By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team lost a slugfest, falling 17-10 to Michigan State on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium. The loss drops the Hawkeyes’ record to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten Conference action.
The Spartans out-gained Iowa, 300-231, in the contest and forced two Hawkeye turnovers. Michigan State limited Iowa to 19 yards on 25 attempts — Iowa’s lowest rushing output in 12 years. Senior Akrum Wadley finished with 30 yards on 17 attempts, while scoring Iowa’s only touchdown.
Sophomore Nate Stanley finished 16-of-31 for 197 yards, completing passes to eight different Hawkeyes.
After giving up 14 first-quarter points, Iowa’s defense held Michigan State to a field goal the rest of the way. The Hawkeyes didn’t surrender a point in the second half.
Senior Josey Jewell tied a career-high with 16 tackles, including six solo stops, three tackles for loss, and half a sack. Junior Michael Ojemudia and senior Nathan Bazata had a career-best eight tackles.
After trailing 17-7 at the half, the Hawkeyes sustained a drive on the first possession of the third quarter. Sophomore Nate Stanley completed a touch pass to Nick Easley over two defenders for a 32-yard gain into Spartan territory.
On fourth-and-8, Iowa caught Michigan State by surprise with some trickery. The Hawkeyes lined up for a field goal before audibling into a potential pooch punt formation. Instead, holder/punter Colten Rastetter fired a 15-yard pass to freshman A.J. Epenesa for a first down to the Michigan State 8.
On third-and-goal from the 5, Michigan State was gifted with the game’s first turnover. Stanley stepped up in the pocket to avoid a sack before bobbling the ball on the pass attempt. The Spartans’ Joe Bachie recovered, giving Michigan State possession at its own 7.
Iowa’s defense came up with a turnover on downs the next possession, stuffing L.J. Scott for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Iowa 30. The Hawkeyes moved into Michigan State territory with a 22-yard pass to T.J. Hockenson, but the second turnover ensued when Brandon Smith had the ball jarred loose after making a catch on a wide receiver screen.
WHEN IT WAS OVER
Iowa still had a fighting chance, taking over at its own at its own 16 with 45 seconds remaining and trailing 17-10. Eight seconds ran off the clock on a first down incompletion before Demetrius Cooper sacked Stanley to seal the Spartan victory.
Iowa’s last four trips to East Lansing have ended in one-possession games.
Redshirt freshman T.J. Hockenson had three receptions, tying a career high. He had a career-high and team-best 46 yards receiving. Hockenson has eight receptions this year — all going for a first down or touchdown.
Senior linebacker Josey Jewell added to his Big Ten-leading 44 tackles with a 16-stop performance against Michigan State. It was Jewell’s second straight week with 16 stops and he had three tackles for loss. He moved into a tie for eighth place on Iowa’s all-time tackles list with 361.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Michigan State drove 75 yards over seven plays on the game’s first drive. Spartan wide receiver Felton Davis III made four catches on the drive, including a 22-yard touchdown reception to give his team a 7-0 lead.
- The Spartans took advantage of stellar starting field position to make the score 14-0. After starting its drive at the Iowa 31, Michigan State needed a 10 play drive to find the end zone. Davis III made a leading touchdown pass over Michael Ojemudia.
- Iowa found the end zone with a 10 play, 72-yard scoring drive. On third-and-8 from the MSU 39, Stanley connected with Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a 31-yard competition to the 8. Two plays later, Wadley broke free for a 9-yard touchdown run.
- After starting in Iowa territory (at the Iowa 36) for the third time in the first half, Michigan State pushed its lead to 17-7 with a 38-yard Matt Coghlin field goal. The Spartans needed seven plays to move 16 yards and into field goal position.
- Following a missed 48-yard field goal attempt from Coghlin in the fourth quarter, Iowa used an eight play, 45-yard drive to set up a Miguel Recinos field goal. Stanley completed passes of 16 and 13 yards to Matt VandeBerg and Hockenson to the Spartan 33. On third-and-2 from the 25, Stanley misfired on an attempt to Easley. Iowa cut the deficit to 17-10 with a 43-yard Recinos kick.
QUOTING IOWA HEAD COACH KIRK FERENTZ
“They took control right off the bat and we weren’t able to get much going offensively. We came out the in the second half and moved the ball and unfortunately turned it over. It’s tough to win if you’re doing that.”
“The turnovers killed our momentum because we were driving the ball successfully on both of those series.”
“They did a good job of driving the ball and changing the field position. That’s something we’re going to have to do a better job of. You’re not always going to get it where you want it. Even if you don’t take it and sustain a drive for the points, you need to change field position and we weren’t able to do that.”
On fake field goal
“We have had it in our pocket the last couple of weeks. We felt it was a good time for it. It would have been nice to see it go the distance.”
On MSU’s rush defense
“They are a stout group. The linebackers were playing downhill and I thought the Mike linebacker undercut us on a couple of plays. We have to go back to the drawing board to see if we can find something to help our running game.”
The Hawkeyes host Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 11 a.m. (CT). The annual Homecoming contest will be televised on BTN.