Sept. 25, 2004
ANN ARBOR, MI. – Iowa gave up five turnovers and No. 18 Michigan capitalized on four of them as the Wolverines ended the Hawkeyes’ two-year domination of the series, 30-17, on Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 111,000 inside Michigan Stadium.
The troubles started in the second quarter for Iowa (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today) when leading wide receiver Ed Hinkel was forced to fumble by Lawrence Reid, allowing Ernest Shazor to recover on the Wolverine 42-yard line.
And despite the best efforts of junior cornerback Jovon Johnson, Michigan quarterback Chad Henne connected with All-American wide receiver Braylon Edwards for a 58-yard touchdown on the next play and put the Wolverines up 10-7 with 8:28 to go in the first half. Michigan would not relinquish the lead in the game.
Edwards would have six receptions for 150 yards on the day, the average catch being for 25 yards.
The next Hawkeye drive didn’t get much better as Leon Hall picked off Iowa quarterback Drew Tate’s first incomplete pass of the game with about a minute-and-a-half left on the clock for the half.
Henne, a true freshman, connected with Edwards again for a 39-yard pass on the very next play, which set up an easy 1-yard TD run by the quarterback. The extra-point kick by Garrett Rivas failed and gave the Wolverines a 16-7 lead at halftime.
Henne would end up 16-of-28 for 236 yards.
But the Big Ten Conference season-opening loss in “The Big House” proved that the Hawkeyes may be starting to get their groove back after last week’s 44-7 loss to Arizona State in Tempe.
“After a game like last week, a lot of questions come up, and I’d be lying if I said we weren’t concerned this week,” Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We don’t want to assume people will just bounce back. But I thought our players worked real hard this week, and now we need to play on a more consistent basis.”
Iowa got the game started on offense with a dramatic diving touchdown catch by Hinkel on a 2-yard pass from Tate. Hinkel had seven catches for 89 yards on the day.
Tate connected with Hinkel again on a 10-yard pass play for Iowa’s second and final score with 7:28 to go in the game. Tate went 24-of-32 for 270 yards for his best performance to date.
The sophomore shot caller also put up with a facemask by Shawn Crable that knocked his helmet off in the fourth on the drive that culminated with Hinkel’s score.
“We have some tough guys on our team, but I don’t know if there are any tougher than him.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz on Drew Tate
“We have some tough guys on our team, but I don’t know if there are any tougher than him,” Ferentz said of Tate. “We have a few that may rival him. He’s a leader, he’s a tough-minded guy, he hates losing, but he’s not afraid of anything.”
Tate also earned the praise of ABC broadcaster Gary Danielson who said: “Tate is going to be a great Big Ten quarterback before he’s done.”
While the passing game looked as good as ever – three receivers were in double-digit catch averages – the running game that so lagged at ASU didn’t restart against Michigan.
Iowa had 28 rushes for 61 yards but lost 76 for a net minus-15 yards on the ground. But unlike last week, the Hawkeyes came out with 255 yards of total offense, a 155-yard improvement.
“By no means are we where we want to be,” Ferentz said. “I don’t think we’re at the 2002 running game level. But I think we can put a running game together. They need to make strides, continue working and not get discouraged. We’re extremely young up there from an experience standpoint and we just have to give those guys things they can handle.”
Ferentz did say the offensive line showed improvement.
“I thought the guys’ effort was a little better today,” he said. “They acted a little more like Big Ten guys and that’s going to be imperative.
“The bottom line is this: Michigan has excellent players on defense, and we knew that coming in. We have a lot of things to clean up, there’s no question about that. But in some strange way I think we did better and grew a little up front.”
The far more veteran defense also rebounded against the Wolverines. Defensive end Matt Roth walked away with his first sack since Kent State and had seven tackles on the day. And linebackers Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway also led the team with 10 tackles apiece.
Part of the change in Roth’s stats came with his moving to tackle on a few series, avoiding the double team that Iowa State and ASU put on the preseason All-American.
“I think we took some strides today. We still have a lot of things to work on, but the guys still like playing, so it’s going to be fun and we’re going to give it our all. We have a lot of football ahead of us.”
Defensive end Matt Roth
“Matt has some pretty good ability,” Ferentz said. “He got caught on a few penalties, trying to get the edge. But I think he’s just trying to make a play in those situations. Those guys up front have just been battling and working hard all season long. Matt certainly we’ve had to move around, and we’ve been working on that in practice.”
“It’s going to take a little time to get used to. We just started doing it this week,” Roth said. “But it’s nice to change it up.”
Despite the loss, Roth sounded happy with his team’s effort.
“I think we took some strides today,” the senior said. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but the guys still like playing, so it’s going to be fun and we’re going to give it our all. We have a lot of football ahead of us.”
Iowa will return home to historic Kinnick Stadium next Saturday for an 11 am Homecoming matchup against Michigan State before a bye-week. That game will be televised live by ESPN Plus.
“It’s always good to get home, I’m sure,” Ferentz said.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com