Michigan State was completely outmanned on both sides of the ball, as the Iowa Hawkeyes cruised to an easy victory over the 5th ranked Spartans today. It was the first loss of the season for MSU, and it now puts them into a four-way tie at the top of the Big Ten standings with Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State. The Spartans still control their own destiny, in which if they win out, they will at the least earn a piece of the Big Ten Championship. If they are able to do this, the Spartans should earn the automatic BCS berth to the Rose Bowl, where the Spartans have not played in twenty years. Here is how the game unraveled for the Spartans today:
Iowa got off to a hot start in first quarter, taking the opening drive down for a touchdown. The Hawkeyes marched 80 yards in 12 plays, capping off the drive on a 3 yard touchdown reception by WR Colin Sandeman. Michigan State then went three and out, as they were unable to convert on a 3rd and 1. This has been a theme the past few weeks, with the Spartans getting stuffed on numerous short yardage run plays. Iowa got on the board again after the defensive stop with a 37 yard field goal by placekicker Mike Meyer. It only got worse for MSU, with Kirk Cousins throwing an interception for a touchdown on the next series. The Spartans were driving and beginning to show some life, when Hawkeye S Tyler Sash jumped underneath an out route, lateraled it to CB Micah Hyde, who took it 66 yards for the TD. 1st Quarter: MSU 0 Iowa 17
It was beginning to look as if Michigan State was going to need another miracle comeback, but Iowa quickly squashed those thoughts in the 2nd quarter, by scoring 13 more points. On the first series of the 2nd quarter, MSU was driving, when Cousins threw his second interception of the day, this one by CB Shawn Prater. It was an uncharacteristically bad throw by Cousins, in which he threw it off his back foot across the field. Iowa capitalized on the turnover with a 3 play, 43 yard drive, ending on a 32 yard touchdown pass from QB Ricky Stanzi to RB Adam Robinson. Michigan State was forced to punt on their next possession, in which Iowa was not content with just running out the clock. They drove down for another touchdown in 2:41, with the key play coming on a 56 yard reception by TE Brad Herman. Adam Robinson then punched it in from 2 yards out, as Iowa took a 30-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Michigan State received the opening kickoff, and again turned the ball over. Cousins threw his third interception of the day, this one on a ball he tried to force down the field to TE Charlie Gantt. Iowa S Brett Greenwood picked the pass off and returned it down to the MSU 49 yard line. The defense stepped up after the turnover and forced Iowa into a three and out. The Spartans then had to punt after their own three and out, in which Iowa went down the field and scored again, this one on a 22 yard touchdown reception by WR Marvin McNutt. Michigan State was driving as the 3rd quarter came to an end. 3rd Quarter MSU 0 Iowa 37
MSU finally got on the board on the first play of the 4th quarter. Cousins found WR B.J. Cunningham for a 6 yard touchdown pass. The Spartans went for a two point conversion, but the ball was batted down by Hawkeye S Brett Greenwood. That ended the scoring for the game, as Michigan State was stopped on fourth down on one of their drives and punted the other two times they had the ball in the 4th quarter.
Final Score: MSU 6 Iowa 37
The offense could not get anything going this week, in which Kirk Cousins finished the game going 21-29, for 198 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. The three turnovers were a key to the game, as Iowa turned them into thirteen points. The run game was again non-existent, with the Spartans only rushing for 31 total yards on the day. Mark Dell was a lone bright spot for the MSU offense, totaling 98 yards receiving on 8 receptions. Michigan State’s defense was put in some tough spots today, but they still did not play very well as a unit. They did only give up 162 rushing yards on 42 attempts, and only 190 yards through the air. Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi was very effective, throwing for 190 yards on only 11 completions, with 3 touchdowns.
It was a disappointing and tough loss for the Spartans today, but I look for them to rebound next week, at home, against Minnesota.
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Written by David Lesmeister