Hawkeyes re­main short­handed — and un­de­feated

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY JEFF ARNOLD

evanston, ill. — Find­ing a way to win while los­ing starters to in­jury has be­come the norm for Iowa this sea­son. That con­tin­ued Satur­day. Akrum Wadley stepped in for in­jured run­ning back Jor­dan Canz­eri and ran for 204 yards and tied a school record with four rush­ing touch­downs to carry the 17thranked Hawkeyes over No. 20 North­west­ern, 40-10.

With the vic­tory, Iowa (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) grabbed con­trol of the West Divi­sion race and does not have a ranked op­po­nent left on its reg­u­lar sea­son sched­ule.

De­spite be­ing down five starters be­fore the game, the Hawkeyes con­tin­ued to roll and are off to their best start since their 2009 Orange Bowl sea­son, when they won nine in a row.

“The tough­ness and the fight of this team has — you can ex­pect that any week,” quar­ter­back C.J. Beathard said. “The way this team fights, I felt like we would come out on top.”

With Canz­eri side­lined in the first quar­ter with an an­kle in­jury, Wadley took over for Iowa. The in­jury oc­curred fol­low­ing a short run when North­west­ern line­backer Jaylen Prater landed on Canz­eri, fold­ing his an­kle un­der a pile of play­ers.

Af­ter­ward, Iowa Coach Kirk Fer­entz said it was be­lieved that Canz­eri had suf­fered a sprain. The Hawkeyes are off next week, though, leav­ing time to heal.

“Next man in — we’ve got four great backs, [and] it’s just a big play wait­ing to hap­pen,” Wadley said. “Any one of us is ca­pa­ble of mak­ing big runs, and I just stepped up to the plate.”

Wadley, who had only eight car­ries com­ing into the game, scored his third touch­down on a two­yard run with 6 min­utes 42 sec­onds re­main­ing in the third quar­ter, ex­tend­ing Iowa’s lead to 23-10. His record-ty­ing fourth scor­ing run, which fol­lowed a North­west­ern fum­ble on the Wild­cats’ en­su­ing­drive, cameo na four-yard run.

North­west­ern (5-2, 1-2) turned the ball over three times as the Wild­cats lost for the sec­ond straight week af­ter five con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries. Af­ter los­ing 38-0 to Michi­gan last week, the Wild­cats’ de­fense — which was sur­ren­der­ing a Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion­lead­ing seven points a game be­fore the loss against the Wolver­ines—strug­gled again. They al­lowed 492 to­tal yards.

North­west­ern scored 10 points in the sec­ond quar­ter to get within 16-10 at half­time. It then failed to score the rest of the way.

The Wild­cats now are at­tempt­ing to avoid the kind of col­lapse they ex­pe­ri­enced in 2013, when they lost seven straight games af­ter win­ning their first four.

“We’ll get right back to work — the team has to make a de­ci­sion. [Are we] the team that won five games and made plays and we’re mak­ing plays all over the place?” North­west­ern Coach Pat Fitzger­ald said. “Or [are we] a team the last two weeks quite frankly that is void of mak­ing plays?”

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