Ott sacking Wildcat quarterback Kain Colter on first down. Following a 3-yard run by Colter on second down, Iowa kept contain on third-and-8 before freshman cornerback Desmond King had a pass breakup in an attempt intended for Stephen Buckley at the first-down marker. On fourth-and-8, Iowa's front four forced Colter out of the pocket before junior Louis Trinca-Pasat ran him down for a sack on the final play, sending Iowa to its fifth win of the season.
"It looked like they had nowhere to go with the football, and the good news is the guys up front stayed where they should stay," said Ferentz. "We didn't get out of our lanes, and (Colter) didn't have an alley to run. It was a great effort for all 11 guys."
Northwestern out-gained Iowa, 329-305, in the game, which included 225 yards on the ground. The Hawkeyes finished with 136 yards rushing, and Rudock completed 19-of-27 attempts for 169 yards through the air. Weisman (56 yards) and Damon Bullock (52 yards) combined for 108 yards rushing, and junior Kevonte Martin-Manley had five catches for 45 yards.
Senior linebacker Christian Kirksey had a team-best 12 tackles, while Anthony Hitchens, Tanner Miller, and Ott each had nine stops. The Hawkeyes forced two Wildcat turnovers, the final coming with Northwestern driving for a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Iowa also had six sacks in the game, a season-high and its highest total since recording six sacks in 2008 (vs. Florida International).
Buckley paced the Wildcat offense, gaining 99 yards on 17 carries. Colter finished with 60 yards rushing, while also completing 11-of-14 attempts for 104 yards with one touchdown. Ariguzo had a game-best 14 tackles, and an interception.
"Congratulations to Iowa, they made the plays down the stretch that winners make, and we didn't," said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
After being held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season, Northwestern got on the board on its second drive of the third quarter, moving 81 yards over eight plays to cut the lead to 10-7. On second-and-7 from its 22, Colter found Dan Vitale for a 31-yard gain along the Northwestern sideline, and Colter followed with a 13-yard gain to the Iowa 34.
On third-and-6 from the 30, Colter connected with Rashad Lawrence in space, advancing the ball to the 12. Two plays later, Iowa bit on a zone-read fake, leaving Vitale wide open in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown reception.
Northwestern's defense followed with a three-and-out before driving 69 yards during a drive that spanned 8:38 to even the game at 10. On third-and-7 from midfield, Colter eluded pressure and dove for the first-down sticks out of bounds, but he was injured on the play.
Enter backup Trevor Siemian, who handed off six-straight times to move the Wildcats to the Iowa 10. On third-and-6, Iowa bottled up the receivers, forced Siemian from the pocket, where defensive lineman Mike Hardy came away with the sack. Jeff Budzien's 29-yard field goal attempt evened the game at 10.
The Hawkeyes put together their best drive of the second half on the ensuing possession, but came away empty-handed. Rudock connected with Martin-Manley for 9 yards on third-and-7 from its own 28. Two plays later, Rudock found tight end Jake Duzey on a short route over the middle, and he gained 20 yards into Northwestern territory.
Weisman followed with an 11-yard catch on the next play, but the Wildcats forced Iowa into a field goal attempt into the wind after stopping Bullock for a 1-yard loss on a pass completion in the flat on third-and-3 from the 23. Iowa place kicker Mike Meyer attempted a line drive into a strong wind, but the kick missed wide left.
It took Northwestern just three plays to move into Iowa territory, following rushes of 8, 8, and 30 yards by Buckley to the Iowa 30. Following an illegal block in the back penalty (on what would have been a 9-yard Colter gain), Mike Trumpy muffed a pitch from Colter at midfield, and King recovered giving Iowa the ball at the 50.
Following a 2-yard loss on first down, Rudock found Fiedorowicz for an 18-yard gain in the seam to move to the Northwestern 34. The Wildcats loaded the box, stopping Bullock for 2 and 1 yard gains before Rudock's third down pass was deflected and caught by Brett Van Sloten for a four-yard loss. On fourth-and-11 with 15 seconds remaining, Rudock tried to fit a throw into a tight window to Fiedorwicz, but it was intercepted by Ariguzo at the 15.
The Hawkeyes took the opening kickoff 74 yards over 17 plays to grab a 7-0 lead. Rudock completed a 9-yard pass to Weisman to begin the series before Iowa moved 65 yards on the ground into the end zone. Weisman accounted for 32 yards, including back-to-back 9-yard runs into the red zone. Bullock finished with 21 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run -- his first of the season.
Iowa pushed its lead to 10-0 with an 11-play, 42-yard drive on its first series of the second quarter. Rudock had two big completions to Smith on the series. The first was a 16-yard gain to the Northwestern-34 on second-and-8, and the second was an 11-yard completion on third-and-10 to the 23.
Rudock narrowly missed connecting with Martin-Manley for a 20-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone on third-and-7 from the 20, but Iowa had to settle for Meyer's 38-yard field goal. Meyer's kick moved him into second place in career field goals and tied him with Rob Houghtlin for second in career scoring in school history.
Northwestern put together its best drive of the first half on the ensuing possession, moving 45 yards over nine plays into Iowa territory. Colter picked up three first downs on the series -- all with his feet. On first-and-10 from the 34, Hitchens blew up Trumpy on a rush up the middle to force a fumble, which linebacker James Morris recovered at the Iowa 30.
The Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-2) return to action Nov. 2, hosting Wisconsin at 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium.