It was a nail-biter but the Iowa Hawkeyes held tough until the end and beat the visiting #15 Michigan Wolverines, 24-16, on Saturday. With the win, Iowa is now bowl eligible and has won six consecutive home games.
Iowa jumped on the board first with a touchdown by Marcus Coker. This was the first of two for the talented sophomore running back.
Michigan got their first touchdown by its quarterback
running back Denard Robinson. The Wolverines attempted a two-point conversion but failed. You had to wonder if this would come back to bite them.
The Hawkeyes scored 10 more points with a touchdown by tight end Brad Herman and a 42-yard field goal by Mike Meyer. It was good to have Meyer back.
Iowa entered halftime at 17-6. At the end of the second quarter, Iowa had the ball and did nothing with it. They could have tried to move down the field in the last minute but instead took their usual conservative approach.
Michigan came back after the break and grabbed a field goal to make it 17-9. Was Iowa’s second-half collapse already happening in the middle of third quarter?
Four minutes into the fourth quarter, Coker scored his second touchdown and helped Iowa take a 24-9 lead. Nothing is easy for the Hawkeyes as Michigan scored a touchdown at the 7:53 mark. The score was now 24-16 and Michigan was within one score.
It felt like a momentum change and my faith started to dive.
Michigan had one last chance in the game’s final seconds to score another touchdown and put Hawkeye Nation on OT alert. Instead, the Wolverines had three straight plays to get a touchdown but thankfully, Robinson’s passing and Iowa’s defense didn’t let it happen.
The key to Iowa’s win was its defense. They showed up.
Iowa forced two turnovers against Robinson, one a fumble and an interception. Defensive bright spots included Tyler Nielsen, Broderick Binns and Jordan Bernstine.
Nielsen had 13 tackles (a career-high), one sack and two tackles for a loss. Binns had three tackles (two for losses), a sack and three pass breakups. Jordan Bernstine had a career-high 15 tackles.
Ferentz was pleased by their efforts and said,
The guys really had to play good team defense, something we’ve struggled with at times. We have not been the most sound at times, and given up some big plays, so it’s good to see our guys make them earn it and great to come up with stops clearly at the end,” Ferentz said.
The offense’s bright spots included Coker with 29 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Sounds like a slow day at the office for the running back but it was his sixth 100-yard game this season. Coker now sits at the top of the conference for rushing.
He also has over 1,000 yards for the season, a first for the sophomore.
Wide receiver Marvin McNutt also had a 100-yard day. He had 9 receptions for 101 yards.
It wasn’t his greatest day but Vandenberg went 14 for 21 yards, 171 yards and one touchdown.
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Written by Debbie Baratz