Oct. 10, 2009
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Scheduling a Homecoming foe that has 42 conference championships shows confidence. Defeating that foe shows much more than promise.
Iowa scored six crucial points off five turnovers and won for the 10th consecutive time, 30-28, over Michigan on Saturday evening in front of another sold-out Kinnick Stadium. The victory, Iowa’s sixth in a row to start the season, was its first Homecoming triumph since defeating Purdue 47-17 on Oct. 7, 2006.
The last time the Hawkeyes started with six wins was 1985 (seven in a row). Iowa is now 6-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten; Michigan dipped to 4-2, 1-2.
“I’m proud of our football team,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Michigan came to play and they played extremely hard, too. It was a great football game.”
After missing three games because of injury, Hawkeye tight end Tony Moeaki returned to the lineup and hauled in six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, linebacker Jeremiha Hunter compiled a game-high 12 tackles with a fumble recovery and pass interception. The victory was sealed when Iowa free safety Brett Greenwood intercepted a Denard Robinson pass with 46 seconds remaining.
“It was good to see Tony back for a lot of reasons,” Ferentz said. “He’s emerged as a strong leader and to see him running down the middle of the field with the ball under his arm was nice to see, too.”
The Hawkeyes won the yardage battle by 48 (367 to 319) and held an advantage of more than four minutes in time of possession (32:15 to 27:45).
These teams had not met since 2006 and it was Iowa’s first win in the series since a 30-27 decision at home in 2003.
It was an entertaining opening first 15 minutes. The teams combined for 24 points and both quarterbacks were intercepted on their first pass attempts.
“I’m proud of our football team. Michigan came to play and they played extremely hard, too. It was a great football game.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
Wolverine cornerback Donovan Warren found the end zone 46 seconds into the contest after picking off a second-down pass attempt and returning it 40 yards for a score. Jason Olesnavage added the PAT and Iowa found itself in a 7-0 deficit.
The early hole didn’t deter the Hawkeye offense. Iowa answered with a nine-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a Moeaki touchdown pass from Stanzi. Faced with third-and-12, Stanzi made a superb audible that led to the scoring toss, with Moeaki wide open and sprinting untouched to the end zone. Hawkeye kicker Daniel Murray tied the score at 7-7 with a successful PAT with 9:20 left in the quarter.
Michigan’s highly-touted freshman quarterback Tate Forcier had his first pass attempt swiped by Hunter, who returned it 16 yards to the Wolverine 19. The Hawkeyes used a 28-yard field goal by Murray to take a 10-7 lead.
On its next drive, Michigan — and specifically Forcier — converted a fourth-and-4 to extend a 12-play series that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Brandon Minor. It is the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Hawkeyes in 33 quarters, dating back to last November against Penn State.
Iowa pulled to within 14-13 with a 41-yard field goal by Murray with 12:50 left in the half. The Hawkeyes got the ball after a second Forcier turnover — this time a fumble that was recovered by Hunter at the Wolverine 46. The five-play scoring drive included a controversial second-down pass play from Stanzi to running back Adam Robinson inside the Michigan 4 that was ruled incomplete.
Brandon Wegher capped a 78-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard scoring leap as the Hawkeyes regained the advantage, 20-14, with 5:49 left in the half. Stanzi completed 2 of 3 passes on the series and both third-down completions were perfect throws and great catches. The first was for 33 yards to Trey Stross and the other was for 47 yards to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on third-and-24 that placed the ball on the Wolverine 8.
With Michigan driving late in the first half, the Hawkeye defense forced a third turnover. The Wolverines marched 51 yards to the Iowa 30 when Minor was stripped of the football by Karl Klug and Adrian Clayborn recovered at the Hawkeye 31. Stanzi completed passes to Johnson-Koulianos (11 yards), Wegher (nine yards) and Brett Morse (16 yards) before Murray lined up for a 48-yard field goal. Iowa was whistled for delay of game and Murray’s ensuing 53-yard attempt fell just short as time expired in the half.
Stanzi threw for 201 yards during a first half that saw the Hawkeyes outgain Michigan 204-159. Iowa also converted 7 of 11 times on third down and scored on both red zone chances.
“This team has been responsive and they’re working hard. We’ll probably be involved in more two-pointers than 20-pointers.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
After a three-and-out by the Iowa defense, the Hawkeye offense put together a nine-play, 63-yard drive that ended with Murray converting a third field goal for the first time in his career. The drive featured four consecutive plays that picked up 11 or more yards — runs of 19 and 15 yards by Robinson, a 12-yard run by Stanzi and an 11-yard pass completion from Stanzi to Moeaki. Murray extended the Hawkeye lead to 23-14 with the 40-yarder that had plenty of distance.
Minor carried the ball seven times for 44 yards and scored from a yard out to cut Iowa’s lead to 23-21 with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Iowa had scored the previous 13 points.
A two-fold special team’s nightmare by Michigan gave the Hawkeyes another scoring opportunity, but it took an extra possession before Iowa extended the lead to 30-21. On fourth-and-1 from midfield, Hawkeye punter Ryan Donahue was roughed, which would have merited an automatic first down. But at the other end of the kick, Wolverine Greg Mathews fumbled at his own 16 and it was recovered by Iowa’s William Lowe. Stanzi completed passes to Moeaki and Wegher and a run by Wegher put the ball on the 1. A fourth down pass attempt from Stanzi to Moeaki fell incomplete for one of the few times in the game.
Iowa’s defense held Minor for no gain and then forced Forcier into two consecutive incomplete passes before Wolverine punter Zoltan Mesko kicked from the back of the end zone. After a 20-yard return by Colin Sandeman, the Hawkeyes started from the Michigan 42. Stanzi and Moeaki hooked up this time for a 42-yard touchdown throw-and-catch on the next play and Iowa led by nine points.
The teams traded possessions before the Wolverines made it interesting. Michigan executed an 11-play drive that covered 59 yards, but more importantly, it also consumed 4:26 of game clock. Robinson, the back-up quarterback, orchestrated the series and he scored from three yards out to make the score 30-28 with 3:16 remaining. Robinson carried the ball eight times for 42 yards on the drive.
The Hawkeyes will now hit the road for the next two weeks — Oct. 17 at Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1) and Oct. 24 at Michigan State (3-3, 2-1).