Returning home to Ryan Field Saturday, Northwestern picked up where they left off last weekend against Michigan. Due to a stagnant offense and inconsistent defense, the ‘Cats trail the Iowa Hawkeyes 16-0 early. But NU found a groove late in the second quarter to make it 16-10 going into halftime. Here are some key notes and stats from the first 30 minutes:
-The first quarter didn’t feature many fireworks. The two teams combined for just 110 total yards, with NU accounting for a measly 28 yards. The ‘Cats gained just one first down in the first 15 minutes and committed several bad penalties on defense. However, Marshall Koehn’s 36-yard field goal was the only scoring play in the first quarter, so Northwestern trailed 3-0 at that point.
-Iowa found their offensive rhythm early in the second quarter. The Hawkeye offensive line opened up some big holes for Akrum Wadley, who scored two touchdowns on the ground, including a 35-yard burst to make it 9-0. Wadley ran for 76 yards on 9 carries in the first half.
-C.J. Beathard had a decent second quarter as well. He fooked up with Matt VandeBerg five times in the first half for a total of 59 yards. Beathard threw for 126 yards on 10-of-17 passing in the first half.
-The Northwestern offense got the spark it needed late in the second quarter. Mike McHugh made a 34-yard grab to get the ‘Cats into the red zone. Then, Clayton Thorson found Christian Jones in the end zone from four yards out to get NU on the scoreboard.
-On Iowa’s ensuing drive, Beathard was picked off by Traveon Henry, who returned the interception to the 25 yard line. The Wildcats couldn’t punch it into the end zone, but Jack Mitchell made a 20-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 16-10.
-After the improvements in the second quarter, NU finished the half with 118 total yards and 7 first downs. The only turnover by the ‘Cats was a Thorson interception that set up the Iowa field goal. Thorson finished the half 11-0f-23 for 82 yards and one touchdown. Justin Jackson rushed for 31 yards on 8 carries as the offensive line struggled again.