EVANSTON, Ill. – The Iowa defense regained its takeaway tendencies Saturday night.
Dane Belton and Jermari Harris each recorded interceptions – the Hawkeyes’ first since intercepting four passes in an Oct. 9 win over Penn State – to help Iowa to a 17-12 Big Ten Conference victory over Northwestern at Ryan Field.
Belton’s third interception of the season came early in the second quarter at the Hawkeyes’ 17-yard line shortly after the Hawkeyes’ had taken a 7-0 lead.
The pick set up a 9-play, 83-yard touchdown drive.
“As a defensive back, you prepare and practice to put yourself in a position to make plays like that,’’ Belton said. “It doesn’t change from one week to the next. Go out and do your job.’’
Northwestern quarterback Andrew Marty, making his first start of the season, was picked off again in the fourth quarter as he attempted to rally the Wildcats from a 17-6 deficit.
Harris became the 10th Hawkeye to intercept a pass this season when he grabbed a ball in the end zone with 8 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the game.
Marty, the third starter under center during the Wildcats’ 3-6 start to the season, was feeling heat from a blitz by Belton when Harris recorded Iowa’s 18th interception of the season.
Room to roam: Iowa’s football team finally found some room to run.
Led by Tyler Goodson’s 141-yard effort, the Hawkeyes took advantage of the Big Ten’s most porous run defense to pile up 185 yards on the ground, the second-most productive game of the season.
“Everybody did their job and we were able to move the ball the way we hoped to move it,’’ Goodson said. “I talked (last) week about us being close and that we wanted to be able to get back to running the ball the way we did earlier. We took a step in that direction.’’
Goodson gained 100 of his yards on 13 carries in the first two quarters to help the Hawkeyes to a 14-3 halftime lead.
That was Goodson's seventh effort of 100 yards or more in his career.
Rejection: When Northwestern’s Ray Niro blocked a Tory Taylor punt in the second quarter, it was a first by an Iowa opponent since 2018.
Northern Illinois’ Jauan Wesley blocked a punt against the Hawkeyes on Sept. 1, 2018.
Niro came up the middle to reject Taylor’s fourth punt of the game.
In, but out: Ivory Kelly-Martin, who was listed by coach Kirk Ferentz as “doubtful’’ for Saturday’s game because of “a couple of foot issues’’ warmed up and was in uniform for the match-up with the Wildcats.
Kelly-Martin did not see game action with listed back-up Gavin Williams the second Hawkeye running back to see action behind Goodson.
Defensive backs Riley Moss and Terry Roberts were in street clothes as the Hawkeyes warmed up. Harris made his second consecutive start at right cornerback in their absence.
Same five: Jack Plumb made his second start at right tackle on the Iowa offensive line, but he ended up playing on the left side of the line after Mason Richman was injured and did not return.
The Hawkeyes went with the same front five as they used a week earlier at Wisconsin with Kyler Schott opening at right guard, Tyler Linderbaum at center and Connor Colby and Richman on the left side at guard and tackle, respectively.
Plumb shifted to left tackle and seven-game starter Nick DeJong moved back into the right tackle slot.
Start set: The starting time for Saturday's Iowa-Minnesota game was announced following the game.
Kickoff at Kinnick Stadium will be at 2:30 p.m. for a game that will televised by BTN.
Interruption: Play was halted briefly during a timeout late in the second quarter when nine protesters ran onto the field, waving bedsheets in support of a free Palestine, including one which read “Divest from Death.’’
Fans jeered as the group circled around the south 20-yard line, interrupted at one point by another fan who ran on the field and attempted to rip a bedsheet from one of the protester’s hands.
All were eventually escorted from the field and play resumed.
Senior moment: Saturday was Northwestern’s final game at Ryan Field this season and 26 seniors were recognized before the game.
The Wildcats do host Purdue on Nov. 20, but that game will be played at Wrigley Field.
Bridgette's day Bridgette Bissell of Muscatine was Iowa’s Kid Captain for Saturday’s game.
Bissell and her twin sister, Madeline, each weighed 1.5 pounds when they were born prematurely in Texas where the family was living at the time.
She first saw ophthalmologists and the pediatric team at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital when she was 1-year old and returning to the state when she was 13 after living out of state for 10 years, Bissell has continued to make trips to the Iowa City facility.
Bissell is autistic and has struggled with sensory overload and anxiety. In 2019, she became ill and was diagnosed with Chron’s disease, which caused joint pain so severe she found herself in a wheelchair. Her health improved following treatment but she continues to have a feeding tube in her stomach.