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Halftime Notes: Iowa 38, Northwestern 7

You thought there was nowhere to go but up from the second half performance against Nebraska... You were wrong.

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

- So much for correcting flaws during the bye week. After an atrocious second half performance against Nebraska, this Saturday's first half was equally embarrassing.

- From the start of the third quarter against the Huskers to the end of the first quarter against Iowa, Northwestern was outscored 48-0. Forty-eight to zero. In three quarters. Against one pretty good team and one decidedly average team.

- Another special teams breakdown cost the Wildcats early. Iowa freshman Jonathan Parker took the opening kickoff across midfield, and then a late hit penalty on Jimmy Hall meant the Hawkeyes started their opening drive at the Northwestern 31-yard line. They proceeded to punch it into the end zone on four plays, putting Northwestern in an early 7-0 hole.

- Jake Rudock looked confident early, aside from one inexplicable fumble that he recovered himself for a 9-yard loss. The highlight was a very well-designed flea-flicker that went for 42 yards, although it probably could have been a touchdown had Rudock not underthrown his receiver.

- On the other hand, Northwestern's offense began pitifully. Justin Jackson had one run on which he nearly broke off a huge play, but other than that, NU, and specifically Trevor Siemian, couldn't get anything going. It's become the story of the season: the offensive line was porous, Siemian held onto the ball far too long (on one play, he had a ton of time, but rather than hang in the pocket he tried to roll left and literally ran right into a sack), and the receivers, who we thought coming into the year might be some of the best in the Big Ten, couldn't get an inch of separation.

- It's becoming increasingly clear that there's only one good skill position player on this offense, and it's Justin Jackson.

- One Iowa mistake momentarily let Northwestern back into the game. Punter Dillon Kidd fumbled a long snap in his own territory, which gave Northwestern great field position to start their fifth drive of the game, at the Iowa 18-yard line. And they took advantage of it, with the offensive line finally getting a push and Justin Jackson forcing his way into the end zone from one yard out.

- However, the defense, as has been the case all half, couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. Iowa responded with a 75-yard drive that culminated with Nick VanHoose getting burned for a 31-yard touchdown.

- It's difficult for a single offensive lineman to really dominate a game, but Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff came pretty darn close in the first half. He completely shut down the right side of Northwestern's defensive front.

- Northwestern faced a do-or-die drive down 31-7 with two minutes to go in the half. The Wildcats needed points to remain in the game. But after Trevor Siemian completed a third down pass to Kyle Prater, the senior wide receiver fumbled, and after multiple Northwestern players booted the ball when trying to recover, Iowa emerged from the bottom of the pile with the ball.

- Trevor Siemian's first half statline: 5-12, 28 yards passing, and 3 rushes for -29 yards. Yes, you read that correctly. Trevor Siemian had negative total yards (!) in the first half.