Here’s the weekly stock report from Northwestern 14-10 win over Iowa.
The true freshman running back continues to impress since winning the starting job just three weeks ago. He had his best career game as a Wildcat, going for 165 yards on the afternoon and averaging over five yards per carry. Bowser exceeded 100 yards on the ground for the third time this season and added three catches for 33 yards in the passing game as well. He looked shiftier in his cuts throughout the entire game and consistently churned out positive carries even on plays where Iowa seemed to have him bottled up. His 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter was his longest run of the season. It was by far Bowser’s most impressive game in an NU uniform thus far.
Northwestern run defense
Northwestern’s front seven was completely dominant the entire game albeit against a weak Iowa running attack. Iowa had just 64 total yards on the ground all game and didn’t break a run longer than 11 yards all game. The Northwestern linebackers and tackles had their way all game and they also forced two pretty important fumbles.
Whillock looked strong in his first career start for the Wildcats. Filling in at safety for the injured Jared McGee, Whillock held his own in pass coverage for the majority of the game and found a way to disrupt things in the Iowa backfield as well on a few key blitzes. Whillock led the NU defense with in both solo (4) and total tackles (8), and recovered a key fumble in the fourth quarter to halt the Hawkeye drive. On a day when Northwestern’s secondary came in decimated, and then Montre Hartage went down early in the second half, Whillock’s performance was important. If he can stay healthy, Northwestern has another talented, ballhawking safety in the mix.
Another impressive game for the Wildcats’ best defensive lineman. Gaziano led the team with 1.5 tackles for loss, and his forced fumble in the fourth quarter helped punch Northwestern’s ticket to Indianapolis.
Honorable Mentions: The Wave, Minnesota, offensive line play, Jake Collins punting, fielding punts!
The four-year starter finds himself on our stock down report for the second week in a row. Not only did he complete just 50 percent of his passes, his decision-making was poor all game. Both of his third quarter interceptions came in Northwestern’s own territory and he gave the ball to the Hawkeye offense when NU seemed to be building momentum. He deserves credit for a few good runs and giving Skowronek a chance on the fourth quarter touchdown, but overall, it was another disappointing day for the Northwestern QB.
The Wildcats only kicked off three times all game, but Iowa returned the ball past the 30 yard line all three times. All in all, a day to forget for Northwestern special teams.
Jake Collins’ field goal attempt
No more of that, please.
Honorable Mentions: The first half offense as a whole, cold weather, NU secondary staying healthy