The Northwestern Wildcats are heading to the Big Ten championship game after they clinched the West Division crown with a 14-10 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The victory will give the Wildcats a chance at a conference championship, but they will have to deal with two more games before they get to Indianapolis in early December.
Isaiah Bowser rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown, and Bennett Skowronek caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, which was the winning score in the tough contest.
The teams engaged in a defensive struggle in the first half of the game, with an Iowa field goal the lone scoring of the opening 30 minutes. Things opened up a bit in the second half, with Bowser rushing for a 34-yard touchdown early in the frame to give Northwestern a 7-3 lead.
Just five minutes later, Nate Stanley found Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a long touchdown pass, giving Iowa the lead right back at 10-7.
As the fourth quarter got underway, the Wildcats got the football back near midfield after a strong punt return, and they scored within a minute to take the lead. On a spectacular diving play, Skowronek somehow managed to hold the ball in the crook of his arm, and after a video review it was confirmed as a touchdown, putting Northwestern ahead 14-10.
The Wildcats’ defense then came on strong, forcing a pair of big turnovers late, as Mekhi Sargent fumbled with six minutes to go and Ivory Kelly-Martin fumbled in the closing minutes to give Northwestern the victory.
Northwestern will next head to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers, and then will take on Illinois in their final game of the regular season before heading to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.