Nov. 12, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Sometimes even Superman can’t carry you to a victory. One of those sometimes was Saturday at historic Kinnick Stadium.
Playing in his final home game of a brilliant career that saw him develop into one of the most productive offensive weapons in the history of University of Iowa football, senior wide receiver Marvin McNutt tried to be Superman and Batman and Spiderman and every other super hero imaginable in an effort to carry the Iowa Hawkeyes to a second straight victory over a nationally ranked team from the state of Michigan.
McNutt and the Hawkeyes came up short in their physical battle with the Michigan State Spartans, however, falling by a 37-21 count before another sellout crowd at Kinnick that witnessed a rarity: A Michigan State victory in Iowa City. The win by MSU snapped a seven-game winning streak by Iowa in games at Kinnick Stadium against the Spartans; State’s last victory in Iowa City was a 17-14 victory in October 1989.
McNutt was a one-man wrecking crew for the Hawkeyes. The lanky senior from suburban St. Louis was on the receiving end of a game-high eight passes from UI quarterback James Vandenberg for a 130 yards. Included among that group was a remarkable one-handed grab in the first quarter that kept an Iowa drive alive in addition to a gritty 3-yard reception midway through the third-quarter that Iowa’s all-time leader in scoring completed by carrying two Spartans into the endzone.
The touchdown breathed life into the Hawkeyes, who scored again in the final seconds of the third stanza to draw within 34-21 with a full 15 minutes to play.
“It’s tough to come back when you put yourself in the position we put ourselves in. It’s particularly difficult against a team as good as Michigan State. We didn’t come out as ready to play offensively as we needed to and it cost us,” said McNutt, referencing a pair of first quarter turnovers that State turned into points. Iowa also was stymied by some untimely penalties.
“Marvin’s improving each and every week and, from my vantage point, that’s what separates the good players from the great players. He continues to lead by example.”
“Michigan State is a good team and you have to be ready to play. We’ll see a lot of things on film tomorrow, things we could have done better and should have done better.”
“When you do that against a good team you get what you deserve. We weren’t mentally ready, particularly in the first half,” added UI Coach Kirk Ferentz. “We also couldn’t get anything going in the running game. We didn’t do a very good job of controlling the line, probably on either side of the ball.”
McNutt, one of 18 seniors who played their final game at Kinnick on Saturday, also ran the ball twice for 27 yards and was running so hard and determined that he sent multiple Michigan State defenders to the sideline nursing bumps or bruises.
“Sometimes even Superman can’t get out of the phone booth quick enough,” said Gary Dolphin of the Hawkeye Radio Network.
“Marvin’s improving each and every week and, from my vantage point, that’s what separates the good players from the great players. He continues to lead by example,” Ferentz said of his future All-American.
McNutt had 100 receiving yards for the third straight week and the seventh time this season. He needs just one touchdown to tie Maurice Brown for the most touchdown receptions in a season with 11.
McNutt will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., next Saturday for Iowa’s game against Purdue with 153 career receptions — the third best in UI history — for a school-record 2,635 yards.