TEMPE, Ariz. — It was fourth-and-6 with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert and his record-setting night threw a fourth-and-6 pass to record-setting wide receiver T.J. Moe.
The replay showed on the Sun Devil Stadium big screen. The Missouri sideline threw its collective arms in the air. First down at Iowa’s 33.
“Upon further review . . . ” Mid-American Conference official Tom McCabe said. ” . . . the play was ruled an in-completion.”
Iowa ball, Iowa game, Iowa’s sweet, sweet headline in the Arizona desert.
Flash and smash. Iowa turned around the world’s worst December and claimed the Insight Bowl trophy, 27-24, over No. 12 Missouri before a bowl record crowd of 53,453.
Freshman running back Marcus Coker hammered away at the Missouri defense 33 times for 219 yards and two TDs and sophomore cornerback Micah Hyde returned an interception 72 yards for a TD with 5:32 left in the game.
Upon further review, the Hawkeyes (8-5) are bowl champions, winning their third straight postseason game and bringing football very much back into the Iowa conversation.
“It wasn’t me who changed the momentum,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said when asked about the switch that flipped on Hyde’s interception. “It was the players. All the credit goes to them.”
Coker’s numbers were all Iowa bowl records. He had 113 yards and a 62-yard TD run in the first half.
“It was just a great effort by our players,” Ferentz said. “Each and every guy on the roster did a great, great job against a great, great team.”
Coker was the offensive MVP. Hyde earned the defensive award.
Hyde’s play came out of nowhere.
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert put up record numbers, completing 41 of 57 for 434 yards and a TD. But he made one really super-bad choice, throwing late along the Missouri sideline to receiver Wes Kemp.
Hyde stepped in front and, as Iowa players are coached, cut his way to the opposite sideline.
“I just turned a defensive play into offensive play,” Hyde said. “They were making blocks all over the place. All I had to do was run.”
Ferentz choked up, a little at least, during the trophy presentation.
Understandable after the world’s worst December.
Upon further review, maybe it wasn’t so bad. They went out winners.
Missouri (10-3) had its way with Iowa's once-stout defense most of the night, rolling up 512 yards, including a school bowl record 434 passing by Blaine Gabbert.
Photos by Cliff Jette and Jim Slosiarek