Nov. 17, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — No. 23 Michigan piled up 331 yards of total offense in the first half and 513 for the game to post a 42-17 victory over the University of Iowa football team Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.
The victory improves the Wolverines’ record to 8-3 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play; Iowa falls to 4-7 overall and 2-5 in league play. Michigan’s win also snaps the Hawkeyes’ three-game winning streak in the series.
The Wolverines, who finished with 314 passing yards and 199 on the ground, scored touchdowns on their first six possessions of the game. The first five drives all covered at least 70 yards.
Iowa finished with 309 yards with 181 coming through the air and 128 on the ground. Senior quarterback James Vandenberg completed 19-of-26 attempts for 181 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Mark Weisman had 63 yards on 16 attempts. Junior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz had a career best eight catches for 99 yards, and the Iowa tight ends had a combined 11 receptions.
“We’re a different team offensively with Weisman in there,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. “He makes a difference and adds a lot to it. Maybe with luck, we’ll have he and (Damon) Bullock together next week.”
Bullock missed Saturday’s game because of injury.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner played a part in all six Wolverine scores. He completed 18-of-23 attempts for 314 yards and three touchdowns passing, while rushing nine times for 37 yards with three scores. Quarterback-turned-running back Denard Robinson paced the team on the ground with 98 yards on 13 attempts, and Jeremy Gallon have five catches for 133 yards.
“The last couple of weeks, Gardner has done a lot of good things and shown a lot of poise,” said Ferentz. “We didn’t have an answer for him today at all.”
After forcing a Hawkeye three-and-out on the game’s first possession, Michigan used a 12-play, 70-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Wolverines methodically drove down field, using eight rushes — by four different players. After Denard Robinson’s 8-yard run moved the ball inside the 10, Thomas Rawls ran for 4 and 2 yards to the 1 before Gardner found the end zone on a quarterback sneak.
The Hawkeyes had an answer, putting together a 14-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game. The drive matched Iowa’s longest drive — play wise — this season. Vandenberg opened with a 6-yard completion to Fiedorowicz on first down before Weisman had four straight carries to move the ball to midfield. On first-and-15 from the 33, Vandenberg found Fiedorowicz for a 10-yard gain to the 23 before Weisman bulled his way 7 yards to the 16.
The Hawkeyes then executed a play-action pass, as Vandenberg connected with redshirt freshman tight end Henry Krieger-Coblefor a 16-yard score, making the score 7-7. The touchdown grab was the first of the his career.
Michigan regained the advantage with a seven-play, 79-yard drive to take a 14-7 lead. Robinson turned in the Wolverine’s first big play with a 40-yard scamper on third-and-1 from the 30. The quarterback got in space on an option before catching junior Tanner Miller flat-footed and racing down the sidelines.
The UI defense put itself in a position to get off the field by forcing a third-and-17, but Michigan’s Roy Roundtree got behind the Hawkeye secondary to snatch a 37-yard touchdown pass from Gardner to five the Wolverines a lead they would never relinquish.
Iowa put together its second scoring drive, going 55 yards over eight plays. Vandenberg connected with Fiedorowicz for 19 yards on first down to move to into Michigan territory, and Weisman followed with a 14-yard rush to the 31. On third-and-11, the Wolverines kept Iowa’s drive alive when safety Jordan Kovacs was whistled for a roughing the passer penalty, moving the ball to the 17. Following a pair of incompletions and a 4-yard Vandenberg scramble, Iowa elected to put points on the board courtesy of Mike Meyer’s 27-yard field goal to make the score 14-10.
“We had a couple of good possessions today,” said Ferentz. “At times we looked really good offensively, and we have to build on that certainly.”
A big play led to Michigan’s third-touchdown. On first-and-10 from its 39, Gardner connected with Gallon for a 51-yard gain to the Iowa 10. Rawls rushed eight yards to the 2 on first down before the Hawkeyes held their ground, setting up a fourth-and-goal. Michigan initially set up to kick a field goal, but changed its course, and it paid off when Gardner scored on a boot to make the score 21-10 with 5:20 left in the second quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out, Michigan got the ball back at its 13 yard line following a 60-yard punt by UI freshman Connor Kornbrath. The Wolverines, however, proceeded to drive 87 yards over seven plays to stretch its lead to 28-10 at the break.
Gardner connected with Roundtree for a 15-yard gain on first down and two plays later hooked up with Gallon for a 31-yard gain to the Iowa 35. On third-and-10 from the 18, Gardner accounted for his fourth score when Michigan executed a screen to perfection, allowing running back Vincent Smith to find the end zone to extend the Wolverine lead.
Michigan opened the second half with its fifth straight scoring drive, advancing 81 yards over 11 plays. The Wolverines rushed six times for 38 yards to open the series before Gardner found Gallon for a 31-yard gain to move the ball to the Iowa 12. Four plays later, Gardner scored from 3-yards out — his fifth touchdown of the game — to give the Wolverines the 35-10 advantage.
Michigan recorded its final touchdown via a six-play, 60-yard scoring drive. Gardner beat the Hawkeyes with his arm, completing three passes on the series, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess on blown Iowa coverage.
With the Wolverines driving in for its seventh score, the Hawkeyes produced the game’s lone turnover when senior Micah Hyde had a leaping interception to give Iowa possession at its 12 yard line.
Vandenberg hooked up with Fiedorowicz for a 37-yard gain on third-and-2 to move the ball into Michigan territory before completing a 15-yarder to freshman Greg Garmon. On second-and 18, Vandenberg found Garmon again, this time for 20 yards to the 16.
Following back-to-back 3-yard rushes by Garmon, Weisman was stopped for a 2-yard loss on third-and-4. Vandenberg then hooked up with sophomore Kevonte Martin-Manley on fourth-and-6, but he was stopped one yard short, giving Michigan the ball via turnover on downs.
After forcing Michigan’s first punt of the game, Iowa scored on a seven-play, 45-yard drive to make the score 42-17. Garmon ran for 12 yards on first down and three plays later Weisman scampered for 12 yards to the Michigan 15. On third-and-8, Vandenberg tossed his second touchdown pass, connecting with Weisman for a 13-yarder.
The Hawkeyes retained the ball on offense when it recovered senior Trent Mossbrucker’s on-side kick with 2:12 left. Iowa picked up one first down before turning the ball over on downs to essentially end the game.
The Hawkeyes closes out the regular season hosting 14th-ranked Nebraska in the Hy-Vee Heroes Game on Nov. 23 inside Kinnick Stadium. Game time is set for 11 a.m. (CT).