Grading the Iowa football team’s 17-12 win over Northwestern

The Hawkeyes snapped their two-game losing skid with a much-needed win.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa defensive back Dane Belton cheers after a victory during a football game between No. 19 Iowa and Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois, on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Belton intercepted two passes.The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 17-12.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

EVANSTON, Ill. — Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Robert Read graded the Iowa football team’s performance in all three phases after the Hawkeyes’ 17-12 win over Northwestern.

Offense — B-

Let’s just start out with saying Iowa looked a lot better offensively on Saturday than in either of its past two games. But that’s not saying much.

The Hawkeyes compiled 361 yards of total offense and didn’t turn the ball over. Quarterback Alex Padilla seemed to provide a spark after replacing Spencer Petras — finding receivers all over the field and giving them chances to make plays. Running back Tyler Goodson also finally found the end zone again and ripped apart the worst rushing defense in the Big Ten.

Defense — B+ 

Iowa’s defensive performance looked a lot worse than the 12 points allowed would suggest.

There were a lot of missed tackles (including on Northwestern’s touchdown), which is uncharacteristic of Iowa’s defense. But turnovers proved to be the difference. The Hawkeyes picked off three passes on the night. Sacking Wildcat quarterback Andrew Marty three times and hitting him throughout the night didn’t hurt, either.

Special teams — C

For the most part, things were good in this area. The problem was this unit put the defense in poor field position for the second week in a row. Tory Taylor had a punt blocked in the second quarter that set Northwestern up in the red zone. The Wildcats were held to a field goal.

Other than that, Taylor had a fine day punting the ball (40.9-yard average, far from his best) and Caleb Shudak made his only field goal attempt.

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