Halftime reactions — Northern Illinois vs. Iowa

With one half down in Iowa's season-opener against Northern Illinois, Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Adam Hensley and Sports Editor Pete Ruden give their takeaways.


Adam Hensley and Pete Ruden

Iowa leads Northern Illinois, 3-0, at halftime. Here are the Daily Iowan‘s takeaways from the first two quarters:

Noah Fant’s shaky start (and the offense, for that matter)

Things could have started out big for Noah Fant on Iowa’s opening drive. Nate Stanley threw a perfect pass to the tight end along the sideline, but Fant dropped it, resulting in fourth down (and Northern Illinois’ blocking Iowa’s punt just seconds later).

Through Iowa’s first four drives, Fant’s stats looked like this: 1 catch, 1 drop, 1 illegal touching penalty, and a holding call. Not the ideal start that most Hawkeye fans pictured for the All-American tight end.

While I’m at it, Iowa’s offense essentially mirrored Fant’s start. The Hawkeyes were able to move the ball on the Huskies, but they could not capitalize. Holding penalties, a fumble by Stanley (that Iowa recovered), and an interception limited Iowa’s scoring chances.

Iowa had 148 yards to end the half, 58 coming from runs and 90 coming from the passing game.

-Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

Defense bails out offense

Iowa is lucky to have a lead in this game. But thanks to the Hawkeye defense, it goes into halftime with a 3-point advantage. After two drops on the first drive, Iowa was forced to punt, and it got blocked, giving Northern Illinois possession at the Hawkeye 23.

The defense wasn’t fazed, though, making the Huskies go three-and-out. They got out of the scenario without giving up points, as Northern Illinois kicker Andrew Gantz missed from 33 yards out. Later in the first quarter, after a Stanley interception, the defense stepped up on fourth-and-2; linebacker Nick Niemann quickly blasted his way into the backfield for a 6-yard loss and a turnover on downs.

Finally, with the Huskies driving near the red zone before half, safety Amani Hooker showed his playmaking ability, picking off a Marcus Childers pass to keep the shutout alive. The defense has bailed out the offense and special teams, keeping things close.

-Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Also of note: The Wave is still one of the best traditions in college football.

Make sure to follow along on Twitter with the Pregame account (@dipregame), Hensley (@A_Hens83), and Ruden (PeteyRuden) for Hawkeye football updates and game analysis.

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