2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 10, Michigan at Iowa
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Nov. 5 at Iowa 24 ... Michigan 16
CFN Analysis: It might have taken a little bit of good fortune and a late stand to finally stop Michigan, but Iowa’s defense got the job done. Jordan Bernstein made 15 tackles and Tyler Nelsen made 13 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble, keeping Denard Robinson under wraps as the defense bounced back after a rocky finish against Minnesota. The offense didn’t get too much out of the passing game, but James Vanderberg was solid, and Marvin McNutt helped balance things out with nine catches for 101 yards. But this was Marcus Coker’s game, rushing for 132 yards and two scores as the workhorse for an offense that needed him to take over. It wasn’t a perfect game, but there’s no slide after the Gopher gaffe. With the Michigan State showdown coming up next, Iowa is still in a position to win the Legends. With this victory, and with the Spartans and Nebraska still to play, it’s all there for the taking if the defense can put together a full sixty minutes like this for the next three games.
Michigan has the best running quarterback in college football and it chose to throw four times in the final moments around the goal line? It might have been a controversial ending – the Junior Hemingway play looked like a catch – but it shouldn’t have come to that. The run defense couldn’t stop Marcus Coker, but it got off the field enough to let the offense take over. Denard Robinson was fine but he didn’t take off for too many big dashes, with his 22-yard run his best of the day, and he only completed 17-of-37 passes; he didn’t take over. The Legends division title is still possible, but it’s going to take a lot of help now after losing to Michigan State and Iowa. After losing two of the last three games and with a trip to Illinois up next, a confidence-boosting win would be a plus before dealing with Nebraska and Ohio State.
(AP) IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Marcus Coker ran for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns and host Iowa held off a late Michigan rally to beat the Wolverines (No. 15 BCS, No. 13 AP) 24-16 on Saturday.
James Vandenberg added 171 yards passing and a TD for the Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten), who have won three straight over Michigan for the first time in school history.
Michigan drove to Iowa's 3-yard line with 16 seconds left. But Denard Robinson missed on four straight throws, with Iowa's B.J. Lowery breaking up Robinson's final toss to seal the win.
Vincent Smith appeared to pull the Wolverines (7-2, 3-2) within 24-22 on an 82-yard TD run after bouncing off Iowa's James Morris and going untouched for the score. Replay officials, however, ruled Morris' elbow had touched the ground. Still, Michigan drove to the Hawkeyes doorstep before being stopped.
Robinson finished 17-of-37 passing for 194 yards and two TD passes.
Coker's second touchdown, a 13-yard run with 10:42 left, put Iowa ahead 24-9. Robinson wasted little time answering, finding Kevin Koger for a 7-yard touchdown pass that pulled Michigan within 24-16 with 7:53 to go.
The Hawkeyes had a chance to put it away on a 4th-and-1 at the Michigan 43 with 5:22 to go, but they were called for an illegal snap and chose to punt it away. Iowa, which was gashed for a pair of fourth-quarter TDs in last week's 22-21 loss at Minnesota, forced the Wolverines to punt it right back, but Michigan made a stop and gave Robinson one more shot to win it.
In the final sequence, Junior Hemingway's apparent TD grab was ruled out of bounds, and Smith dropped one in the end zone on the next play.
Robinson couldn't connect with Roy Roundtree on fourth down, sending the jubilant Hawkeyes streaming onto the field.
Robinson led the Wolverines to a field goal on their first possession of the second half, cutting Iowa's lead to 17-9 with 6:19 left in third quarter. But he was dinged up after getting drilled by Iowa safety Tanner Miller and replaced for a series by Devin Gardner.
Robinson found himself and the Wolverines in a big hole when he got back.
The Hawkeyes took 5:27 off the clock, and Coker burst through a huge hole and went into the end zone untouched for a 13-yard TD run to put the Hawkeyes ahead 24-9.
The upset was a huge win for Iowa after losing at Minnesota -- a game that ranked among the worst in coach Kirk Ferentz's 13-year tenure.
The Hawkeyes came out like they'd had enough of hearing about that stinker, driving 76 yards on just six plays and going ahead 7-0 on Coker's 4-yard TD run less than five minutes in.
Michigan answered on Robinson's 5-yard TD pass to Toussaint late in the first quarter. But holder Drew Delio bobbled the snap on the kick, allowing Iowa to stay ahead 7-6.
Iowa made it 14-6 on Vandenberg's 1-yard TD pass to Brad Herman midway through the second -- and pushed it to 17-6 at halftime behind a pair of Robinson blunders.
Iowa's Tyler Neilsen had Robinson wrapped up for a sack, and as Robinson tried to slip away he put the ball on the ground to steady himself. The ball stayed there, though, and Neilsen's recovery led to a 42-yard field goal by Mike Meyer.
Robinson finished the half by being picked off by Christian Kirksey on a deflected ball at the Iowa goal line with 1:02 left before the break.
Michigan had gained over 500 yards of offense in three of its last four games, but Iowa held the Wolverines to 323 yards.
Michigan (7-1) at Iowa (5-3) Nov. 5, 12:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … America still needs farmers.
With all the talk and all the excitement about the LSU vs. Alabama, No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, the 1985 classic between Michigan and Iowa has been brought up on various lists.
Arguably Iowa’s biggest win in the last fifty years, four field goals and a dramatic 12-10 win was the catalyst to a run to the Rose Bowl. This year, a win over the Wolverines would put an instant stop to a potentially ugly slide.
At 5-2, Iowa had a layup against Minnesota before getting Legends showdowns against Michigan and Michigan State at home, but a funny thing happened on the way to the division title; the Hawkeyes lost to the horrendous Gophers.
Iowa hasn’t been all that great. It struggled to get by Northwestern, needed an epic comeback to beat Pitt, and lost to Iowa State, but the hope was that things would improve over the second half of the season and the big run would kick in. Now, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Hawkeyes lost to Michigan, Michigan State, at Purdue, and at Nebraska to finish with a losing season and miss out on a bowl game.
Michigan lost to Michigan State two weeks ago in a good, tough battle, but it rebounded with a terrific effort last week against Purdue. At 7-1, Brady Hoke’s club is having a great season, but it needs a little help, and probably needs to win out, to take the Legends title.
With the Big Ten’s best rushing offense and a defense that’s playing night-and-day better than last year, the team is equipped to handle a brutal finishing kick with a trip to Illinois next week before closing out at home against Nebraska and Ohio State.
Can Iowa rebound, go on a run, and steal the division title? The offense has enough pop to make it happen. Can Michigan go in the tank and ruin a great start with a disastrous final month? The one good win so far came against Notre Dame, and that was eons ago. Call this a turning point in the Legends race, and call it the end of the chase for the loser.
Why Michigan Might Win: Iowa’s run defense has been shockingly mediocre, and it’s not getting any better. Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray is a good runner, and he had no problems last week against the Hawkeye defensive front, while RB Duane Bennett ripped off 101 yards and a score. Gray and Bennett aren’t Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint. The Wolverines should be able to rip off yards in chunks against an Iowa defensive front that doesn’t get into the backfield and doesn’t make plays behind the line. If Robinson and Toussaint get time to find the hole and explode through it, it’s uh-oh time.
Robinson isn’t exactly Aaron Rodgers, but he’s a decent passer, at times, when he gets time to work. With no pass rush to worry about, he shouldn’t have too much of a problem connecting on a slew of downfield passes against an Iowa secondary that’s not coming up with enough big stops. The Hawkeyes are 91st in the nation and ninth in the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense, and it’s not like they’ve faced a slew of star quarterbacks outside of Northwestern’s Dan Persa. Basically, the Michigan offense should be able to do whatever it wants.
Why Iowa Might Win: Iowa’s at home, and this year, that means absolutely everything.
Granted, playing teams like Tennessee Tech, ULM, and Indiana helps the cause, but Iowa was also able to come up with wins over Pitt and Northwestern – all of them were at home. The Hawkeyes are 5-0 in Kinnick, and a stunning 0-3 away. Are they better than Iowa State and Minnesota? Absolutely, but they don’t seem to play with the same execution and the same swagger when they travel.
If field position makes a difference, Iowa should have a bit of an advantage thanks to one of the nation’s best punting game. Eric Guthrie has been fantastic, helping Iowa rank 12th in the nation averaging just over 40 yards per kick, while the Michigan punting game has been disastrous, ranking dead-last in the Big Ten and 111th in the nation averaging just 32.7 yards per try and rarely bailing the team out of jams. Iowa isn’t exactly great on kickoff returns, but Michigan’s return game is mediocre averaging under 20 yards per kickoff return and 8.1 yards per punt return.
The combination of the home-field advantage and the likelihood of the field being tipped to Michigan’s side might be just enough to overcome the mediocrity in so many different areas.
What To Watch Out For: Michigan seems to find different players to take turns taking the pressure and the heat off of Robinson. Vincent Smith has had his moments, but he hasn’t gotten more than nine carries so far. Junior Fitzgerald Toussaint has turned into the team’s most effective back, running a season-high 20 times last week for 170 yards and two scores against Purdue, highlighted by a brilliant 59-yard dash that basically put the game away. At 5-10 and 200 pounds he has decent size and has proven he can bust off the big play, working as a near-perfect complement in a spread attack.
Toussaint has been terrific at times, but Iowa’s Marcus Coker has been special for most of the year. Penn State’s Silas Redd and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball are probably locks for First Team All-Big Ten honors, but Coker is in the hunt and currently leads the league in rushing after ripping off 252 yards and two scores against Minnesota. Over the last three games he has rushed for 515 total yards with two touchdowns in each game.
What Will Happen: The Michigan offense will be too effective and too good for the Hawkeye defense. Iowa’s offense will be balanced, and it’ll keep up the pace for most of the game, but it won’t be explosive like the Wolverine attack. The Michigan defensive front will keep Coker to under 100 yards, but Vanderberg will pick up the slack and will have a terrific game. He’ll have the ball in his hands late with a chance to pull out the win, but the final drive will stall.
CFN Prediction: Michigan 27 … Iowa 21
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Michigan -4 O/U: 47
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