A spartan spanking

Stats | Boxscore

Oct. 30, 2010

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Instead of final-play magic this season, the University of Iowa football team pummeled No. 5 Michigan State from the outset, winning, 37-6, on Blackout Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.

Turnovers and penalties haunted the previously unbeaten Spartans (8-1 overall, 4-1 Big Ten), who watched the Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-1) turn three Kirk Cousins interceptions into 13 points. It also answered the question of how Iowa would rebound from a one-point loss to Wisconsin a week earlier.

“The guys did a good job turning the page,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We came ready to play and we put a complete game together. We made a lot of improvement from a week ago. We’ve had it both ways and it’s a lot more fun this way.”

By all accounts, practice went well for the Hawkeyes this week, and they were presumably inspired by the return of defensive coordinator Norm Parker, who surveyed the stampede from the press box…but a 31-point victory over a top-5 team?

“We practiced well all week, but I thought Thursday was a really good practice,” Ferentz said. “I thought things had run its course from that point.”

Yes, it was one of those days for the Hawkeyes, who, because of the rout, attempted just two passes in the fourth quarter and one of those was by wide receiver Marvin McNutt.

“The guys did a good job turning the page. We came ready to play and we put a complete game together. We made a lot of improvement from a week ago. We’ve had it both ways and it’s a lot more fun this way.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz

“It feels good knowing (Norm’s) up there watching us,” UI cornerback Shaun Prater said. Prater had a game-high 10 tackles and an interception in the game.

The win was No. 99 for Ferentz, who was oblivious to the milestone.

“I don’t know what number it was, but it sure felt good,” Ferentz said.

Michigan State entered the game leading the league by averaging 32.2 points per conference game. Iowa limited the Spartans to one insignificant touchdown and 258 yards (31 on the ground). Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes rolled to 352 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per play.

Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 11 of 15 passes for 190 yards and touchdowns to McNutt, Adam Robinson and Colin Sandeman.

“Boy, is Ricky playing well for us now,” Ferentz said.

Robinson rushed 20 times for 69 yards and a touchdown; Marcus Coker carried 16 times for 40 yards. The Iowa tight ends combined for seven catches and 116 yards: Allen Reisner caught four for 36, Brad Herman had three for 80. Linebackers Troy Johnson and James Morris had nine tackles apiece.

“I think (Robinson) is underrated,” Ferentz said. “I don’t know if there’s a tougher guy on our football team. Brad Herman also grew up today. He had some big catches for us.”

The Hawkeyes scored with long drives (12 plays, 10 plays), short drives (three plays, four plays) and with their defense (66-yard interception return by Micah Hyde off an assist from Tyler Sash).

The Hawkeyes scored first with an impressive 12-play, 80-yard drive highlighted by a 17-yard reverse by Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, an incredible one-handed 17-yard catch by McNutt and six tough runs by Robinson. The scoring play was a 3-yard pass to Sandeman from Stanzi, who picked up the Spartan blitz and found his receiver in the end zone.

Iowa forced a three-and-out and then tacked on a field goal to take a 10-0 lead with 2:44 left in the first quarter. The Hawkeyes were faced with third-and-9 from their own 18 when Stanzi sprinted out of the pocket, benefitted from a Robinson block on Spartan All-American linebacker Greg Jones and gained 26 yards before veering out-of-bounds at the Iowa 44. Stanzi was hit late by Spartan safety Marcus Hyde, adding 15 more yards. Seven plays later, Mike Meyer converted a 37-yard field goal.

“We came out here and were ready to make a statement. We spent a lot of time this week watching film.”
Iowa cornerback
Shaun Prater

Michigan State mounted a nice drive of its own before Sash intercepted a pass by Cousins at the Iowa 28. The intended receiver was ready to make a tackle when Sash pitched the ball to Micah Hyde, who ran the final 66 yards for a touchdown, giving the Hawkeyes a 17-0 lead with 10 seconds left in the quarter.

Cousins moved Michigan State down field again (52 yards on 11 plays), but for a second time he was intercepted to squelch a scoring possibility. Faced with third-and-7 from Iowa’s 27, Cousins misfired, and Hawkeye cornerback Prater returned the interception 42 yards to the Spartan 43. It took Stanzi three plays to notch his second touchdown pass of the game, this time from 32 yards to Robinson. Meyer missed the point-after kick and the Hawkeyes led 23-0 with 7:05 left in the first half.

“We came out here and were ready to make a statement,” Prater said. “We spent a lot of time this week watching film.”

Iowa stretched its advantage to 30-0 with 1:01 left in the first half when Robinson dragged the Spartan defensive front 2 yards into the end zone on first-and goal. Running back Marcus Coker spelled Robinson for the first three plays of the drive. Coker carried the ball twice for nine yards before Stanzi lofted a third-and-1 pass that tight end Brad Herman pulled away from Marcus Hyde and ran 56 yards to the Michigan State 5. The Spartans were whistled for an illegal substitution, placing the ball on the 2 and Robinson and the Hawkeye offensive line did the rest.

For Iowa, it was the most points scored in a half in a Big Ten game since 2005 when the Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota 52-28 in Kinnick Stadium.

Because of turnovers and big returns by Iowa, the Spartans controlled most of the first-half clock (16:21), but Iowa had more than 100 more yards (239 to 126). Stanzi was 8 of 10 passing for 144 yards; his counterpart Cousins was 12 of 15 for 90 yards, but with two critical interceptions. Iowa tight end Allen Reisner had four catches for 36 yards and Robinson carried the ball 13 times for 40 yards.

Iowa continued its dominance in the third quarter. After stopping Michigan State on back-to-back three-and-outs, the Hawkeyes went ahead 37-0 when McNutt caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Stanzi. Stanzi had a 16-yard completion to Herman during the drive and Robinson rushed four times for 23 yards.

Meanwhile, the Iowa defense opened the second half with an interception and two three-and-outs.

It took more than 45 minutes, but the Spartans finally scored when Cousins connected with B.J. Cunningham on a 6-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch on the first play of the final quarter. The 2-point conversion failed.

Hawkeye sophomore Steve Bigach put an exclamation point on the defensive effort with a sack on Michigan State’s final drive.

Iowa plays three of its final four games on the road beginning Saturday, Nov. 6, at Indiana.

Iowa vs. Michigan State 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Michigan State 0 0 0 6 6
Iowa Hawkeyes 17 13 7 0 37
Iowa Statistical Leaders
Passing: Ricky Stanzi 11 of 15, 190 yards, 3 touchdowns
Rushing: Adam Robinson 20 carries, 69 yards, 1 touchdowns
Receiving: Allen Reisner, 4 receptions, 36 yards
Tackles: Shaun Prater, 10 total tackles, 1 interception