Sept. 16, 2006
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IOWA CITY — Iowa could have folded to Iowa State yet again. Drew Tate wouldn’t let that happen.
The Hawkeyes’ senior threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns and No. 16 Iowa rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat archrival Iowa State 27-17 on Saturday.
The Cyclones (2-1) had taken six of the last eight from Iowa – including a 23-3 beating last season – and looked poised to make it seven of nine. But Tate, who sat out last week’s overtime win at Syracuse with an abdominal strain, led the Hawkeyes (3-0) back by throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the second half.
“The best thing from my vantage point was that it looked we grew in that second half and improved as a football team,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “At least we’re on the right path.”
Amid the hype surrounding the state’s marquee sporting event, Iowa’s players went through an emotionally trying week. Linebacker Mike Klinkenborg’s father passed away from an apparent heart attack and wide receiver Calvin Davis – a locker room favorite – tore his Achilles’ tendon in practice Wednesday.
Klinkenborg returned to the team Thursday and made eight tackles.
“I know Mike’s father is looking down and smiling right now, very proud of Mike’s doing on the football field,” Ferentz said. “To me, he’s a model Hawkeye.”
Tate threw for 93 yards on consecutive scoring drives that put Iowa ahead 24-17 early in the fourth quarter. He found Tony Moeaki for a 19-yard touchdown with 3:32 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 17, then hit Tom Busch with a 2-yard scoring strike that proved to be the game-winning score.
Both Moeaki and Busch, along with sophomore Andy Brodell, caught their first touchdown passes Saturday. Freshman Dominique Douglas led Iowa with six receptions for 88 yards in his first career start.
“I like the younger guys because they don’t know anything except what to do. They’ve got tunnel vision,” Tate said.
Iowa’s defense finished off the Cyclones once they had a lead to work with. The Hawkeyes kept Iowa State from crossing the 50 on its final four drives, and bailed Tate out after he committed the game’s only turnover.
Tate threw an interception at the Iowa State 17 with less than six minutes left. But Iowa’s defense held the Cyclones on four downs, as Bret Meyer’s desperation dive for the first-down marker fell half a yard short.
Kyle Schlicher iced the win with a 44-yard field goal with 42 seconds left.
Meyer finished 15-of-31 for 152 yards, and passed Seneca Wallace as Iowa State’s career leader in passing yards. He also ran for 74 yards and a touchdown.
“They played with great emotion and energy,” Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. “We didn’t come over here to lose. It’s a really bad feeling.”
Iowa’s Scott Chandler made a spectacular 27-yard catch late in the second quarter that helped swing the momentum back in the Hawkeyes’ favor. Chandler, who had killed Iowa’s previous drive with two straight penalties, juggled a pass from Tate, batted the ball over Jon Banks’ head and pulled it down at the Iowa State 11.
“I know he wanted payback a little bit,” Ferentz said of Chandler. “That’s what you expect from a very good football player … that helped ignite us.”
Tate found Brodell for a touchdown pass on the next play, pulling Iowa within 14-10 by halftime. Bret Culberson pushed Iowa State’s lead back to seven with a 33-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.
The Cyclones led 14-3 after a 13-play, 87-yard drive capped by a 9-yard TD run from Meyer. Iowa State ran the ball 10 times for 58 yards during the drive, and converted the only third down it faced.
The Cyclones ran for 171 yards – 131 more than Iowa had allowed per game this season.
Iowa State’s DeAndre Jackson took the opening kickoff 62 yards and the Cyclones capitalized with a touchdown just 3:41 into the game. Meyer found Todd Blythe in single coverage and tossed an 8-yard jump ball touchdown pass to put Iowa State up 7-0.
The Hawkeyes enter Big 10 play undefeated for the first time since 2003. If they can get past winless Illinois next Saturday, a showdown with No. 1 Ohio State at Kinnick Stadium looms on Sept. 30.
“I’ve been on some good teams in my life, but as far as this team, there’s more team chemistry than I’ve ever been on. It’s not even close,” Tate said. “We’re all the same. We’ve accepted that, and we’re just playing together.”