In a strong third quarter that put Iowa back into the game, Arizona came back with a fourth quarter touchdown, dashing Iowa’s hopes for an epic win.
With 3:57 left on the clock and a tied game at 27-27, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles threw a four-yard pass to William Wright to take the final lead of the game (along with a successful extra point) at 34-27. Iowa tried to march down the field one last time to take the game into overtime but they failed miserably.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi got sacked four times on its final drive.
I asked myself, where was Stanzi’s left tackle? And how inexperienced is this O-line?
I don’t know whether it was the heat (yes, it was 106), the two-hour time difference (a 9:30 p.m. local time start for the Hawkeyes) or Arizona’s defense, Iowa just didn’t bring its A game to Tucson.
Playing with a sea of red in the stadium as Arizona called for a red-out, it looked more like an Iowa State vs. Iowa with all the yellow interspersed with the red. Hawkeye Nation was out on full force on Saturday night.
However, it wasn’t enough for Iowa. Arizona quickly took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and as they were quickly approaching a 21-0 lead,the stars aligned and Iowa scored with a pass from Stanzi to running back Jewel Hampton. The score was 14-7.
Arizona came back with three touchdowns in the second quarter (one from 100-yard kickoff return) and left at halftime with a 27-7 lead.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz must have given a rousing halftime speech as Iowa came roaring back in the third quarter with three touchdowns to tie the game at 27-27. Iowa almost took the lead but the extra point was blocked by Arizona.
An expectation that a field goal would resolve the tie for a win was in the air as well as a dreaded overtime to settle the score. This was going to be an amazing comeback by Iowa.
Well, we all know what happened. The comeback kids couldn’t hold on. Arizona took their first win against a nonconference opponent ranked in the top 10 at home for the first time since 1989. This will go down in Arizona history as one of its greatest wins although they incurred a number of penalties and Foles did not always manage the game well.
It made me wonder how good the Wildcats really are this season.
For the day, Foles threw for 303 yards and had two touchdowns on 28-of-39 passing.
A few stats that for Iowa Nation from Saturday’s game:
Stanzi had 278 yards on 18 of 33 attempts and two touchdowns. He had only one interception.
It wasn’t running back Adam Robinson’s day against this tough defense. Iowa needed their passing game for this foe and so Robinson had 10 carries for five yards.
Johnson-Koulianos had seven receptions for 114 yards.
It was a disappointing loss and Iowa will drop in the rankings. The season’s not over, it just means Iowa has a lot of work to do to compete in the Big Ten and meet its high expectations. On Saturday, the team was bruised but it wasn’t broken.
And now that Saturday’s game is over, I hope to never sit in the Arizona football parent’s section again, cheering for Iowa. It was tough.
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Written by Debbie Baratz