Saturday, Nov. 11 12:10pm ET
Wildcats can't get potent offense in gear


IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- One of the worst defenses in the Big Ten figured out how to stop the most potent offense in the conference.

Kyle McCann
Northwestern got to Iowa quarterback Kyle McCann in the first half Saturday, but the Wildcats had their Rose Bowl hopes dimmed in defeat.

Kyle McCann threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and Iowa's defense bottled up Northwestern's potent offense as the Hawkeyes earned a 27-17 victory over the Wildcats (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) on Saturday.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said there was no mystery involved.

"They played tough, physical and hard-nosed," he said. "I think that our defense is really starting to play well as a team."

Northwestern coach Randy Walker said Iowa's defensive effort was "outstanding" and knocked the Wildcats off stride.

"I think this was as good a job as we've had against our offense," Walker said. "This was one of those days when we just never really caught our rhythm.

"Iowa played well and we didn't play as well as we could have."

Iowa's Bob Sanders, who had 14 tackles, said the Hawkeyes had a good week preparing for Northwestern's no-huddle attack.

"This is the first time we've seen an offense like this," he said. "We just swarmed to the ball and gang-tackled them. What we wanted to do was stop the run.

"We just tried to keep them inside, don't let them outside, and try to keep them contained."

Iowa (3-8, 3-4 Big Ten) won consecutive games for the first time since 1997 while holding Northwestern (7-3, 5-2) to 377 yards -- 109 below its conference-leading average of 486 yards.

McCann made his second start of the season after leading the Hawkeyes to a 26-23 double-overtime win against Penn State last week. He completed 17 of 27 throws for 250 yards, including TD passes to Kahlil Hill and Kevin Kasper.

Kasper caught five passes for 105 yards. His 29-yarder in the first quarter gave him 147 catches in his career, bettering the school record of 146 career receptions set by Ronnie Harmon (1982-85) and matched by Danan Hughes (1989-92).

Nate Kaeding, who had four field goals against the Nittany Lions, had two against the Wildcats.

Iowa's defense was giving up 447 yards per game -- No. 10 in the conference -- but didn't allow Northwestern's offense to get on track. The Wildcats didn't score a point in the first quarter, the first time that's happened all season.

Just a week ago, the Wildcats gained a school-record 654 yards in a 54-51 win over Michigan.

Damien Anderson, the conference's leading runner with 1,603 yards and 18 touchdowns, gained 132 yards on 31 carries and remained tied with Darnell Autry for the school's season scoring record of 108 points.

Zak Kustok, whose 2-yard touchdown run on the last play of the game helped NU beat Iowa 23-21 last year, accounted for the Wildcats' only touchdowns with a 1-yard plunge late in the third quarter and a 10-yard scoring toss to Jon Schweighardt with 3:01 to play.

Northwestern, averaging 38 points, also got a 34-yard field goal by Tim Long in the second quarter that tied it at 3 after Kaeding opened the scoring with a 42-yard field goal with 1:20 left in the first quarter.

Kaeding also booted a 46-yarder with 4:11 before halftime to extend Iowa's lead to 6-3 before McCann connected with Hill on an 11-yard scoring toss with 35 seconds left in the quarter to boost Iowa's lead to 13-3. Hill caught seven passes for 79 yards.

Iowa made it 20-3 when McCann arched a perfect 42-yard scoring toss to Kasper, who got behind Harold Blackman on a post pattern and raced into the end zone with 10:13 to play in the third quarter.

A 1-yard TD run by Kustok, who was 25-of-45 for 248 yards, pulled the Wildcats to 20-10 with 1:59 left in the quarter.

Iowa and Northwestern each punted on their opening possessions of the fourth quarter before McCann directed the Hawkeyes on a 10-play, 57-yard drive that ended with his 1-yard TD run with 6:58 to play.

The Wildcats closed the scoring with Kustok's 10-yard scoring toss to Schweighardt, but Matt Stockdale recovered the Wildcats' onside kick and the Hawkeyes ran out the remaining 2:58.

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 Kevin Kasper hauls in a 42-yard TD bomb from Kyle McCann.
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 Kahlil Hill dives into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown.
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 Zak Kustok hits Jon Schweighardt for a 10-yard TD pass.
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