The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

September 3, 2013

Northern Illinois hands Hawkeyes another close loss with late pick, field goal

IOWA CITY — Iowa fans are becoming all too familiar with this sort of painful outcome.

This time, however, a new player took part in yet another nail biting defeat.

Sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock, who shined at times in first time seeing game action of his college football career, threw his second career interception at a most inopportune time. Senior safety Jimmie Ward picked off the first pass thrown by Rudock on what Hawkeye fans were hoping would be the first game-winning drive led by the new Iowa quarterback, which instead set up Mathews Sims for a game-winning field goal with four seconds left as Northern Illinois avenged last season’s close season-opening loss the Hawkeyes with a 30-27 victory in front of 67,402 gold-clad fans that were left Kinnick Stadium in familiar frustration.

“It was a tough football game to lose,” Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Give Northern (Illinois) credit; they did a great job. I thought our guys played really hard. There were a lot of positive things that we saw out there on the field by a lot of different guys, but the bottom line is we just didn't make enough plays to be successful. To their credit, they capitalized, and we didn't do that.”

It’s becoming a familiar sentiment for Ferentz in games like Saturday’s opener. The three-point defeat was the 13th for the Hawkeyes in the last 18 one-score games dating back to the magical 2009 Orange Bowl season in which Iowa went 11-2.

Since then, Iowa has gone 19-19 in the last three seasons leading up to Saturday, dropping Iowa below .500 since the Hawkeyes’ lone BCS win over Georgia Tech. It was also, remarkably, Iowa’s seventh straight loss; the longest losing streak since the first two of Ferentz’s 15 seasons as Hawkeye football coach.

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