Well, this is the first time I've had to write about a loss, and it's not fun. The good news is that I've had a couple hours already to emotionally deal with it, because let's be honest, we all knew what was going to happen when Stanzi went down. There's a reason Stanzi stayed in the game last week after throwing 4 picks in the 3rd, and that reason showed itself today.
In no way would I put this on Vandenberg though. He played okay considering the circumstances (though 9 of 27 for 82 yards is not very good) and I think he'll be a good QB in a couple of year. Besides the first pick I thought he made good decisions (though at times he was a little indecisive). He just wasn't quite dialed in and missed some open receivers.
Unfortunately as well, the run game never really got going. Northwestern had the luxury of stacking the box throughout the middle of the game (because without Stanzi we were obviously going to run more) and then sitting back late in the game when Iowa obviously had to pass to come back.
The defense, I thought played well and did what it does. They gave up yards, but not points (only 10). Northwestern, of course, had their own quarterback issues to deal with but Kafka was still able to play and Persa had a little bit more experience than Vandenberg going in to the game.
Iowa was kind of unlucky for the first time this week too (SI curse....?). They had a TD called back for a questionable holding call. Vandenberg was within a few feet of hitting DJK that likely would have been a TD in the 4th to tie. Murray missed a field goal, by what looked like inches that would have made it 13-14 and may have changed the game. Wegher lost his first fumble (that clearly was not a fumble...why didn't they stop play to review that one?) of the year.
In the end though, it's hard to win a game with 4 turnovers and your backup quarterback. The Rose Bowl is still possible (go Penn State!) so let's hope Stanzi heals quickly. And even if Iowa has to go with Vandenberg and ends up losing the next 2, it's been a good ride.