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Hawkeyes upset 13th-ranked Wolverines

Posted on 05. Nov, 2011 by in Iowa Football

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

IOWA CITY, Iowa — In the course of one week, what once appeared to be doom and gloom has turned into hope and optimism.

Coming off a disastrous defeat in Minnesota last week, the Iowa Hawkeyes had one of their better days and escaped with a 24-16 upset of No. 13 Michigan on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. This win is the third straight for Iowa over the Wolverines, which is a first in school history. It also makes the Hawkeyes bowl-eligible for the 11th straight season as they now sit at 6-3 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play.

“These guys earned a chance to really feel good about themselves,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They should be proud of their effort.”

This victory came close to becoming a repeat of last week’s collapse in Minneapolis. Iowa went ahead 24-9 in the fourth quarter when sophomore running back Marcus Coker picked up his second touchdown of the afternoon and 10:42 remained in the game. Michigan quickly struck back with a touchdown drive of its own that took less than three minutes, making it a one-possession game.

Michigan would get the ball once again with 2:15 showing on the clock. On the first play of their final possession, it appeared the Wolverines had gotten the big play they needed when it was originally ruled running back Vincent Smith wasn’t down as he scampered 82 yards for the score. However, the play was reviewed and replay showed Smith’s elbow hitting the ground just before he made his move into the open field. The tackle was credited to sophomore linebacker James Morris, who finished with eight of them on the afternoon.

“I felt his elbow was down,” Morris said. “It was just one of those things where I was coming off a block and just threw my body in there.”

The ball was placed back at Michigan’s own 29-yard line, but the Wolverine offense continued to move the ball with ease all the way down to Iowa’s 3-yard line in the final minute. Then came the second significant moment of the drive.

On a 2nd-and-goal play from the Iowa 3, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson threw a pass into the end zone that appeared to be caught with one hand by wide receiver Junior Hemingway, but was ruled incomplete and upheld as an incomplete pass following review. Hemingway kept himself in the end zone, but was unable to maintain full possession as he came down.

Junior cornerback Micah Hyde said he initially thought he was beat on the play.

“The ball ended up being behind me,” Hyde said. “I had inside leverage, and I thought Hemingway had got a little push. He brushed me through, and I thought it was a good play.

“I thought Hemingway made a good play, but I guess the review says otherwise.”

Following an incomplete pass intended for Smith on third down, Michigan faced 4th-and-goal with two seconds showing on the clock. Robinson threw a pass intended for receiver Roy Roundtree, but it was broken up by sophomore cornerback B.J. Lowery, who was subbed in for the final play.

“I was actually excited,” Lowery said about being on the field for that play. “For the coaches to have faith and actually put in me, that felt good.”

Offensively, Iowa was sparked by Coker, who finished with 132 yards rushing on 29 carries and scored twice, including the aforementioned 13-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback James Vandenberg was 14-of-21 passing for 171 yards and threw a one-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to senior tight end Brad Herman. Senior wide receiver Marvin McNutt caught nine passes for 101 yards receiving to lead the offense.

With three games remaining, the Hawkeyes suddenly control their own destiny in the Legends Division. Iowa plays its final home game of the season on Nov. 12 when No. 15 Michigan State (7-2, 4-1) comes to town. The Spartans sit alone in first place of the Legends Division after beating Minnesota, 31-24.

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