Game Report: Iowa 24, Michigan 21
Michigan and Iowa traditionally like to play grizzly-bear football in the same cave, but only one team had the make-up to give that style a go on Saturday.
Michigan led by a touchdown entering the fourth quarter. But Iowa pounded the fish guts out of Michigan, rushing 17 times for 65 yards. The Wolverines ran six times for 4 yards. Iowa held a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession, keeping the ball for 9 minutes, 55 seconds in the quarter.
When trailing by a touchdown and facing fourth-and-1, Weisman pounded four yards to the Michigan 20. Two plays later, Weisman followed fullback Adam Cox's isolation block, burst into the Michigan secondary and ran over Michigan cornerback Ramon Taylor for the tying touchdown.
"That's what we want to do," Iowa running back Mark Weisman said. "We want to run downhill, get downhill fast."
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – Consecutive Iowa home wins against Michigan, a series first
9 – Second-half rushing yards by Michigan
10 – Fourth-quarter comebacks by Iowa since 2009
18 – Temperature at kickoff, the coldest at Kinnick per KCRG research
45 – Second-half yards by Michigan
B-plus -- On a frozen neck roll of a day, Iowa’s linebackers had the final word.
- Marc Morehouse
A-minus -- James Morris said last year’s Nebraska game was colder. Winning is warming.
- Mike Hlas
A-minus -- Is this the start of Ferentz 3.0? Magic 8-ball says check back next week.
- Scott Dochterman
Iowa LB Anthony Hitchens. He's known as the quiet man of Iowa's senior linebacking trio but few players speak louder than Hitchens with his shoulder pads. Hitchens tied a team high with eight tackles, including five solo. He had three tackles for loss, forced and recovered the game-decising fumble and was credited with two quarterback hurries.
"I know people know about him," Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis said. "I know running backs fear him because when he comes in, he hits hard.
"He's a humble guy. He won't brag out about it," Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz said. "He just goes out there and does his job. He kills people out there. Every time he hits somebody, he blows someone up."
Temperature at kickoff was 19 degrees, which KCRG's weather team recorded as the coldest game in Kinnick Stadium history. The previous low for any Iowa home game was in 1923 -- six years before Kinnick Stadium opened -- when Iowa beat Northwestern 13-6.
"My hands get cold real fast and as soon as I caught one pass my hands were freezing," Iowa running back Damon Bullock said. "It was crazy."
Fiedorowicz caught three passes for 42 yards and punctuated his senior-day performance with two major catches.
Fiedorowicz scored Iowa's first touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Jake Rudock on third-and-4. The play was reviewed, and Fiedorowicz earned his fifth touchdown catch of the season.
"We've been practicing that all year," Fiedorowicz said. "Jake audibled that play. At first I got knocked up a little bit, and I ended up leaking out backside and he rolled out to the same side as me and put it in there."
Fiedorowicz also hauled in a 12-yard strike on third-and-10 with less than two minutes remain to clinch the victory. Fiedorowicz has caught passes in 29 consecutive games with 82 catches, 398 yards and nine TDs over that span.
SMITH CATCHES ON
Iowa sophomore Tevaun Smith continues to make strides, grabbing a team-high five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. He helped Iowa get back in the game early in the third quarter by turning a short slant route into a 55-yard touchdown.
"The ball got past my eyes a little bit so I threw my hand up there and tried to snag it and it just stuck to my glove," Smith said. "I didn't want to get caught. I just wanted to get up in the end zone."
Nearly as important as his touchdown were his back-to-back catches that led off Iowa's game-winning field goal drive. On the drive's first play, Smith broke off a sideline route that left Michigan cornerback Raymon Taylor flat-footed and picked up a 20-yard gain. On the next play, he caught a tough hitch route for five yards to move Iowa to the Michigan 40.
Smith said he's maturing as a route runner.
I feel like I'm definitely progressing," Smith said. "I'm getting open a lot more than earlier in the season."
Iowa senior kick returner Jordan Cotton returned a kickoff 60 yards with 30 seconds left in the second quarter. His play set up Iowa inside the Michigan 40, but the Hawkeyes were unable to score before halftime when a field-goal attempt was thwarted by a botched hold.
"It felt really good because we were due for one, to break a long kick return," Cotton said. "We finally did it. We'd been close so many times to really break a big run and we got it done this time."
Cotton was one of 16 seniors honored in their home finales. Cotton is the son of former Iowa running back Marshall Cotton.
"I kind of got emotional because I've never seen him cry before," Cotton said. "That's the first time I'd seen him cry."
Iowa (7-4, 4-3 Big Ten) faces Nebraska (8-3, 5-2) on at 11 a.m. Friday at Lincoln. The teams compete for the Heroes Trophy.