Oct. 13, 2012
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EAST LANSING, Mich. — Senior defensive back Greg Castillo’s interception in the second overtime sealed the University of Iowa football team’s 19-16 road victory over Michigan State on sopping-wet Saturday afternoon inside Spartan Stadium.
The victory is UI head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 100th career win, and it improves the Hawkeyes’ record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play; Michigan State falls to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in league play.
“It is one I will remember for a long time,” said Ferentz. “The players really completed and battled. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they gave today.”
Trailing 13-6 with 5:47 to play, Iowa put together a nine-play, 68 yard drive to score its first touchdown and even the game at 13. The drive was nearly stalled before it began, as the Hawkeyes were penalized 15-yards on first down, moving the ball backwards to the Iowa 18.
On second-and-26, senior quarterback James Vandenberg hooked up with senior wide receiver Keenan Davis for a 35-yard gain, moving the ball to midfield and energizing the Hawkeye offense. Sophomore running back Mark Weisman followed with a five yard gain on first down and two plays later burst 37 yards down to the MSU 8-yard line.
After losing one yard on first down, Vandenberg rushed four yards to the 5 before Weisman bull dozed his way in for the score with 55 seconds remaining in regulation.
“Those two runs Mark made on that big drive, that was the ball game,” said Ferentz. “Mark is a tough determined player, and I’m really proud of him.”
The Hawkeye defense gave Iowa the upper hand after it limited the Spartans to a Dan Conroy field goal on the opening possession of overtime. Michigan State handed the ball to Le’Veon Bell four straight attempts down to the 6 before the Hawkeyes forced an Andrew Maxwell incompletion on third and goal.
Without the services of Weisman, who tweaked his ankle on the final scoring drive in regulation, Iowa forced a second overtime, courtesy of Mike Meyer’s27-yard field goal. On third-and-6 from the 22, Vandenberg connected with Davis for a nine-yard strike to the 9 for a first down. On third-and-goal from the 7, Vandenberg overshot freshman running back Greg Garmon on a route in the corner of the end zone, forcing the Hawkeye field goal attempt.
Iowa took its first lead when it got the ball first in overtime No. 2. Following a three-and-out, Meyer connected on a 42-yarder — his fourth field goal of the game — to give the Hawkeyes the 19-16 lead.
On the second play of Michigan State’s possession, Maxwell’s pass attempt went through the hands of Keith Mumphrey and found Castillo, sealing the Hawkeye victory. It was Castillo’s second career interception and his second in as many games.
Weisman produced his fourth straight 100-yard game, finishing with 116 yards on 26 attempts with one touchdown. Vandenberg completed 19-of-36 passes for 134 yards, and Davis had six catches for 65 yards. Meyer went 4-for-4 in field goal attempts, extending his streak to 13 consecutive makes.
“The past two times out we’ve made special teams an advantage for us,” said Ferentz. “That hasn’t been the case for a while, and I’m going back past this year. It seems like we’re developing at attitude on special teams.
“Mike Meyer has grown so much the last 6-8 months. He’s a guy we count on and he really delivered today.”
The Spartans outgained Iowa, 328-257, in the game, which included a 140-yard performance by Bell. The time of possession was even (30:01-to-29:59) and both teams had one turnover.
Junior Anthony Hitchens led a group of three Hawkeyes with double digits tackle totals, finishing with 15 for the game. It is his fifth straight game with at least 10 stops. Senior Joe Gaglione had 11 tackles with one sack and two tackles for loss, and junior James Morris had 10 stops.
The Spartans took advantage of a Hawkeye turnover on the game’s first possession to grab the early 7-0 lead. On the sixth play of the game, Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen intercepted Vandenberg at the Iowa 26 yard line. Four Bell rushes later — including a 14-yard TD run — the Spartans found themselves with a 7-0 lead.
Michigan State stretched its advantage to 10-0 early in the second quarter, courtesy of a seven-play, 52-yard drive. On third-and-5 from near midfield, Maxwell found Aaron Burbridge on a short crossing route, and the freshman wide receiver broke it for a 38-yard gain into the red zone. The Hawkeyes, however, bottled up Bell on three straight rushing attempts before Conroy drilled a 24-yard field goal to extend the MSU lead.
Junior Jordan Cotton gave Iowa a jump start on the ensuing possession, as he returned the kickoff 45 yards to the Michigan State 37. After a 10-yard penalty on an illegal block on the return, Iowa used a 10-play, 42-yard drive to score its first points. On first-and-10 from the 36, Davis drew a pass interference call and three plays later Vandenberg connected with Kevonte Martin-Manley for an 11-yard gain to the 9. The Hawkeyes moved to the 5 before settling for three on Meyer’s 23-yard field goal.
After trading punts for the first five possessions of the second half, Iowa strung together a 13-play, 76-yard drive at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter. Weisman opened the drive with a 31-yard scamper to midfield, and Vandenberg found Jake Duzey for an 11-yard gain to move the ball to the MSU 42.
Iowa converted a fourth-and-1 from the 20 when Weisman burst through the hole for a five-yard gain before being tripped up. The Hawkeye drive stalled, however, at the 13-yard line, and Meyer connected on a 28-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 10-6.
Michigan State answered with a 13-play, 72-yard drive to regain the seven-point lead. Maxwell used a 37-yard completion early in the drive to move the ball into Iowa territory. After methodically moving deep into the red zone, the Hawkeye defense stiffened up with the goal line at its back, stopping Bell for a two-yard gain on second and goal from the 7, and forcing a Maxwell incompletion on third down. Conroy made the score 13-6 with a 22-yard field goal with 7:41 remaining.
Iowa returns to action Oct. 20, hosting Penn State at 7 p.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium. The game will be televised live in primetime on the BTN.