IOWA CITY Louis Trinca-Pasat ended up flat on his belly, staring straight down field into what probably felt like an abyss. Not a good thing against Northwestern and quarterback Kain Colter.
Not good at all.
On fourth-and-8 in overtime, Iowa's defensive tackles, Trinca-Pasat and Carl Davis, ran a perfect twist. Davis picked both of Northwestern's inside blockers and Trinca-Pasat spun free and had Colter in reach.
He whiffed and ended up splayed. Colter was free, with Northwestern needing a TD to tie the game.
"Louis took his shot and created a conflict for the offense," linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "Other players started flowing. You have to take your shot and then everyone else has to go to the ball."
Trinca-Pasat, a 290-pound junior, took his shot and ended up on his stomach. His shot didn't stop there.
He popped right back up. Defensive end Drew Ott fought through a block and held contain. Trinca-Pasat caught Colter from behind.
"That's the kind of guy he is," Davis said. "He won't quit on the play. He's just always going. He gives great effort."
That ended it. The Hawkeyes, now 6-3 in overtime (2-1 at Kinnick Stadium) ran out on the field to celebrate their 17-10 overtime victory. While Iowa's offense was bullied in the second half, the defense stamped its name on this one. Remember last season, when the Wildcats rushed for 349 yards against Iowa? The Hawkeyes held up, allowing 225 rushing yards. It's not a dominant number, but remember last season against Northwestern?
"That's something with Louis and our team, that's the type of players we have," said linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who said he started to cramp up at halftime because of chasing Colter. "We're going to fight for four quarters. That's the type of team we have. You can build a lot off that. It sums up our team."
The fourth-and-8 was representative of the day for the defense. Colter, who rolled up 164 yards total offense (exactly half of Northwestern's total) dropped back to pass. The coverage was there and no one was open. Trinca-Pasat forced his hand, and the contain was there.
"It looked like he had nowhere to go with the football, and then the good news is the guys up front stayed where they should stay," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We didn't get out of our lanes, so he didn't have an alley to run through. It was a great effort for all 11 guys."
Sacks are a slippery commodity against a read-option quarterback like Colter, but the Hawkeyes were credited with six, the most since they had six against Florida International in 2008. Iowa now has 14 sacks, one more than the 13 it had last season, which was a Ferentz-era low.
"[Ohio State's] Braxton Miller is the quickest quarterback," said linebacker James Morris, who had two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery, "but Kain is the fastest. It's angles, leverage, understanding where your help is. A guy like me, if I'm standing flat-footed and he's coming at me, I'm not going to tackle him by myself."
Here's perhaps the best news for Iowa: Colter is a senior. Iowa never has to play him again. That will have them rushing the field again.
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