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Upsets Create a Big Tie Atop Big Ten

Northwestern: No. 12 Wildcats upset by Iowa, 27-17, and are among four teams that share conference lead.

November 12, 2000|From Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa — One of the worst defenses in the Big Ten figured out how to stop the conference's most potent offense.

Kyle McCann passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Iowa's defense, giving up 447 yards a game, bottled up Northwestern's high-scoring attack Saturday as the Hawkeyes defeated the 12th-ranked Wildcats, 27-17.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said there was no mystery.

"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 overall and 3-4 in the 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.

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

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

Nate Kaeding, who had four field goals against Penn State, kicked two against the Wildcats.

Iowa's defense, ranked 10th in the conference, didn't allow Northwestern's offense to get started. The Wildcats didn't score in the first quarter, the first time that's happened this season.

Only a week earlier, the Wildcats gained a school-record 654 yards in a 54-51 victory over Michigan.

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