2011 Michigan Wolverines Football
Michigan Wolverines @ Iowa Hawkeyes Football Recap
Iowa 24, Michigan 16
How does a team respond to a humiliating weekend? By getting back into the thick of its Big Ten division race.
The Iowa Hawkeyes bounced back from an embarrassing loss at Minnesota by holding off the 13th-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa moved to 6-0 at home this season, affirming its reputation as a hard team to beat in its own lair. The Hawkeyes gave away a gift-wrapped game to everyone else in the Legends Division when they stumbled in the Floyd of Rosedale fistfight on Oct. 29, but that Minnesota nightmare was quickly wiped away by this sorely needed bounce-back performance against a Michigan team whose quarterback is still learning how to play the position.
Iowa captured this game with its lunch-pail physicality. Running back Marcus Coker carried 29 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard run that gave the Hawkeyes a 24-9 lead with 10:42 left. Iowa was generally the more aggressive team, pushing the faster but less confident Michigan side off the ball for most of the day. Michigan’s defense did not collapse, but it ceded enough territory to lose leverage… and a first-place tie with Michigan State atop a crowded Legends Division that has four teams within one game of each other. Michigan State stands at 4-1, while this Iowa win kept the Hawkeyes in the hunt at 3-2, alongside Michigan and Nebraska. Iowa’s win sets up a titanic game against Michigan State next weekend in Iowa City.
The Wolverines had a chance to tie the game in the final minute, after driving all the way to the Iowa three-yard line with 16 seconds left, but Denard Robinson came up empty on four straight pass attempts thanks in large part to a blitzing Hawkeye defense. The Iowa defense, which blew a 21-10 fourth-quarter lead against Minnesota, was able to avoid another collapse thanks in part to some good fortune. On its final drive, Michigan had two apparent touchdowns disallowed after replay reviews, including an attempted catch by Junior Hemingway in the back of the end zone with 12 seconds to play.
Robinson ended up completing just 17 of 37 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, including a seven-yard throw to tight end Kevin Koger that brought Michigan back to within eight with 7:53 remaining. Robinson ran for 55 yards, his third-lowest total of the season. He was picked off once near the Iowa goal line, and also lost a fumble that led to an Iowa field goal. Robinson has thrown 12 interceptions this season, a clear indicator that he has not yet been able to make the transition from a scrambling quarterback to a pocket passer. New head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges want Robinson to learn how to throw from the pocket, but it seems that “Shoelace” will need another year to master this part of the art of quarterbacking.
James Vandenberg completed 14 of 21 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes. Marvin McNutt caught nine passes for 101 yards. Iowa has now won three straight over Michigan for the first time in the history of the matchup.
By: Matt Zemek