IOWA CITY — When it mattered most Saturday, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter found himself with nowhere to turn to, nowhere to run.
Iowa generally played assignment-sound football as Colter attempted to work his magic against the Hawkeyes again.
“He’s a tough, slippery guy to catch and it was a great effort by all 11 guys,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after watching Iowa give the Wildcats’ senior no room to work in a 17-10 overtime victory at Kinnick Stadium.
Colter did bring his team back from a 10-0 halftime deficit. But the Hawkeyes sacked him five times, including twice in four snaps during overtime as Iowa put an end to its two-game Big Ten losing streak and shed some of the frustration that the elusive quarterback has caused Iowa in recent seasons.
“It looked like he had nowhere to go with the football and the guys up front stayed where they should stay,’’ Ferentz said. “They didn’t get out of the lanes, so he didn’t have an alley to run through.’’
Returning to action after missing last week’s loss to Minnesota because of an ankle injury, Colter finished with 60 yards on 18 carries, but none went for more than 13 yards.
That was 106 yards fewer than Colter ran for a year ago in a win over Iowa.
“He’s been tough on us, and I felt like we came out and took care of our assignments, did what we were supposed to do, and the defense worked the way it is supposed to work,’’ linebacker James Morris said.
In addition to recording six sacks — Iowa dropped Trevor Siemian once as well to record its highest sack total in more than five seasons — the Hawkeyes recorded 12 tackles for a loss to earn its Big Ten win at home since the 2012 conference opener against Minnesota.
“We set a tone right away and didn’t let them get anything going,’’ said Christian Kirksey, who finished with 12 tackles to lead Iowa. “We made the stops we needed to make, forced a couple of turnovers and never gave them a chance in overtime. It feels good to have a chance to celebrate one like this.’’
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Colter did complete 11-of-14 passes and coach Pat Fitzgerald felt his starter “played his tail off.’’
“I thought he played like a warrior, played possessed,’’ Fitzgerald said.
But nothing came easily as Iowa limited Colter to 3.3 yards per carry, nearly two yards below his season average.
“We did what we needed to do to get the win and that had to start with how we played against the quarterback,’’ defensive tackle Carl Davis said. “We couldn’t let him get loose or make anything easy for him. For the most part, we did the job.’’