Special teams, penalties haunt Hawkeyes

Stats | Boxscore

Oct. 23, 2010

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The game clock expired before either Iowa or Wisconsin this afternoon in Kinnick Stadium and it reached zero with the home team driving, but the visiting Badgers holding the better end of a 31-30 decision.

Iowa, despite outgaining the No. 10 Badgers, dips to 5-2 overall, 2-1 in the conference; Wisconsin is 7-1, 3-1.

Wisconsin converted twice on fourth down during its game-winning 15-play series, the first via a fake punt from its own 26, the second with five yards to go from Iowa’s 34. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball scored on an 8-yard run with 1:06 left to conclude the scoring in a game that featured eight lead changes.

Iowa marched upfield in the final 61 seconds, with three pass completions by Ricky Stanzi. The Hawkeyes had first down from Wisconsin’s 39 with 12 seconds left when Stanzi completed a toss to running back Adam Robinson, who was tackled at the 35 as time expired.

Special teams and penalties left UI head coach Kirk Ferentz frustrated after the game. The Hawkeyes had an extra point kick blocked, couldn’t execute a 31-yard field goal and committed six penalties for 41 yards.

“The real things that hurt us were the special team’s gaffes,” Ferentz said. “There’s a lot of football left. We have a good team, but we have to play better and play cleaner. There are still five games left; this game is going to hurt awhile, for good reason, then we’ll have to move on.”

The play of the game was the successful fake punt on fourth-and-4. Badger punter Brad Nortman waited for the Hawkeyes to turn and head downfield to set up a return before he tucked the ball and gained 17 yards to his own 43.

“They did a great job and it was a good time to call it on their part,” Ferentz said. “Their execution was excellent and we didn’t get a stop after that.”

“The real things that hurt us were the special team’s gaffs. There’s a lot of football left. We have a good team, but we have to play better and play cleaner. There are still five games left; this game is going to hurt awhile, for good reason, then we’ll have to move on.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz

Iowa gained 376 yards — 29 more than Wisconsin — and converted 11 of 16 times on third down. Stanzi completed 25 of 37 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson carried the ball 23 times for 114 yards and a score and receiver Marvin McNutt hauled in seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Five different Hawkeyes scored in the game. Iowa strong safety Tyler Sash led all players with 13 tackles.

“Give Wisconsin all the credit in the world,” Sash said. “We have to get better. They kept pounding the ball on us.”

Wisconsin took the opening kick and had Iowa’s defense backpedaling for the first 14 plays before Sash stopped Badger running back James White for an 8-yard loss on third-and-1 from Iowa’s 8. Wisconsin settled for a 33-yard field goal by Philip Welch to take a 3-0 lead following a drive of 8-minutes, 9-seconds.

Iowa responded with exceptional line blocking and six carries from Robinson for 43 yards to go ahead, 6-3. A rare carry — and 5-yard gain — by fullback Brett Morse gave the Hawkeyes their initial first down; the next time they were faced with third down, Iowa advanced to the Wisconsin 31 with a 9-yard run by Robinson and a 15-yard facemask penalty on the Badgers. Robinson took the ball to the 1 after a 30-yard gain on the next play. He bulled in for a touchdown with 2:31 left in the first quarter. Badger J.J. Watt blocked the point-after attempt by Mike Meyer.

A 14-yard gain on third-and-12 was key to Wisconsin getting on the scoreboard again and grabbing a 10-6 advantage as the second quarter opened. Badger quarterback Scott Tolzein was 6-for-6 passing on the drive, capping it with a 7-yard touchdown toss to Bradie Ewing. The crucial play was a shovel pass completion to Ball, who — on third down — took the ball from Iowa’s 21 to the 7.

For the game, Tolzien completed 20 of 26 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown.

The Badger defense came up with the game’s first stop on Iowa’s second possession. After Stanzi opened with an 11-yard completion to Morse, Wisconsin stiffened on the next three snaps and forced a 50-yard punt by Ryan Donahue. Adrian Clayborn answered for the Hawkeye defense, batting the ball away from Tolzien on third down for a 14-yard loss to the Badger 17. Iowa didn’t respond with points, despite a drive that started with promise. The Hawkeyes moved inside the Wisconsin 10, but on third-and-inches, they were whistled for a false start; the next play was nullified by illegal motion. Meyer entered to attempt a 31-yard field goal, but Donahue couldn’t get the snap down and he was tackled for a 4-yard loss.

“Give Wisconsin all the credit in the world. We have to get better. They kept pounding the ball on us.”
UI safety Tyler Sash

Clayborn helped spark a quick Badger punt when on back-to-back plays he forced a quarterback hurry and then stopped Ball for no gain on a third-and-20 shovel completion. After a nice 13-yard punt return by Colin Sandeman, the Hawkeyes got the ball back with a short field (49 yards) and 1:53 with which to work. Iowa only needed 1:37 of that time to regain the lead, 13-10. The Badgers offered an assist on first down when they had Paul Chaney, Jr., stopped on a reverse, but a face mask penalty pushed the ball to Wisconsin’s 35. Stanzi completed passes to Sandeman for 14 yards and to McNutt for 16 yards and Iowa was threatening on the 4. With third-and-goal from the 3 and time ticking down, Stanzi completed a touchdown pass to tight end Allen Reisner, who was wide open on a crossing route. The PAT by Meyer was good.

The half ended with Welch missing well short on a 67-yard field goal attempt.

The first half statistics were nearly even. Both teams had 11 first downs and the Hawkeyes held a 170 to 147 edge in total yards. Tolzien was 10 of 13 passing for 99 yards and Stanzi was 9 of 16 for 94 yards. Robinson rushed for 76 yards on 13 attempts. McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had three receptions. Thanks to the long opening drive, Wisconsin had nearly a four-minute advantage in time of possession (16:57 to 13:03).

The Badgers executed a 12-play, 80-yard drive to go on top, 17-13 with 6:30 left in the third quarter after a review of a spot forced a three-and-out for Iowa as the second half commenced. John Clay scored on fourth-and-1 from the 2. Clay finished with 91 yards on 24 carries.

The back-and-forth battle took another turn when Johnson-Koulianos got behind the Wisconsin secondary and then sprinted under a 45-yard touchdown pass from Stanzi giving Iowa a 20-17 edge with 3:08 left in the quarter. Stanzi was 4-for-4 for 67 yards on the scoring drive that brought Kinnick Stadium to life.

Momentum for the Hawkeyes was silenced by a 4-play touchdown series from Wisconsin that was aided by an off-side penalty by Iowa on the first kickoff. David Gilreath returned the second kick 37 yards to his own 49 and Clay opened the drive with a 17-yard run. Two plays later Tolzien completed a 30-yard pass to Isaac Anderson putting the ball on the Hawkeye 2. Clay bulled in from 2 yards and the Badgers lead again, 24-20.

The fourth quarter began with Iowa marching after back-to-back Stanzi completions to Johnson-Koulianos and Reisner. Stanzi finished it with a 6-yard touchdown pass to McNutt and once again Iowa was leading, 27-24. Stanzi was 5-for-5 on the series for 45 yards. Robinson rushed five times for 28 yards.

With Iowa fans chanting “Norm” in honor of defensive coordinator Norm Parker, Tolzien made his first mistake of the day. He rolled to his right and was intercepted by Hawkeye free safety Brett Greenwood. Iowa turned that into a 40-yard field goal by Meyer and a 30-24 lead with 8:35 to go.

It was a peculiar final 8:35. In the end, the Hawkeyes fell at home for the first time in six games and were defeated by Wisconsin for the first time in three games.

Iowa vs. Wisconsin 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Iowa Hawkeyes 6 7 7 10 30
Wisconsin Badgers 3 7 14 7 31
Iowa Statistical Leaders
Passing: Ricky Stanzi 25 of 37, 258 yards, 3 TD
Rushing: Adam Robinson 23 carries, 114 yards, 1 touchdowns
Receiving: Marvin McNutt, 7 receptions, 70 yards
Tackles: Tyler Sash, 13 total tackles