Sept. 1, 2007
Final Stats |
Chicago, Ill. - Iowa used a stout defense and an efficient ground attack to outlast Northern Illinois 16-3 in the "GEICO Soldier Field Showdown" in front of a sellout crowd of 61,500 at Soldier Field on Saturday afternoon.
Hawkeye running back totaled 250 rushing yards, including 145 from senior Albert Young, and 110 from Damian Sims. Where the Hawkeyes flourished, the Huskies struggled, tallying only 21 yards on the ground, 19 of which came in the first half.
The Huskies (0-1) held Iowa to only three scores, though the Hawkeyes (1-0) made their way into Northern Illinois territory eight times.
After a jittery first quarter that included six total punts, Iowa got on the board in the second as Young scored on a seven-yard scamper. Hawkeye punt returner Andy Brodell provided the key play to set up the drive as he returned an Andy Dittbenner punt 56 yards to the Huskie 20-yard line. Iowa missed the PAT, to take a 6-0 lead with 12:19 left in the first half.
Dittbenner, who was injured on the Brodell return, was replaced by Huskie place kicker Chris Nendick. On the ensuing series, Nendick was back for the first punt of his career and boomed a 55-yard punt, pinning Iowa on their own five yard line.
Hawkeye quarterback Jake Christensen then led his team on an eight play 95-yard drive, highlighted by a 40-yard pass to James Cleveland, to give Iowa a 13-0 advantage.
Northern Illinois responded on its next drive with a 33-yard field goal from Nendick, and entered halftime trailing by 10.
To open the third quarter, NIU put together its strongest drive of the game. Quarterback Dan Nicholson completed a 40-yard pass to Greg Turner, who was tackled on the Iowa three yard line. One play after a false start penalty pushed the Huskies back to the eight, Nicholson fired another pass to Turner, which deflected of his hands into the waiting arms of Hawkeye cornerback Charles Godfrey for one of three Iowa interceptions in the game.
After the Huskies' opening drive, the second half saw offensive futility from both sides, as only one of the teams' combined 13 possessions ended in a score. Iowa put the points on the board with a 22-yard Signor field goal with 1:25 left in the third, giving the Hawkeyes a 16-3 lead, which they held for the win.
Nicholson saw highs and lows in the game, as he completed 26-of-42 passes for 214 yards, but also threw three interceptions. Christenson found his target on 12-of-29 attempts, while throwing one of the game's two touchdowns.
Northern Illinois will try to even its record Saturday, September 8, when it faces Southern Illinois at Huskie Stadium for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.