Oct. 4, 2008
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EAST LANSING, Mich. — Shonn Greene compiled a career-high for rushing attempts and after 29 carries had a career-high 160 yards. The University of Iowa junior would have traded it all for 12 inches on a fourth-and-1 play from the Michigan State 21 with 2-minutes, 16-seconds remaining this afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
Greene was stopped for a three-yard loss by Michigan State linebacker Adam Decker on Iowa’s final offensive play and the Spartans held on for a 16-13 victory in front of a homecoming crowd of 77,526.
“They loaded the defense pretty well on that play,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We couldn’t get to the middle linebacker. If we pull the ball out and throw it, it might have been a touchdown, but hindsight is 20-20.”
Greene finished with 157 yards (second-most for his career) on 30 carries as the Hawkeyes suffered a heart-breaking defeat and slipped to 3-3 overall, 0-2 in the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State improved to 5-1, 2-0.
Iowa battled back and nearly played through three turnovers, thanks to an outstanding defensive effort, led by Mitch King, who had seven tackles, a sack and 1 ½ tackles for loss. The Hawkeyes held Michigan State running back Javon Ringer to 91 yards on 25 carries. Take away a 29-yard scamper by the leading rushing in the conference late in the game and he averaged only 2.6 yards per attempt against a stingy Iowa defense.
Turnovers made an unwelcomed return to the Iowa offense in the first half as the Hawkeyes turned the ball over three times, which led to 10 Michigan State points. Iowa lost a fumble at the Spartan 13 and lost an interception at the Spartan 4.
“When you’re doing those kinds of things, it’s going to catch up to you, especially in conference play,” Ferentz said.
Iowa led in nearly every statistical category with an advantage in first downs (19-15), total yards (309-275) and possession time (30:09-29:51).
“What we need to do right now is outscore folks. Our guys competed hard and what we need to do now is experience success.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
“What we need to do right now is outscore folks,” Ferentz said. “Our guys competed hard and what we need to do now is experience success.”
UI quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 15 of 22 passes for 158 yards. Andy Brodell hauled in five passes for 79 yards and a 31-yard touchdown that brought the Hawkeyes to within 16-13 late in the game.
The Hawkeyes chewed up yardage on their first possession, but it was Michigan State that put the opening points on the board. Iowa received the kickoff and advanced 48 yards on five plays before turning the ball over to the Spartans at the Michigan State 13. On second-and-1 from the Michigan State 13, Stanzi was sneaking ahead for a potential first down when he was jostled off tackle and Spartan safety Otis Wiley jarred the ball loose before teammate Dwayne Holmes recovered.
Iowa held on its first defensive series, but the second time Michigan State had the ball quarterback Brian Hoyer found two wide-open receivers that resulted in a 7-0 lead. On first-and-10 from the MSU 15, Hoyer found receiver B.J. Cunningham down the Iowa sideline for a 52-yard gain to the Hawkeye 12. Three plays later Hoyer competed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt, capping a 6-play, 80-yard drive. Brett Swenson’s PAT kick made it 7-0.
The Hawkeyes moved the ball well on the first series of the game and did the same at the end of the first quarter. Stanzi completed back-to-back passes to Brodell for 13 and 11 yards. Jewell Hampton then rushed for 11 yards giving Iowa its third consecutive first down and left the ball at the Michigan State 14 as the first 15 minutes came to a close. Iowa picked up just nine yards on the next four plays. A third-and-goal pass by Stanzi was intercepted by Chris L. Rucker. The Spartans embarked on a 16-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal by Brett Swenson, giving Michigan State a 10-0 lead.
Iowa lost a second fumble on its first play following a 23-yard kickoff return by Hampton. Stanzi rolled to his right to elude a heavy rush when Trevor Anderson forced a fumble that was recovered by Oren Wilson at the Hawkeye 12. Iowa’s defense pushed Michigan State back three yards on four plays, but Swenson converted his second field goal — this one from 32 yards — to make the score 13-0.
The Hawkeyes took momentum into the locker room by putting together a 9-play, 72-yard drive that took the ball from their own 20 to the Michigan State 7. Trent Mossbrucker’s 25-yard field goal as time expired reduced the Spartan lead to 13-3.
Turnovers removed the shine from Iowa’s halftime statistical edge. The Hawkeyes had 10 first downs (to nine by MSU) and a 16-yard advantage in total yards (156-140). Greene rushed for 54 yards on 12 carries, easily outdueling Ringor, who was limited to just 1.8 yards per 12 attempts (21 yards). Stanzi was 10 of 14 for 109 yards and was sacked twice. Brodell and Tony Moeaki both had four receptions for the Hawkeyes.
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter and headed into the final 15 minutes with the Spartans leading 16-6. Thanks to impressive kickoff returns by Hampton and punt returns by Brodell, the Hawkeyes enjoyed good field position in the third quarter. They began drives at their own 44 and 42-yard lines and then at midfield. Iowa leaned heavily on Greene, who picked up 54 yards on nine carries in the frame.
The Iowa defense came up with two big plays in the second half — an 11-yard sack by King in the third quarter and a nine-yard interception return by Jordan Bernstine in the fourth quarter.
The Hawkeyes scored seven points off a turnover of their own — the first career interception by Bernstine at the Iowa 25. After two punishing runs by Green and two completions to Brandon Myers, Stanzi found Brodell beind the Michigan State defense for a 31-yard touchdown pass with 8:47 left in the game. Mossbrucker’s PAT made it a three-point game, 16-13. Iowa’s 5-play, 66-yard scoring drive erased just 2:20 from the game clock, setting up the dramatic final drive that ended at the Michigan State 23.
“On the positive side, I saw some things that looked good,” Ferentz said. “I do think our team is growing right now.”
Iowa has now lost four games in a row inside Spartan Stadium. Today’s result halted a two-game winning streak by the Hawkeyes in the series.
Iowa plays at Indiana next Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff (Iowa time). Last season the Hoosiers spoiled Iowa’s homecoming, 38-20.