By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – What did we learn in Iowa’s 21-20 loss to Northwestern on Saturday?
We learned that Iowa’s offense is still searching for an identity and that sophomore quarterback Spencer Petras is still a work in progress.
We learned that Daviyon Nixon is arguably Iowa’s MVP thus far. We also learned that turnovers continue to plague the Hawkeyes.
Offensive player of the game: Ihmir Smith-Marsette. The senior receiver had seven receptions for 84 yards. He also had a 33-yard kickoff return.
Defensive player of the game: Nixon. The junior defensive lineman was a force for a second straight game, compiling a career-high 11 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble.
Pivotal plays: Sophomore defensive back Terry Roberts’ recovery of a fumbled punt return early in the first quarter led to Iowa’s first touchdown. The muffed punt was one of two turnovers committed by Northwestern that led to 14 of Iowa’s 17 first quarter points.
Caleb Shudak’s 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half that would have given Iowa a nine point lead at halftime bounced off the right upright.
Petras’ interception with 9:36 left in the third quarter led to a Northwestern touchdown, which ultimately proved to be the game-winner.
Petras’ third interception of the day with just over a minute to play in the fourth quarter gave Northwestern the ball back, and the opportunity to run the clock out.
Key stats: The 30-plus m.p.h winds during Saturday’s game made a noticeable impact, particularly in the kicking game.
Iowa rushed for 77 yards, while the Iowa offensive line gave up just one sack.
Northwestern out-possessed Iowa by over seven minutes.
Weird stat: Petras attempted 50 passes, the most since Jake Rudock threw 56 passes against Maryland in 2014.
Notable number: Six. Iowa has been held scoreless in the third quarter in six consecutive Big Ten games dating back to last season.
Three. Iowa committed three penalties and three turnovers, all of which came in the second half.
Did you know?: Senior kicker Keith Duncan passed Mark Weisman for 11th all-time in scoring in school history.
Petras threw his first career touchdown pass on Saturday, a seven-yarder to senior receiver Brandon Smith.
Petras completed passes to eight different receivers.
Iowa started its season 0-2 for the first time since Kirk Ferentz’s second season in 2000.
Iowa has 56 interceptions since the start of the 2017 season, the most in Football Bowl Subdivision.
Series update: Iowa has lost four of its last five games against Northwestern.
Injury report: Sophomore linebacker Jack Campbell and senior defensive lineman Austin Schulte did not play for the second consecutive week due to undisclosed injuries.