IOWA CITY — For as much as Iowa has clunked around this season, this was the kind of effort, kind of game, that tells you this program is alive.
Your Hawkeyes live.
Keith Duncan’s 33-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Hawkeyes 14-13 over No. 3 Michigan. This set loose a torrent of Hawkeye.
The Hawkeyes themselves were swallowed as the Kinnick Stadium crowd spilled onto the field. In some conferences, this is a fine. For the Hawkeyes (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) on late Saturday night, this was just fine.
Meanwhile up in the press box, Iowa assistant coaches hooted and hollered as they sprinted their way to the elevators. Among those coaches was offensive coordinator Greg Davis. He’s taken his hits. He also happened to call the QB draw that C.J. Beathard zipped up the middle for a first down at Michigan’s 15.
Jim Harbaugh might be a genius, but he was the one calling the futile timeouts to try to freeze a true freshman kicker. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was the one who, if he followed form, fought back tears during the postgame field interview.
The toughest yards for the Hawkeyes all night were the ones that took them up the tunnel. The “blackout” crowd of 70,585 planted itself in front of the tunnel. Occasionally, the crowd would spit out a Hawkeye in full uniform.
They probably smelled bad after 60 minutes of gut-wrenching knuckleball. No one seemed to mind.
Iowa’s defense held Michigan (9-1, 6-1) to 201 yards, a season low for the Wolverines.
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Wait, the crowd just spit a few more Hawkeyes out. This might go on all night. The crowd danced on the field while the PA blared Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Everybody got to dance.
Embarrassed at Penn State a week ago. Left for dead. And there’s Journey and a legit crowd rush, one of the first since the mid-2000s.
Breathe it in.
Hlas: Hail to the Hawkeyes
Iowa didn’t yield an inch to Michigan. From a nutty first half where the Hawkeyes left a few points on the board to the defense forcing yet another three-and-out to set up the game-winner.
So, there’s a penalty called “roughing the center.” They have that. In football.
The rule states that the long snapper has one second to reset himself. Iowa strong safety Brandon Snyder didn’t wait for that second and drove Michigan’s Scott Sypniewski into the turf. Iowa went from forcing a punt from Michigan’s 49 to a first down inside its territory.
This eventually led to Kenneth Allen’s 51-yard field goal with 9:35 left in the game. Ferentz looked toward the officials with his palms up. Letter of the rule, it was the correct call.
And a fairly painful one for the Hawkeyes. But not as painful as the face masking call on Michigan that gave Iowa a first down at Michigan’s 36 with 1:23 left.
From there, running back Akrum Wadley did more damage, catching a 10-yard screen pass on first down. Wadley finished the night with 115 rushing yards and five catches for 52 yards and a TD.
The first half for the Hawkeyes was full of life.
After a total bummer in a 41-14 loss at Penn State last week, the Hawkeyes crafted offensive drives, grinded out stops on defense and let punter Ron Coluzzi loose.
Let the punter loose?
Coluzzi attempted a fake punt. He stumbled and fell short of the first down, but he took a shot to the head by linebacker Devin Bush. The play was reviewed and Bush was called for targeting and ejected. So instead of a first down at Iowa’s 31, the dead-ball foul pushed the Wolverines back. The drive ended in Kenneth Allen’s 26-yard field goal, so you could legitimately argue that Coluzzi’s head saved Iowa four points.
Then, Coluzzi did his punter thing extremely well. He unleashed a 54-yard punt that he managed to coax some backspin out of and downed it at Michigan’s 2.
Two plays later, defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson stopped running back De’Veon Smith for a 2-yard loss in the end zone for a safety to make the score 10-2. Before this, you were scrolling through the internet for the last time Iowa was shut out at Kinnick Stadium. It was 31-0 against Wisconsin in 1998, but Johnson erased that number all by himself.
After the safety, Iowa’s defense was energized. It held UM to a pair of three-and-outs and eventually set up the offense with a first down at the Hawkeyes’ 48 with 4:14.
This needed to be a drive of justice and it was. Also, mark this drive down as the time Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis went all “Y,” “B,” “A” and “sprint” buttons with Wadley in the human video game that is football.
Iowa caught Michigan being aggressive and Beathard hit Wadley in a giant open space for a 27-yard gain to Michigan’s 24. On fourth-and-goal from the 3, Iowa again let Michigan’s blitz come and Beathard found Wadley in the left flat for an easy TD. Beathard threw slightly behind wide receiver Adrian Falconer, so the half ended 10-8 Michigan.
The Hawkeyes didn’t punch out.
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Linebacker Jack Hockaday was credited with a forced fumble on the opening kick of the second half, which was a pop-up kick that fullback Khalid Hill fielded. Fullback Brady Ross recovered and the Hawkeyes had a first down at Michigan’s 43.
Wadley had back-to-back 12-yard carries, but the drive flamed out after two pass plays were squelched after first down from UM’s 8. Keith Duncan’s 25-yard field goal gave Iowa an 11-10 lead with 9:55 left in the third quarter.
This game that almost slipped through the Hawkeyes’ gloves.
Beathard just missed Falconer on the 2-point pass. It still hit Falconer’s hands. He’d tell you he should’ve had it.
That’s two points.
Kicker Miguel Recinos left a 45-yard field goal short. It looked as if a Michigan player might’ve gotten a finger on it. It was pretty short and a little right.
That’s three points.
In the end, that was Keith Duncan. That was a 33-yard field goal. And that was a 14-13 victory.
That was as good as it gets.
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