EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Northwestern has lived on the edge all
season. So it was no surprise that another one of the Wildcats'
games came down to the end.
This time, Ross Lane caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brett
Basanez with 42 seconds remaining to give Northwestern another wild
victory, a 28-27 comeback win over Iowa on Saturday.
"We made plays at the right time and came through," Basanez
said. "It just speaks to the character of the offense. The older
guys were keeping everybody else [relaxed], saying, 'Calm down.'
... It speaks to the young guys. They played like veterans."
It was the latest in a season of close games for Northwestern,
which overcame a 24-7 halftime deficit.
The Wildcats won 38-37 in Week 2 when Northern Illinois failed
on a 2-point conversion after scoring with 6 seconds left. They
survived a late charge by Wisconsin on Oct. 8 and won 51-48, then
beat Purdue 34-29 the following week. Northwestern also lost 34-29
to Penn State on Sept. 24 on a last-minute touchdown.
With the win over Iowa, Northwestern (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) remained
in contention for the conference title and became bowl-eligible.
Iowa (5-4, 3-3) needs to beat Wisconsin or Minnesota to become
eligible for the postseason.
Freshman Tyrell Sutton, scored on a 1-yard run to bring the
Wildcats to within six with 2:10 remaining, and Reggie McPherson
recovered the onside kick at the Iowa 47.
"The ball bounces funny sometimes, and I guess it bounced well
this time," kicker Joel Howells said.
The ball bounced over several Hawkeyes, and a leaping McPherson
"I had a clear shot at it, and I just jumped up and got it,"
he said. "It was a great opportunity."
On second-and-2 at the 24, Basanez ran for 6 and Iowa's Chad
Greenway committed a personal foul after a helmet-to-helmet hit,
putting the ball on the 9. Basanez hit an open Lane on a slant in
the end zone for the winning score.
"It was a fake to the corner, and do a post," Lane said. "The
way they were playing, it was wide open. There was no one in the
Upset about the penalty, Basanez questioned Iowa's
"They were trying to get us out of our game by grabbing
facemasks, hitting guys late, hitting you in the head," he said.
"I mean, if that's how they teach football down there ...
"I was kind of disappointed in their sportsmanship."
Iowa had left by the time Basanez made his remarks.
Basanez was 31-of-51 for 338 yards with two touchdowns and two
interceptions. Sutton carried 17 times for 65 yards and two
touchdowns, and Mark Philmore had 123 yards receiving.
Iowa's Albert Young rushed for a career-high 202 yards and two
touchdowns, and Drew Tate passed for 273.
Young had his fifth straight 100-yard game and became the 11th
Iowa running back to gain 1,000 in a season, finishing the game
with 1,070. The sophomore, whose previous high was 165 against
Purdue on Oct. 8, had 105 yards at halftime.
"He has played well all season long," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz
said. "He competes so hard for every yard he gets and today was no
Tate was 21-for-35 and ran for a touchdown, but he was just
6-of-15 for 76 yards in the second half. Herb Grigsby caught seven
passes for 84 yards.
Iowa gained 492 yards against a defense that was allowing 494.8
on average and ranked 117th in the nation.
With a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Iowa defensive
tackle Matt Kroul intercepted Basanez at the Northwestern 26. That
led to a 32-yard field goal by Kyle Schlicher that made it 27-14
with 10:58 remaining.
But the Wildcats rallied for their final two scores to notch yet
another improbable victory.
It started with Sutton's touchdown and ended with Lane's
reception, which the onside recovery made possible.
"We always practice it [the onside kick], but in the last five
weeks, I'm not sure we got close to recovering one," coach Randy
Walker said. "It's an odd thing, really unpredictable."
Which, in a way, describes his team.
After winning three straight and earning its first Top 25
ranking in four years, Northwestern appeared on its way to its
second straight loss. It fell 33-17 to Michigan a week earlier, and
Saturday's game was more of the same until the end.