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Hawkeyes record historic Insight Bowl win

Posted on 29. Dec, 2010 by in Iowa Football

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

TEMPE, Ariz. — For 12 games, inconsistency reigned supreme. One minute, the Iowa Hawkeyes would look like world-beaters. The next, they would find a way to lose games late.

It appeared as though the 2010 Insight Bowl would follow a similar script to the previous five losses. Iowa let what was once a 17-3 lead in the second quarter slip away and entering the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes were trailing No. 14 Missouri 24-20. The game looked like it would be lost.

Except it wasn’t.

Iowa sophomore cornerback Micah Hyde returned a Blaine Gabbert interception 72 yards for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. For once, the Hawkeyes came out on the victorious end of a close game, defeating the Tigers 27-24 and in part, winning a third consecutive bowl game for the first time in school history.

“It’s awesome,” said junior safety Tyler Sash, who has started in all three of these back-to-back-to-back bowl wins. “Any time you can get to a bowl, first of all, let alone three postseason wins in a row, give all the credit to Coach [Kirk] Ferentz. He works his butt off, and he knows what’s he doing.”

The game began with Iowa scoring a touchdown on its opening drive, when freshman running back Marcus Coker scored the first of his two touchdowns on the evening from one yard out to make it 7-0 in favor of Iowa.

What proved to be even more significant, though, was what happened on Missouri’s first series of the game. The Tigers managed to drive all the way down to the Hawkeye 5-yard line, but were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal, which kept Iowa ahead 7-3.

That would be the score going into the second quarter when Coker, who was named the game’s Offensive MVP, rushed for a 62-yard touchdown to extend the Iowa lead to 14-3. Coker, who was starting for just the fourth time in his young Hawkeye career, finished the game with 219 yards rushing (a new Iowa bowl record) on 33 carries.

A 34-yard field goal by freshman kicker Michael Meyer pushed the Hawkeye advantage to two touchdowns, but Missouri would finally crack the end zone when running back Henry Josey scored from 10 yards out.

Just before halftime, the Tigers had an opportunity to tie the game, but Gabbert threw an interception to senior safety Brett Greenwood that was initially deflected by junior cornerback Shaun Prater.

Meyer would make another field goal from 21 yards away to give Iowa a 10-point lead, but like all of its prior losses this season, the Hawkeyes fell behind after the Tigers scored two third-quarter touchdowns that gave Missouri its 24-20 lead entering the fourth quarter.

On the play that shifted momentum towards the Hawkeyes for good, Gabbert said he was “greedy” with the throw. That greed led to Hyde making a play on the ball and finding open field to roam down.

“I couldn’t have done it without the defense,” Hyde said. “All I did was run, honestly. They were picking up blocks the whole time, so it was a great team effort.

Missouri would have a chance late in the fourth quarter, but what was initially ruled a fourth-down catch would be reversed by instant replay, and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs.

Iowa would then seal the victory on a third-down completion from senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi to senior tight end Allen Reisner good for 39 yards.

Just like that, the winning ways of the past were rediscovered. Just like that, the Hawkeyes found a positive way to end what was otherwise a disappointing 2010.

“That’s all you can ask for, is to win a game,” Stanzi said.

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