Oct. 29, 2009

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Official Sports Report, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free. To receive the UI’s OSR or to learn more, click HERE.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — One word accurately defines the Iowa Hawkeyes this season: Resiliency.

Iowa’s magical season continued Saturday night with another heart stopping last-second triumph, this time edging Michigan State 15-13 at Spartan Stadium to give the Hawkeyes their first-ever 8-0 start. Four of the Hawkeyes’ wins this season have come by a combined eight points, which marks the first time Iowa has ever won four contests by a combined eight points or less in a season.

Iowa’s never-give-up attitude shined bright again against the Spartans when quarterback Ricky Stanzi and the Iowa Hawkeyes orchestrated a game-winning 10-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a seven-yard Stanzi-to-Marvin McNutt scoring reception as time expired.

The victory marked the first time the road team has won in the series since 1995 and was also Head Coach Kirk Ferentz’s first win at Michigan State. Ferentz couldn’t be prouder of the entire football team’s grit and determination.

“Michigan State did a great job of coming back and taking it down for the touchdown drive before our guys responded,” said Ferentz. “It’s really representative of the kind of football team we have and the way they’ve been playing this year. They refuse to think they’re out of it until the end of the game and I just can’t say enough about our guys, the effort they gave and the way they pulled this thing out.”

The Michigan State defense kept McNutt silent for 58 minutes, but the sophomore caught two passes, including the game-winning touchdown on Iowa’s final drive. The native of St. Louis says this team embraces close games, knows what it takes to win and is thrilled to remain undefeated.

“It is an awesome feeling,” a jubilant McNutt said. “Iowa has never done that before, so to be that team that does it is a great feeling. Especially to win it like this, we love to play these types of games.”

Iowa becomes just the second team to ever win at Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State in the same season (Michigan in 1997).

Wayne Larrivee, who called the game on the Big Ten Network, said this is what special seasons are made of after the Hawkeyes scored the game winner. His partner, analyst Chris Martin, added that championship teams either find a way or make a way and, so far, the Hawkeyes have done just that.

“The Hawkeyes are adversity killers,” said Martin during the broadcast. “Every time this team is up against the ropes, they take all your best punches, but in the end they find a way to knock you out.”

College football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has seen the Hawkeyes, in person, twice this season. Sunday night on ESPNs “College Football Live” Herbstreit said one of the main reasons Iowa has been successful this season is because of the coaching staff.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who are coaching against Iowa who say this one of the best coached football teams they’ve seen in a long time,” said Herbstreit.

Iowa is halfway through its conference schedule and will finish out its regular season with three of four games at home in Kinnick Stadium. After playing its previous two contests on the road, the Black and Gold return home for a two-game home stand against Indiana this Saturday and Northwestern on Nov. 7. Both games are slated to start at 11 a.m. Iowa time and be televised to a national cable audience on ESPN.