Game replay: Northwestern beats Iowa 21-20 as Hawkeyes fall to 0-2

It's Oct. 31 and the Iowa Hawkeyes are having their season opener this afternoon. 

Northwestern comes to Iowa in a key Big Ten clash for the Hawkeyes, coming off their season-opening dud at Purdue. 

5:50 p.m.: Going to be ball game. Petras throws third pick of the game. Nothing Iowa can do but watch the clock bleed. — Zack Creglow

5:49 p.m.: Iowa has it, last chance, at its own 18 with 1:25 left. No timeouts. — Zack Creglow

5:41 p.m.: Danger zone! Petras misfires on fourth-and-four as Iowa drive stalls out with less than two to play.  — Zack Creglow

5:36 p.m.: Iowa has ball with less than 4 minutes left, deep in its territory. Petras just converted a fourth-and-half yard with a 3-yard gain on a sneak. It's a good time to have the nation's most accurate kicker. — Zack Creglow

5:25 p.m.: Bad news. Spencer Petras throws another interception and Northwestern has the ball back. Overthrow LaPorta on a fastball off the right corner that was deflected to Northwestern. — Zack Creglow

5:21 p.m.: Ramsey was flushed and throw an ill-advised pass to Jack Koerner. Hawkeyes ball with about 8 minutes left and they got it inside the Northwestern 50. — Zack Creglow

5:13 p.m.: Sam LaPorta broke loose on a tight end screen but Alaric Jackson was called for a block in the back. Negating big play as fourth quarter winds down. — Zack Creglow

5:05 p.m.: Well, that certainly tells you something about how Pat Fitzgerald feels about his defense, or Iowa's offense. Northwestern coach opts to punt from Iowa's 44-yard line on fourth-and-2, leading just 21-20. The Wildcats had converted their previous fourth downs when trailing. The Hawkeyes desperately need a big drive here. — ME

4:58 p.m.: Iowa's first three third-quarter possessions: 10 plays, 14 yards, one costly INT. --CL

4:49 p.m.: The decision for Northwestern to get the wind in the fourth quarter looks like it might pay off as the Wildcats jump in front, 21-20, after picking of Spencer Petras on a bad, bad, bad throw. 6:05 left in the third for Iowa to make something happen. --CL

4:38 p.m.: Iowa's defense needed to make something happen after the offense predictably sputters to start the third, and it did. Daviyon Nixon's 11-yard sack of Peyton Ramsey was just what the doctor ordered for a tired defense. Huge. --CL

4:07 p.m.: Going into halftime writing mode, but think we're hitting the key issue I wrote about this week. What adjustments does the Iowa coaching staff make out of the break? Clearly the Iowa run game is not effective and the Northwestern run game is. Does Iowa devote more resources to the run? Does Phil Parker make a tweak in his defense? Feels like something needs to change despite a 20-14 Iowa lead. --CL

3:57 p.m.: Northwestern has 102 rushing yards in the second quarter. But it hasn't been a traditional, run-it-down-your-throat offense. Coach Pat Fitzgerald has shown some wrinkles, including a direct snap to running back Isaiah Bowser, a quarterback draw by third-stringer Andrew Marty and even a defensive lineman to help block for that 1-yard touchdown run by Jesse Brown. — ME

3:56 p.m.: This has turned into a typical Iowa-Northwestern game. The Wildcats just keep grinding and they've chopped down Iowa's lead to 20-14. Defense hasn't been able to make a big play when it needs it (on either third or fourth down) the last two drives. Iowa's thin DT rotation is starting to show up. --CL

3:43 p.m.: When I wrote the Keith Duncan profile last December, I talked to his kicking coach from North Carolina who talked about how he has a weather-proof stroke, that they train year-round down there with windy winters. It comes off the ground low, but you'll notice it doesn't get blocked. Duncan uses his line-drive leg to deliver a 47-yard field goal into the Kinnick wind. That was big, and the offense answers Northwestern's TD. Iowa 20-7. --CL

3:33 p.m.: For the first time, Iowa's defense is unable to get off the field and Northwestern grinds up 6 minutes, 23 seconds of possession and gets a 3-yard touchdown run from Kyric McGowan to cut the deficit to 17-7. Wildcats have converted 6 of 9 third and fourth downs now. The Hawkeye offense needs to let the defense get some rest now. — ME

3:28 p.m.: On a fourth-and-1 in the shadow of the North end zone, the absence of a roaring Kinnick Stadium is noticed as Northwestern converts. I thought Van Valkenburg got held (I think it was Zach). --CL

3:20 p.m.: The end of the first quarter brings the first "Hawkeye Wave" of this season. Both teams gathered together to wave up to the patients in the Stead Family Children's Hospital. The officials did the same from midfield. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the top floor of the hospital, where families usually gather to watch the game, is empty this year. But there were children in their individual rooms waving back. — Mark Emmert

3:13 p.m.: After scoring three second-half points against Purdue, Iowa's offense gets a jump-start with 17 first-quarter points today. It's clear that Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz made a concerted effort to get Brandon Smith (first TD of the game) and Ihmir Smith-Marsette (three catches, 42 yards) involved. --CL

3:09 p.m.: Spencer Petras is off to an 8-for-9 start after last week's 2-for-8 jitters. Play-action working well. --CL

2:58 p.m.: Wow, it's too bad no full house at Kinnick Stadium to see this roaring start by the Hawkeyes. Tyler Goodson races into the end zone from 15 yards out for a 14-0 lead. Iowa needs to stay aggressive, this is working. --CL

2:55 p.m.: I like how Iowa has come out slinging it after forced turnovers. Zach Van Valkenburg with the forced fumble and recovery, the Petras-to-Smith-Marsette for 20. Hawkeyes not messing around today. --CL

2:50 p.m. Hawkeye special teams should be a strength all year and that certainly plays out early. Brandon Smith shows his red-zone prowess with a great TD catch. A nice one-play, seven-yard drive. Iowa's run defense looks to have some teeth today to start. --CL

2:44 p.m.: The game's first big play occurs after a lousy three-and-out by Iowa's offense. Tory Taylor's punt had so much hang time and I think got lost in the sun by Northwestern's return man. Heady play by Terry Roberts (who was great on special teams last week) to pounce on the punt muff, which STANDS on review. Iowa needs to score seven off this. First-and-goal at the 7. --CL

2:39 p.m.: New wrinkles from Phil Parker forces a three-and-out. Seth Benson blitzed on the first snap (incomplete) and Iowa shows Raider on third down, stifling Peyton Ramsey's scramble. --CL

2:22 p.m.: Hello, everyone! As reported earlier this week, expect Seth Benson to give Iowa a boost at middle linebacker today. On the pregame show, Kirk Ferentz called the sophomore "a really, reliable dependable guy." Says it'll be another few weeks until Jack Campbell is back at the Mike (probably Minnesota game, I'm hearing). There's definitely some wind out there. —Chad Leistikow