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Northwestern Upsets Unbeaten Iowa

7 November 2009 No Comment

My alarm went off at 4:25 am. Hawkeyes Bryon, his wife and daughter were picking me up at 5:00 am to make the three hour and 45 minute drive to Iowa City to watch the Northwestern Wildcats take on the “first time in school history 9-0” Iowa Hawkeyes. In my opinion this game was just a warm-up for Iowa’s game next week against Ohio St. However, Bryon and Julie were not as confident as Northwestern had won in Iowa City in 2006 and 2008. In a scheduling fluke, Northwestern was heading back to Iowa City.

I hopped in the car and we were off for Iowa City. At 8:45 am we were pulling into a parking lot off of Melrose Ave. where Hawkeyes Bryon and Julie have a season parking pass. Since their family was not tailgating this week (it was Northwestern after all) we had figured out other tailgating options:

1) 1215 Melrose Ave. – www.normstailgating.com @ 8:30 am.
2) North of north end zone by the big Iowa tractor trailer @ 9:30 am.
3) Iowa friend tailgate we would need to find.
4) A tailgate my Northwestern friends had that was not at the top of the list for my Iowa friends.
5) The Magic Bus.

Norm’s Tailgating
Since 1215 Melrose Ave. was only a few blocks from where we parked we planned to meet Hawkeyes Jim there first and then head out for other tailgates. However, since we did not arrive at Norm’s Tailgating until 9:00 am we decided to stay at Norm’s since the game started in only a couple of hours. We did not want to waste our valuable pre-game time looking for the other tailgates.

Obtaining Tickets
Another reason I did not need to find the other tailgates was that Hawkeyes Jim sent me a text message asking if I needed an extra ticket while we were parking. I did since I always show up at the stadium without a ticket unless absolutely necessary. I told him I did and he said the ticket cost him $45. We headed over to Norm’s Tailgating immediately.

Also, it was a good thing Hawkeyes Jim offered me his ticket. As we walked from Norm’s tailgating to the stadium at 10:30 am there were a lot of people who were looking for tickets – meaning I would have had to pay more from a ticket scalper. Most Iowa fans would not sell their extra ticket to a fan wearing Northwestern colors.

The Game
As a Northwestern fan the game started out just as I thought it would as Iowa’s QB Ricki Stanzi hitting Marvin McNutt for a 74 yard touchdown pass one minute into the first quarter. Northwestern was able to hold Iowa to only a field goal through the rest of the first quarter.

However, the entire game changed with one play in the second quarter. In that play:

First, Stanzi was sacked by Northwestern’s Corey Wooten.
Second, Wooten also caused Stanzi to fumble the ball.
Third, Northwestern’s Marshall Thomas recovered the ball in the end zone for a Northwestern touchdown.
And fourth and most important for Northwestern was that Stanzi left the game with a high ankle sprain injury making him miss the rest of the game and most likely the remainder of the season.

After that play Northwestern was able to keep Iowa from scoring for the rest of the game and in the meantime took a 14-10 lead heading into halftime before taking a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Iowa turned the ball over on downs with 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Northwestern beat their first top 10 opponent since defeating #6 Ohio St. in Evanston on October 2, 2004.

Post Game Dining
Since we did not eat before the game and only had a snack during the game, we grabbed food at the temporary food stands on Melrose Ave. after the game. Some of the stands lowered their prices since they would have to throw out the food if not purchased.

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