EVANSTON, Illinois -- Despite numerous injuries, No. 17 Iowa passed another test on Saturday by routing No. 20 Northwestern on the road, 40-10.
The Hawkeyes were fueled by their stout defense and an unlikely player, backup running back Akrum Wadley, who emerged as another serious threat in Iowa's backfield on Saturday. With Jordan Canzeri exiting the game in the first quarter due to injury and LeShun Daniels already sitting this one out, Wadley tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns and ran for 204 yards.
The first quarter featured solid defensive play from both teams, which is what everyone initially expected heading into this matchup. The biggest play of the quarter came when Desmond King recorded his Big Ten-leading sixth interception of the season. Marshall Koehn kicked a 36-yard field goal after the pick to give Iowa an early 3-0 lead over Northwestern.
Near the end of the first quarter, running back Jordan Canzeri injured his left ankle following a short run. After going into the locker room briefly, he came back out to the field with a boot on his left foot. He was out for the rest of the game, but head coach Kirk Ferentz said after the game it was just an ankle sprain and x-rays revealed no fractures.
Both Northwestern and Iowa put up points in the second period. In Canzeri’s absence, Wadley took advantage of his opportunity and scored on two separate touchdown runs. Iowa led 16-0 at one point and was looking good. Northwestern came storming back, however, scoring the final 10 points of the first half on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Clayton Thorson to Christian Jones, and a 20-yard field goal.
Iowa held a 16-10 advantage when the third quarter began and was able to score on their first possession. Wadley continued to shine and posted his third rushing touchdown of the day. He wasn't done either as he scored a fourth rushing touchdown after Jaleel Johnson recovered a Northwestern fumble. Iowa's defense completely shut down Northwestern in the second half and put a strangle hold on the game.
The Hawkeyes took a 30-10 edge into the fourth quarter and continued to dominate the Wildcats on the ground. Derrick Mitchell was able to run one in for a score and Koehn added another field goal in the final period, giving Iowa a 40-10 victory.
Iowa now heads into their well-timed bye week undefeated at 7-0. It was a statement win for the Hawkeyes, who hadn't scored at least 40 points in a conference road game since 2008 against Minnesota. Utilizing the off week to get several players healthy will be critical before they go into the home stretch of the season as the Big Ten West favorites.