IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s Keith Duncan kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give the Hawkeyes a 14-13 victory over the second-ranked University of Michigan football team on Saturday (Nov. 12) at Kinnick Stadium. The result came as part of a wild Saturday that saw the nation’s second-, third- and fourth-ranked teams all lose.
With Michigan leading, 13-11, Iowa took possession at its 25-yard line with 3:43 to play against the Wolverines’ vaunted defense, which had limited the Hawkeyes to 2-of-14 on third downs entering the penultimate drive. The Hawkeyes managed a first down on a quarterback sneak from CJ Beathard at the 35-yard line with 2:52 remaining, followed by a first down run to the 46. Then, on first down, Iowa went play action, but Taco Charlton broke through the line and hit Beathard hard as he attempted a long vertical throw. The ball was badly underthrown, and Channing Stribling was positioned perfectly, intercepting the ball at Michigan’s 16-yard line with 1:54 to play.
Armed with three timeouts and a strong defense of its own, however, Iowa forced a three-and-out. During the return on a short punt, Michigan was called for a critical facemask, which gave the Hawkeyes possession at U-M’s 36-yard line with 1:23 left. Iowa advanced the ball to the 15-yard line and called a timeout to set up the game winning kick.
The result capped a frustrating night in a defensive struggle for both teams with a combined 431 yards of offense in the game.
After claiming a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, Michigan went five possessions without a first down in the middle of the game, including the entire third quarter. Iowa rattled off 11 straight points in the span, starting with a safety in the second quarter.
As part of the unfortunate run, Michigan fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, and Iowa claimed possession at U-M’s 43-yard line, eventually taking its first lead of the game, 11-10, on a 27-yard field goal from Duncan.
Trailing for the first time in the fourth quarter this season, Michigan got on track. A pair of first downs were aided by a personal-foul call on Iowa on a U-M punt with the Wolverines retaining possession near midfield. The drive stalled, but Kenny Allen answered the call, drilling a career-long 51-yard field goal, his eighth straight make, to give the visitors a 13-11 lead. It marked Allen’s first career attempt from beyond 50 yards.
After forcing a punt, U-M then took possession at its 40-yard line. Looking for a decisive score, Wilton Speight was intercepted by Manny Ragamba, who pulled a contested throw away from a U-M receiver to set up the dramatic possessions with 3:43 remaining.
Dymonte Thomas led a strong Michigan defensive effort with 10 tackles, eight of them coming as solo efforts. Chris Wormley added a pair of tackles for a loss, including a sack. Offensively, Chris Evans paced the ground game with 52 yards on eight carries (6.5 ypc), while Jake Butt caught a pass in his 26th straight game, finishing with four catches for 39 yards on the night.
Michigan started the scoring on a 26-yard field goal from Allen at the 4:00 minute mark of the opening quarter. U-M got the ball in great field position after Iowa punter Ron Coluzzi pulled down a high snap and tried to run for a first down before tripping and coming up well short at the 31-yard line.
Michigan’s defense was on point early in the game surrendering just 25 yards on Iowa’s first 19 plays, including an 11-play stretch without conceding a single yard. Having forced a fourth down near the end of the first quarter, however, U-M was whistled for consecutive running-into-the-kicker penalties, giving the Hawkeyes a fresh set of downs. The second penalty came after Coluzzi appeared to run outside of the tackle box to kick it, thereby making him an eligible runner. Iowa proceeded to march 49 yards, setting up a 46-yard field goal attempt from Miguel Recinos, but the sophomore pushed it wide right and short.
Michigan capitalized immediately, driving 72 yards on nine plays with Ty Isaac running off guard before cutting back inside for a seven-yard touchdown run with 8:56 left in the opening half. Speight was impressive on the drive, going 3-of-3 through the air including a nifty 29-yard strike to Jehu Chesson and an important third-down conversion to Iowa native Amara Darboh.
Iowa’s third punt (first official) led to yet another shift in the game as a 54-yarder from Coluzzi spun inside the U-M one-yard line was downed at the two. Two plays later, De’Veon Smith was tackled in the end zone for a safety, making it a 10-2 game and starting the game’s first important momentum switch.
Two drives later, Iowa drove 46 yards before facing a fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line with 1:32 left in the half. The Hawkeyes gambled and succeeded as Beathard found Akrum Wadley on a gutsy screen pass for the touchdown. Iowa uncharacteristically went for two points but was unsuccessful with U-M maintaining a 10-8 lead.
Michigan will honor its seniors next Saturday (Nov. 19), when it plays host to Indiana at Michigan Stadium. The final home game of the 2016 season will kick off at 3:30 p.m. A TV designation has not yet been set.