IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa football team used a trio of late fourth quarter scores to put away Michigan State, 26-16, on Saturday night on Duke Slater Field at Kinnick Stadium.
With a little over five minutes remaining in the game Drew Stevens connected on his third field goal of the game to tie the game at 16-16. After the Iowa defense forced a three and out Cooper DeJean broke the tie returning a punt for a 70-yard touchdown. Stevens put the game away with a 34-yard field goal with 59 seconds remaining.
“Credit to the guys up front doing their job,” said DeJean. “I don’t know if the punt was supposed to be in that location, but when I looked up, there was a lot of green in front of me. The guys did a great job blocking downfield for me. It is my job to read the blocks and try and put it in the end zone.”
Cade McNamara connected on 3-for-5 passes for 46 yards before leaving the game due to injury. Deacon Hill went 11-for-27 with 115 yards and a touchdown in relief.
Leshon Williams led the team in rushing with 38 yards rushing on 12 attempts. Erick All led the team in receiving with four receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Jay Higgins led the team with 12 tackles (four solo), Nick Jackson had 10 tackles (four solo) and a forced fumble. DeJean, Sebastian Castro and Jermari Harris each pulled in an interception for the Hawkeyes.
“It is our job to make sure we get a third and long at Kinnick,” said Higgins. “If you can get a team third and long at Kinnick, in the end zone, honestly, it will be really hard for them to convert. The communication the offense has to go with when you can’t hear the guy next to you, it is hard to play football.”
Stevens connected on 4-of-4 field goals including hitting from 53 yards out.
QUOTING KIRK FERENTZ
“Obviously, we are very happy about the win and proud of how strong the team came together tonight. It was a tough battle out there, and obviously it’s important to win a football game you get a chance at. But the bigger story is the display of resilience we saw from all of our players. And at the end of the day, that can win a lot of football games.
And certainly, I think that was a factor tonight for us. Impressed how Deacon stepped in. Tough circumstance. Disappointing mostly for Cade. To go down early with an injury like that, we really won’t know his status until early next week but it’s nonetheless very disappointing. I can only imagine how he’s feeling.
But I thought Deacon stepped into a tough situation, did a good job of leading our football team and making good decisions, especially in the second half in some critical situations. He did a good job.
Offensively, we didn’t have a lot of rhythm. Had a couple good drives in the first half, and then didn’t have a lot of rhythm during that part and then it’s kind of like a multiple array of things.
Defensively, we want to get off the field a little quicker at times, but I thought they showed resiliency and kept our opponents out of the end zone. That was a big deal.
The bottom line is you can see a lot of things going on. We have a lot of young guys, and some of it’s mental. Some of it’s physical. But we have a lot to work on, and we’ll get back to that tomorrow.
I think the coaching staff is well aware of what we need to get done and the challenges to get it down and move faster as we move forward.
We have plenty of work to do. Not going to let that ruin tonight, that’s for sure but really proud of our team’s resilience. And bottom line right now we are 4-1, puts at 1-1 in the league, and to get back up on our feet after a tough week on our that’s where we’re at right now.
We’ll celebrate, enjoy this thing tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
- On the opening drive of the game Iowa drove 53-yards over eight plays to set up a 40-yard field goal by Drew Stevens.
- On their second drive Michigan State answered with a field goal of their own with a six-play drive covering 43 yards before connecting from 31-yards out.
- Michigan State connected on a 32-yard field goal to end a 14 play 61-yard drive with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
- After a Cooper DeJean interception the Hawkeyes drove 80 yards on five plays to set up a 13-yard touchdown reception by Erick All from Deacon Hill. All had 62 of the 80 yards on the drive.
- Michigan State drove 58 yards on six plays before connecting on a 58-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
- The Spartans returned a fumble 42-yards for a touchdown with 13:08 left in the third quarter.
- After the Hawkeye defense stopped Michigan State on fourth down, Stevens connected on a 53-yard field goal to make it a three-point game.
- With 5:19 remaining in the game Stevens connected on a 36-yard field goal to cap a seven play 20-yard drive.
- After forcing a pair of Michigan State false starts Cooper DeJean returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown with 3:45 remaining in the game to give the Hawkeyes the lead.
- The Hawkeyes put the game away after Nick Jackson forced a fumble at the Michigan State 30-yard line. Stevens connected on a 34-yard field goal with 59 seconds remaining in the game.
- Jermari Harris ended the game with an interception with 10 seconds remaining, the third of the day for the Iowa defense.
- QB Cade McNamara left the game in the first quarter with a lower body injury and did not return.
- QB Deacon Hill completed 11-of-27 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown after entering the game in the first quarter following McNamara’s injury. The second-quarter touchdown pass was the first of his career.
- TE Erick All had a 13-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. During the drive, All had 62 yards on three catches (32, 17, 13) for his second touchdown of the season. He finished the game with four catches for 67 yards.
- LB Jay Higgins finished with 12 tackles, his third game with 10 or more tackles this season.
- LB Nick Jackson had 10 tackles, his second straight game with 10 or more stops. Jackson has 22 career double-digit tackle games.
- DL Deontae Craig had a career-high eight tackles and DB Xavier Nwankpa tied his career-high with eight tackles.
- DB Cooper DeJean had his first interception of the season in the second quarter. It is his sixth career interception.
- DB Sabastian Castro had his second interception of the season in the third quarter.
- DB Jamari Harris had his first interception this season in the fourth quarter. It is his fifth career interception.
- K Drew Stevens went 4-for-4 in field goal attempts, including a season long 53-yarder in the third quarter. It is the second-longest field goal of his career. Stevens also made a 40-yarder on Iowa’s opening possession. Stevens is now 3-for-3 in his career from 50+ yards.o Stevens four made field goals ties a career high.
- Stevens is 8-for-9 on field goals this season.
- PR Cooper DeJean returned a 70-yard punt which is the 15th longest return in program history. It is his first punt return of his career. The 70-yard return is the longest play of the season for Iowa.
- It was Iowa’s first punt return for a touchdown since Charlie Jones did against Michigan State in 2020.
- Iowa opened the game with a scoring drive, covering 53 yards over eight plays before converting a 40-yard field goal. It is the third time this season the Hawkeyes have put points on the board on their opening possession (TD, FG, FG).
- It was Iowa’s 19th consecutive game not giving up 400 yards which is the longest active streak in the FBS.
- Since 2009, Iowa defense has registered 223 interceptions which ties for the most in Division-I. (Alabama and Oregon)
- The Hawkeyes had two interceptions in the game for the first time this season. It is the first game the defense has forced more than one turnover.o Iowa turned the first interception into seven points and turned Michigan State’s fumble into three points in the fourth quarter. The team has a 27-17 advantage in points off turnovers this season.
- Michigan State kicker Jonathan Kim connected on a 58-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The kick is a Kinnick Stadium record.
- Iowa won the toss and elected to receive. The Hawkeyes have played 306 games under head coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has opened the game on offense 224 times (143-81). The Hawkeyes have opened the game on defense 82 times (47-35).
- Under Ferentz, the Hawkeyes improved to 119-25 when winning the turnover battle.
- Iowa’s defense created four turnovers for the first time since Oct. 9, 2021. (Penn State)
- Last time Iowa’s defense had three interceptions was against Northwestern on Nov. 11, 2021.
- The Hawkeyes are 66-2 when leading by eight or more at any point of a game.
- Iowa has won nine of its last 12 night games in Kinnick.
The Hawkeyes return to action Oct. 7, hosting Purdue for Homecoming. The game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and be streamed live on Peacock.