EVANSTON, Ill. — Iowa’s 17-10 overtime loss at Northwestern on Saturday came down to a lot of factors.
The team’s best player, Josey Jewell, missing the game was an obvious one.
But up and down the line, coaching and execution was insufficient.
And coming off a bye week, that’s disappointing.
The Hawkeyes had every opportunity to take advantage of a sleepy atmosphere at Ryan Field and an inspired defensive performance without its starting middle linebacker (Jewell) and free safety (Brandon Snyder).
The offense sputtered, time after time ... after time.
That’s play-calling by Brian Ferentz. Akrum Wadley needs to be in space, not between the tackles.
That’s bad pass protection, with left tackle Alaric Jackson having a rough day.
That’s missed throws by Nate Stanley (who lobbed a key fourth-quarter interception into the waiting arms of JR Pace) and drops by receivers. Two by Nick Easley, one by Noah Fant on the game's final play.
That’s poor judgment (which comes back to coaching) on punt returns with Joshua Jackson giving away too many yards of field position.
And that's a big false-start penalty on fourth and inches with a chance to win the game with a touchdown in regulation.
Not having Jewell was costly late. On third-and-9, Jewell middle-linebacker replacement in Ben Niemann lost Justin Jackson in pass coverage, and that set up the Wildcats' eventual winning TD.
And now Iowa falls to 4-3 overall, and 1-3 in the Big Ten Conference. Out of the Big Ten West race. Down to counting wins for bowl eligibility, unless something changes drastically.