Iowa football hoping to avenge last season’s loss against Northwestern

The Hawkeyes haven’t forgotten the Wildcats’ come-from-behind victory last year at Kinnick Stadium.


Katie Goodale

Northwestern Running Back Jesse Brown makes a touchdown during the Iowa v Northwestern football game at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 21-20.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Revenge is in the air as the Iowa football team is set to travel to Evanston this week a year after Northwestern came to Iowa City and stole a 21-20 victory from the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Wildcats scored 21 of the game’s final 24 points at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras tossed three second-half interceptions in the loss and said that last year’s loss still sits with his team.

“I don’t think anyone that played that game forgets that game, especially me,” Petras said at media availability on Tuesday, “So yeah, there’s a lot of motivation there.”

Last year’s Northwestern loss marked Iowa’s second-straight defeat to begin the shortened 2020 season after dropping the season opener, 24-21, against Purdue in West Lafayette. Now, the No. 22 Hawkeyes are trying to bounce back from two-straight losses once again. Iowa suffered its first loss of the season on Oct. 16 against Purdue, then dropped another game against Wisconsin in Madison last weekend to fall to 6-2 on the season.

Petras noted that last season’s early adversity has proven valuable during the past three weeks.

“I think for me, these past couple weeks, it’s just a lot easier going through the adversity we’re going through now  the second time going through it…” Petras said “We’ve been in this spot before. Our back’s against the wall, and we got to, we got to push this thing through.

“[It] happened in 2020, happened in 2019, happened in 2018. We’ve had a skid and had to turn it around. So that’s big. The guys that have been here and  that have played kind of reminding guys  that the sky isn’t falling, we’re not panicking. We just have to keep working and good results come and we’re doing things right.”

One thing that has been problematic for the Hawkeyes during their mid-season losing streak has been a lack of production from the running game. The Hawkeyes rushed for 78 total yards against Purdue and just 24 last week in Madison against Wisconsin.

But, this week in Evanston could and really should be a great opportunity to get the running game back on track.

With several inexperienced starters on defense paired with a new defensive coordinator, Northwestern is dead last in the Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing 229.5 rush yards per game, roughly 70 yards more than the next worst Maryland Terrapins.

In each of their four conference losses, the Wildcats surrendered 326, 427, 294, and 308 rushing yards, respectively. In those four games Northwestern has allowed 19 rushing touchdowns, including seven against Nebraska in early October.

Hawkeye junior running back Tyler Goodson isn’t taking this game lightly — preparing like the Wildcats defense could stand tall this weekend.

“To my knowledge, I know that they might not have the best defense in the run game,” Goodson said. “But going into the game, we can’t look at it like that. We have to prepare for this team as if they could possibly stuff the run game and possibly stuff for offense … We just have to be ready for the guys they have and be ready for what we want to do.”

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