Hawkeyes Hold Off Huskies

Oct. 28, 2006

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -Iowa redshirt freshman Jake Christensen threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, and Iowa survived a fourth-quarter rally by Northern Illinois on Saturday to beat the Huskies 24-14 and end a two-game losing streak.

The Hawkeyes held Garrett Wolfe, the nation’s leading rusher, to 66 yards on 22 carries. His sputtering Heisman campaign is most likely finished. After rushing for more than 160 yards in each of his first six games, including a 171-yard effort at No. 1 Ohio State, Wolfe has just 136 in his last three.

Christensen started in place of Drew Tate, who missed the game with a thumb injury. He completed 19-of-30 passes, including a 10-yard touchdown toss on fourth down with 3:56 left that clinched the win for Iowa (6-3).

Nursing a 3-point lead and facing 4th-and-4 at the Northern Illinois 10, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz put the ball – and the game – in the hands of his inexperienced quarterback. Christensen found Scott Chandler near the first-down marker, and the senior tight end dashed into the end zone to give Iowa a 10-point lead.

Iowa forced, then recovered a fumble with 3:11 left, only to turn it back over to Northern Illinois with 1:25 left. But linebacker Mike Humpal clinched the win with an interception with 1:01 left.

Trailing 17-0 after three quarters, Northern Illinois (5-4) scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to get within three midway through the fourth quarter.

Following Iowa kicker Kyle Schlicher’s second missed field goal of the day, Northern Illinois cut the deficit to 17-7 on a 1-yard TD run by Wolfe on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Horvath hit Britt Davis for a 25-yard touchdown pass to bring Northern Illinois within 17-14 with 8:40 left.

Iowa committed two turnovers and missed a field goal in the first half, but still led 17-0 at the break.

Christensen picked up his first career TD pass late in the first half – with a little help from Dominique Douglas. Christensen hit Douglas with a short pass, and he stretched across the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown that pushed the Hawkeyes’ lead to 17.

The Huskies let Iowa off the hook after Christensen’s first pass of the day was intercepted, and the Hawkeyes made them pay by marching 73 yards for a touchdown. Young broke off a 19-yard run to get Iowa to the Northern Illinois 7 and ran it in on the next play.

The Huskies squandered their chance to take an early lead by failing to convert a 4th down-and-2 at the Iowa 27. Trey Stross let a sure TD pass bounce off his numbers early in the second quarter, and Iowa had to settle for a field goal that pushed its lead to 10-0.

Young ran for a season-high 124 yards.