Iowa’s magic finally runs out

College football pundits and fans alike have been waiting for this day for weeks: Iowa finally fell. Northwestern topped the No. 6 Hawkeyes 17-10 on Saturday and dashed Iowa’s slim national title hopes.

From FOX Sports.com:

With that said, there’s no excuse for a loss at home to Northwestern, just as there was no excuse for such a lousy performance against Indiana. It’s not as if the Hawkeyes were playing the world-beaters, and it’s not as if the game were over after losing Ricky Stanzi to his ankle injury. Of course, not having the leader and No. 1 quarterback matters, but 1) Iowa was still winning when he got knocked out, 2) Northwestern also lost its starter, and 3) It … was … Northwestern.

This is a Wildcats team that sputtered and coughed against Eastern Michigan, one of the five worst teams in college football, and this is a team that can’t get a score without it being wrapped in a nice gift basket. If Iowa really were a national title-caliber team, it would’ve pounded away on the mediocre Wildcats D and come up with a point over the final 50 minutes. Pat Angerer and Jeremiha Hunter did their part, combining for 27 tackles, but the offensive line that did such a great job against Indiana struggled to get the running game going and James Vandenberg was miserable in place of Stanzi. And that’s it. That’s the difference between an all-timer of a season and being among the mere mortals.

As the article points out, does anything really change here? Even if Iowa ran the table, it would have had a hard time convincing voters that it deserved to play for a national title with teams like Florida, Alabama and Texas atop the rankings. So now the Hawkeyes can fight for the Big Ten title and the chance to play in the Rose Bowl.

Obviously the outcome today was a massive disappointment. But not all is lost.

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Iowa’s Stanzi hurt against Northwestern

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi left the Hawkeyes’ game against Northwestern early in the second quarter with an apparent foot injury.

Stanzi was hurt when Wildcats’ defender Corey Wootton sacked him in the end zone. He fumbled and Nwest Marshall Thomas recovered the ball in the end zone for a Northwestern touchdown to cut Iowa’s lead to 10-7.

Backup quarterback James Vandenberg immediately came in and threw an interception to set up another Wildcats score. Northwestern is currently up 14-10 at halftime and at least for the moment, No. 6 Iowa is once again in trouble.

Although hey, they’re always in trouble at halftime; they’ve trailed at halftime in almost every game this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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