EVANSTON, Ill. -

Northwestern 28, Iowa 17: Kain Colter rushed for a career-high 166 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another as the host Wildcats kept their Big Ten title hopes alive by holding off the Hawkeyes.

Venric Mark rushed for 162 yards for Northwestern (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten), which outgained Iowa on the ground 117-25 in the first half and 349-122 for the game. Colter was 6-of-9 for 80 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown pass to Christian Jones.

Quarterback James Vandenberg was 24-of-38 for 214 yards and rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the Hawkeyes (4-4, 2-2), who lost top running back Mark Weisman to a leg strain late in the second quarter. Damon Bullock carried 22 times for 107 yards.

Colter capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run on the game's opening possession. His second score - a 2-yarder - came six plays after Mark's 72-yard run on first-and-10 from the Northwestern 1-yard line and made it 14-3.

The Wildcats took a 21-3 lead on their first possession of the third quarter when Colter found a seam and darted into the end zone, one play after Tyris Jones blocked Connor Kornbrath's punt out of bounds at the 3-yard line. Colter connected with Jones on the next possession to put Northwestern ahead 28-3.

Iowa, which enjoyed a nearly nine-minute time of possession advantage, closed to within 28-17 on Vanderberg's second 1-yard touchdown run with 6:37 remaining before turning it over on downs at the Northwestern 24 with 1:44 to go.

GAME NOTEBOOK: The Wildcats have won six of the last eight meetings. ... Northwestern scored touchdowns on three of its four trips into the red zone and is 32-of-35 with 22 TDs inside the 20 this season. ... Mark entered the game sixth in the Big Ten at 114.4 yards per game while Weisman, who had 21 yards on nine carries, was seventh (91.4).