This seemed like a problem the entire day for the Hawkeyes and I think it was the secondary that had the biggest issue with it, but it seems like that has been the problem the entire season. Brandon Snyder and Miles Taylor struggled all day with tackling. Snyder missed a key tackle on Austin Carr inside the 15 yard line where he just kind of bounced off Carr and then Carr subsequently walked into the end zone for the Wildcats. This can't continue to be a problem for the secondary because they're the last line of defense.
There wasn't a lot of good I took from yesterday, but the play of Desmond King on special teams was extremely impressive. He racked up 162 total return yards on three kick returns and four punt returns, which really kept Iowa in the game with great field position. Riley McCarron even burnt the Wildcats with a couple of nice returns himself that went for 92 total yards. Unfortunately, it was the offense that could take advantage of the great starting field position, especially in the second half.
The offensive line continued to struggle on Saturday. C.J. Beathard was sacked six times and was pretty much under pressure from start to finish yesterday. I think it is on him a little bit considering it seems like he is having trouble sensing when the pocket is breaking down, but they just haven't done a good job protecting him. Iowa already had trouble getting the running game going (41 carries, 79 yards) and not being able to protect the QB and give him any time in the pocket wasn't helping the offense. Like I said, it isn't all on this line, Beathard hasn't done as good of a job moving around this year as opposed to last.
Some Nice Surprises
I know it's hard to take a lot of good things from a game that you feel you should have won, but I thought Riley McCarron did a good job filling in for the injured Matt Vandeberg. McCarron was tasked with basically being the teams number one guy at the receiver spot and for a kid that had only caught 14 career passes coming into the game he did extremely well. He found the end zone and seemed to have good chemistry with C.J. so hopefully McCarron can be this good for a passing attack that desperately needs a guy to step up and be the number one. If McCarron can be this constant it could help guys like Jay Scheel and Jerminic Smith find some openings.
Inability to stop the run
This is now two games in a row that Iowa has allowed a ball carrier to go over 100 yards. Northwestern's Justin Jackson scampered for 171 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown yesterday. A lot of it may have had to do with the fact that the defense was tired. It seemed like they couldn't get themselves off the field and when they did it wasn't for very long. The Wildcats were efficient on third downs and were 2-2 on fourth downs as well. Jackson burned them a few times for big plays including late in the third quarter when he took it 58 yards to the house to give Northwestern a seven point lead.