Coker, Hawkeye 'D' Shine

Nov. 5, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Everyone inside historic Kinnick Stadium Saturday afternoon expected Marcus Coker to get the ball on the University of Iowa football team’s third-and-three play at Michigan’s 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Most probably also thought he’d go left, to give the Hawkeyes’ a better angle on a field goal attempt.


The Hawkeyes’ bulldozer of a running back, who now is the 13th player in UI football history to run for 1,000 yards in a season, started right and stayed right and cruised untouched to paydirt, successfully completing an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive that gave the home team a 24-9 margin, an edge that Michigan trimmed to eight at 24-16 on its next possession but couldn’t get any closer – even with four shots at a potential game-tying touchdown from the Iowa 3-yard line on the game’s final four plays.

The victory was Iowa’s third straight over Michigan – a school record — and No. 6 in 2011, making the Hawkeyes bowl eligible for the 11th consecutive season. It was also Iowa’s first over a nationally ranked opponent since last year’s victory over No. 12 Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl. Michigan entered the game ranked 13th in both national polls and 15th in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Coker, the hard-hitting sophomore from Beltsville, Md., entered the contest leading the Big Ten and ranked ninth nationally in rushing with a per-game average of 121 yards and a team high 10 touchdowns. He finished his afternoon having outrushed the entire Michigan offense – including the much-heralded and dynamic Denard Robinson, 132 yards to 127.

Robinson, the Wolverines’ slippery quarterback and the defending Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, had 55 yards on 12 carries. He entered the game averaging more than 100 yards per game.

It was Coker’s sixth 100-yard game in 2011 and his eighth as a Hawkeye. He also pushed his touchdown total to 12 – he scored the game’s first touchdown when he rambled in from four yards to close the book on Iowa’s 6-play, 76-yard opening drive.

“It feels good. We’re growing up on defense. Everyone stepped up.”
Defensive lineman Broderick Binns

“It was a huge play and, wow, did the offensive line get the job done. They were so clean with their block and walled it off perfectly. Marcus wasn’t even touched,” smiled Ed Podolak of the Hawkeye Radio Network of Coker’s game-winner.

Coker’s effort was huge, but an argument can be made that it must take a back seat to the work of Iowa’s defense. Michigan entered the game ranked third in the league in scoring offense at 34.8 points a game and scored just 18 against the Hawkeyes. The Wolverines ranked second in total offense with an average of 441 yards per contest and collected only 323 Saturday afternoon in front of another sellout crowd at Kinnick.

“They didn’t give Michigan the big, big play, the game-breaker. They made them work and work hard for everything and really contained well. My hat goes off to the defensive effort,” added Podolak.

“It feels good. We’re growing up on defense. Everyone stepped up,” said senior defensive lineman Broderick Binns, who blocked three different Michigan pass attempts to lead the UI’s defensive effort.

“They showed a lot of pride and kept working when things didn’t go there way. I’m very proud of the effort. Our guys matched their tempo and did a lot of good things,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz.