Getting it done on the road

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Nov. 6, 2010

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — When the Iowa football team needed a rally, Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw a game-winning 52-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin McNutt with 2-minutes, 50-seconds left which was just enough for an 18-13 victory Saturday in Memorial Stadium.

Indiana had a final chance with 35 seconds left, but a possible 19-yard touchdown pass from Ben Chappell to Damarlo Belcher bounced to the turf in the south end zone. No. 15 Iowa improved to 7-2 overall, 4-1 in the Big Ten Conference. The Hoosiers, who suffered their 10th consecutive league loss, are 4-5, 0-5.

It was the 100th career coaching victory for the UI’s Kirk Ferentz, who is in his 15th season as a collegiate head coach.

“It was great to see us finally get a touchdown,” Ferentz said. “That was a huge play and a huge drive. We needed that badly because everything came hard today. It was one of those days when we were struggling. Ricky did a nice job driving us down the field.”

Iowa has now outscored Indiana 51-0 in the fourth periods of the last three meetings.

It took more than 57 minutes, but Stanzi threw a touchdown pass for the 18th game in a row — and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hawkeyes. For the day, Stanzi completed 22 of 33 passes for 290 yards and engineered an 88-yard, 52-second game- winning drive. The final series included pass completions of 21 and 15 yards to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and of course the 52-yarder to McNutt. McNutt finished with six catches for 126 yards and Johnson-Koulianos caught six for 72.

“We committed ourselves to the pass and when we finally needed to make plays, we connected,” McNutt said. “I looked the corner in the eyes and he did exactly what I thought he would do.”

There was another Iowa milestone: it marked the third consecutive season a Hawkeye true freshman running back surpassed 100 rushing yards in a victory against Indiana. Marcus Coker gained 129 yards on 22 carries today, joining Jewel Hampton (22-114-3) in 2008 and Brandon Wegher (25-118-3) last season.

“We have a lot of faith in Marcus,” Ferentz said. “He stepped up and did a good job.”

Ferentz emphasized that it is never easy winning on the road in the Big Ten, but Iowa still moved well between the 20s and gained 445 yards and used four field goals by freshman kicker Mike Meyer to remain at the top of the league standings.

“We made more than our share of mistakes,” Ferentz said of nine Iowa penalties and one turnover. “We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win.”

The Hawkeyes broke up nine Chappell passes: two each by Micah Hyde, James Morris, Jeremiha Hunter and Brett Greenwood and one by Shaun Prater. Hyde and Prater finished with 10 tackles, Morris and Hunter had nine and eight.

Iowa’s opening drive featured the first carries by Coker as a starter, a record-breaking reception by Johnson-Koulianos and a 23-yard field goal by Mike Meyer. The Hawkeyes moved 66 yards to get in position for a 3-0 lead. Coker ran four times for 38 yards and Johnson-Koulianos caught the 158th pass of his career.

Indiana tied the game with a 37-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald with seven minutes left in the first quarter. The biggest offensive play was a 15-yard reverse by Tandon Doss and a 15-yard pass interference penalty against Iowa that placed the ball on the Hawkeye 27.

The teams traded interceptions on their next possessions. Indiana’s Greg Heban picked off Stanzi at the Hoosier 46 and eight plays later Chappell had an attempt tipped by Morris before Greenwood snagged his 10th career interception. Indiana guard Justin Pagan was flagged for a late hit and the Hawkeyes started drive No. 3 at its own 48.

The Hawkeyes moved 35 yards on five plays as the first quarter came to an end. Meyer converted a 27-yard field goal, giving Iowa a 6-3 lead with 12:45 left in the half. Coker and Brad Rogers shared the rushing load: Coker ran five times for 25 yards and Rogers carried twice for nine yards. Stanzi completed a 9-yard pass to Johnson-Koulianos.

Indiana tied the game, 6-6, with a 28-yard field goal by Ewald with 8:20 left in the second quarter. A 41-yard kickoff return allowed the Hoosiers to start the series from their 45. On third-and goal from the 5, Chappell stayed in the pocket too long and was sacked by Mike Daniels for a 6-yard loss.

Iowa went to work with an 11-play drive that burned nearly six minutes, but came up empty when Meyer missed a 22-yard field goal attempt. Coker picked up 12 yards that gave him 101 for the game and gave the Hawkeyes first-and-goal from the 6. Iowa pushed ahead three more yards before the field goal attempt.

At halftime, Iowa had the ball more than 18 minutes and picked up 222 yards (118 rushing, 104 passing). The Hawkeyes allowed 130 yards. Iowa had uncharacteristically committed six penalties in the first 30 minutes for 50 yards — 10 yards more than they average per game. Coker carried the ball 16 times for 102 yards and Johnson-Koulianos hauled in four passes for 43 yards. Colin Sandeman had two catches for 25 yards and both receptions helped Iowa pick up key first downs.

The Hawkeye defense forced two three-and-outs and Meyer found his accuracy from 27 yards giving Iowa a 9-6 lead with 5:33 left in the third period. The drive opened with a 28-yard pass completion from Stanzi to McNutt, followed by a 19-yard reverse by Paul Chaney, Jr. Chaney’s run gave the Hawkeyes first-and-goal from the 9, but delay of game and false start penalties kept the Hawkeyes out of the end zone.

Indiana’s answer was in the form of the game’s first touchdown — a 1-yard sneak by Chappell. The Hoosiers mixed their short passing game with five rushing attempts to march 69 yards on 12 plays. That gave Indiana its first lead of the game, 13-9.

Iowa reduced the deficit to one at 13-12 when Meyer booted his fourth field goal, this one from 42 yards with 8:33 remaining in the game. Coker opened the drive with two carries for 20 yards and Stanzi hooked up with McNutt for a 17-yard gain to the Hoosier 24.

With the clock starting to become a factor, the Hoosiers used 4:44 before punting to Sandeman at the Hawkeye 11 with 3:42 remaining. It took Stanzi, Johnson-Koulianos and McNutt 52 seconds to grab an 18-13 advantage. Stanzi hit Johnson-Koulianos pulled in passes of 21 and 15 yards and then he found a wide-open McNutt who outran Indiana cornerback Matt Ernest for the decisive score with 2:50 left.

The outcome hinged on one play with 35 seconds left. The Hoosiers marched to Iowa’s 19 where they needed 10 for a first down and 19 for victory. Chappell found the 6-foot-5 Belcher in the back of the end zone, but the ball bounced to the turf and Iowa survived for a 5-point win.

For those Iowa fans on the edge of their seats today, next Saturday could be much of the same as the Hawkeyes travel to Northwestern to play another pass-happy offense that likes to spread the field. Kickoff is 11 a.m.

Iowa vs. Indiana 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Iowa Hawkeyes 3 3 3 9 18
Indiana Hoosiers 3 3 7 0 13
Iowa Statistical Leaders
Passing: Ricky Stanzi 22 of 33, 290 yards, 1 touchdown
Rushing: Marcus Coker 22 carries, 129 yards
Receiving: Marvin McNutt, 6 receptions, 126 yards, 1 touchdown
Tackles: Shaun Prater, Micah Hyde, 10 total tackles