Iowa answered many of its fans questions about not only their offense, but also their choice to start sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock against the Huskies early on.
Midway through the fourth quarter the Hawkeyes went up 27-20 after kicker Mike Meyer booted a 44-yard field goal.
Iowa accomplished more first downs than the Huskies — 24 to 20 — and won the rushing battle 202 to 163.
But the difference however, came at the quarterback position.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch threw a pair of touchdowns in the first half but the Huskies still trailed 24-17 going into the third quarter.
Rudock outplayed many people’s expectations through the first three quarters. He completed 15-of-27 passes for 206 yards with a touchdown and one interception — Rudock also had a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Hawkeyes had fought back from a 10-point deficit in the first quarter and seemed to take away the Huskies early momentum, until the final five minutes of the game.
After Meyer’s field goal made it 27-20 in the fourth quarter, Lynch and company took the field in front of nearly 70,000 screaming fans.
Iowa found itself in great position. The Hawkeyes had held Lynch and the offense up until this point and forced the Huskies into a crucial third-down situation.
Lynch however, was not fazed. On third-and-seven the Northern Illinois quarterback found wide receiver Da’Ron Brown for a 33-yard touchdown strike.
Lynch once again showed why he should be considered one of the best QB’s in the nation after leading his team through a 6-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game at 27.
Iowa wouldn’t recover.
The Hawkeyes stopped the Huskies’ last drive and put the football back into the hands of their inexperienced quarterback with a minute and thirty seconds left in the game.
Rudock could’ve started his legacy right there, in his first game ever as a starter, but instead threw a costly interception that eventually cost his team a victory.
The Northern Illinois offense would go on to set up a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left for their first win over the Hawkeyes in nine attempts.
Last season, the Hawkeyes lost four games by four points or less and this one would be no different.
The narrow loss was the first home opening loss for Iowa since 2000.