Valiant Hawkeye comeback sacked at Arizona

Stats | Boxscore

Sept. 19, 2010

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TUCSON, Ariz. — A series of strange events early on put No. 9 Iowa in a 20-point hole, but the Hawkeyes stormed back to tie the game before falling at No. 24 Arizona, 34-27, on Saturday evening in Arizona Stadium.

Iowa, which allowed the most points since Indiana scored 38 in 2007, had a punt blocked, a catchable pass deflected and returned for a pick-six, and allowed a 100-yard kickoff return.

And that was all in the game’s first 16 minutes.

“Both teams had their share of sloppy plays, but we got off to a fast start in that department,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That makes it tough, but our guys battled back.”

The Hawkeyes (2-1 overall) gave it a great effort in the second half, with Broderick Binns returning the pick-six favor with 8-minutes, 12-seconds left to knot the score at 27. Iowa also scored a touchdown after cornerback Shaun Prater recovered a muffed Wildcat punt.


The No. 24 Wildcats (3-0) secured the upset by executing a 73-yard scoring drive late in the nonconference contest.

“They made the plays they had to make at the end and we didn’t get it done,” Ferentz said.

“The bottom line is that we made too many mistakes to win the game,” UI linebacker Jeff Tarpinian said. “We knew we had to stop them and we didn’t get it done.”

Tarpinian led the Hawkeye defense with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback sack. On offense, quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 18 of 33 passes for 278 yards and touchdowns to Jewel Hampton, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt. Johnson-Koulianos was the receiving leader with seven catches for 114 yards. Hampton rushed for 30 yards on seven carries, but left the game with a knee injury.

“He’ll have an MRI when we get back to Iowa City; we’re cautiously optimistic,” Ferentz said.

Less than five minutes into the game, Arizona gained 13 yards, but led 14-0, thanks to a blocked punt and an 85-yard interception return. Iowa’s first three plays lost a yard before Ryan Donahue came in to punt standing at his own 5. Wildcat receiver Gino Crump blocked the kick and safety Marquis Flowers recovered at the Hawkeye 8.

“Both teams had their share of sloppy plays, but we got off to a fast start in that department. That makes it tough, but our guys battled back.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz

On third-and-goal, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to David Douglas to take a 7-0 lead at the 12:45 mark.

Iowa gobbled yardage on its ensuing drive with Allen Reisner and Johnson-Koulianos gaining 25 and 17 yards on pass completions from Stanzi before Hampton rushed for 17 yards to the Wildcat 20. Stanzi’s first down pass went through the hands of McNutt and bounced to Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade, who returned it 85 yards for a 14-0 lead.

Iowa’s defense responded by forcing a turnover and the Hawkeye offense converted it into a 9-play, 93-yard scoring drive. On first down from Iowa’s 15, Tarpinian forced a Nic Grigsby fumble that Jeremiha Hunter recovered at the 7. Stanzi completed four passes on the drive, including a 4-yard scoring toss to Hampton and Iowa crawled back into the game with 14:50 left in the half, 14-7.

While the Hawkeye offense methodically got Iowa back into the game, special teams — this time the kickoff coverage team — left the Hawkeyes scratching their heads. Travis Cobb took the kickoff a yard deep in his end zone and returned it untouched for a 100-yard score, extending the Wildcat margin to 21-7. Two field goals by Alex Zendejas — one from 22 yards and the other from 47 yards — gave Arizona a 27-7 lead at halftime.

Iowa led at the break in basically every category except the score. The Hawkeyes held advantages in total yards (241 to 209), first downs (13 to 9) and possession time (18:36 to 11:24). Stanzi completed 12 passes to six receivers and he was also the team’s leading ground-gainer with 38 yards on three carries.

Iowa was the first to add to its point total in the second half, using a 38-yard touchdown pass from Stanzi to Johnson-Koulianos with 7:15 left in the third quarter. The point-after kick by Trent Mossbrucker reduced Arizona’s lead to 27-14.

“The bottom line is that we made too many mistakes to win the game. We knew we had to stop them and we didn’t get it done.”
UI linebacker
Jeff Tarpinian

The Hawkeyes continued their dominance in the third period with defensive tackle Mike Daniels moving Arizona backwards 16 yards on back-to-back plays. He sacked Foles for 12 yards and then tossed Grigsby back four more on a delayed handoff.

More sloppy play greeted the start of the final quarter, but Iowa still had hope with 10:11 left when it started a drive from the Hawkeye 33. Iowa was forced to punt, but that brought about a fortunate turn of events for the Hawkeyes. Donahue’s 53-yard punt bounced off Wildcat returner Bug Wright and Prater recovered at the Arizona 18. Stanzi went up top to McNutt on first down and the play was ruled a catch out of bounds after pass interference on Wildcat cornerback Robert Golden. The penalty wouldn’t matter after the play was reviewed and ruled a score, bringing the Hawkeyes to within a touchdown at 27-21.

Binns, from his left defensive end position, made the play of the game for Iowa on the next series, intercepting Foles and returning it 20 yards for a touchdown. Mossbrucker’s PAT was blocked and the game remained tied, 27-27.

“Broderick’s interception was a great play, but we couldn’t seal the deal,” Ferentz said.

Arizona ended Iowa’s string of 20 straight points by marching 73 yards on nine plays, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Foles to Wright with 3:57 remaining. Trailing 34-27, Iowa had a final shot and used a nice kickoff return by Johnson-Koulianos to begin the drive at its own 37. The comeback dream ended when Stanzi was sacked on three straight downs.

“We’re going to go in (Sunday) and it will be a good teaching tool for us,” Tarpinian said.

Iowa looks for its fourth consecutive victory inside Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 25 against Ball State. The game will begin at 11 a.m. and be broadcast by the Big Ten Network. The Hawkeyes won the only other meeting, 56-0, in 2005.

“We have the potential to be a good team, but this was disappointing,” Ferentz said.