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Iowa Vs. Michigan: 8 Classic Gridiron Clashes

Posted on October 14, 2010 by JA Allen

The Iowa Hawkeyes are seldom winners against the Michigan Wolverines on the football field.Part One: The 1980s

Part I: The 1980s

Michigan seldom loses to Iowa.

Since 1900 the Hawkeye record stands at 11-40-4 against the Wolverines.

This is not good news if you are a Hawkeye or a Hawkeye fan heading into Wolverine territory for another showdown in Week 7.

Iowa won contests in 1900, 1924, 1958, 1962, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1990, 2002, 2003, and 2009.

Six of the eleven wins have been on the road––over half.

This is somewhat good news since Iowa will be playing Saturday in Ann Arbor.

During the rivalry, Iowa and Michigan also played for four ties––in 1929 (0-0); in 1957 (21-21); in 1963 (21-21) and in 1988 (17-17)––which marked the only tie with Michigan in a game played at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

1981: Iowa Wins 9-7 in Ann Arbor On October 17

1981 was a breakout year for Hayden Fry's Hawkeyes.

Iowa had not defeated Michigan since 1962.  Almost 20 years.

Hayden Fry whisked away from North Texas State promised change when he arrived in Iowa City in 1979.

Hawkeye fans were starved after a steady diet of Michigan dust and Bo Schembechler diatribes.

When Iowa won a thriller 9-7 on October 17, 1981 over the highly ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, the Hawkeyes claimed the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten Conference race.

Iowa’s defense literally shut down the Michigan offense holding them to one score on the day.

Iowa’s offense, although not sterling, was good enough to win this hard-fought contest.

Michigan fell for the second time in the season to 4-2 with two losses in the Big Ten.

Iowa did it by controlling the game, holding onto the ball, allowing no turnovers––generally keeping the Michigan offense off the field.

Iowa held onto the ball for 36:56 minutes while Michigan managed only 23:04 minutes on the day––Iowa ran 73 plays on offense to Michigan’s 56.

Michigan’s only score came on a 17-yard pass from Wolverine QB Steve Smith to famed Michigan wide receiver Anthony Carter in the second quarter.

It was the only touchdown of the day.

Iowa’s scoring came off the toe of place-kicker Tom Nichol who booted through three field goals of 20, 36 and 30 yards to give Iowa all nine of its points with his soccer-style kick.

The winning kick came with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter.

That was all the Iowa defense needed to secure the win as the persistent Hawkeyes kept the Michigan offense at bay all afternoon.

1985: Iowa Wins 12-10 in Iowa City On October 19

Chuck Long was the runner up in Heisman voting in 1985.

Iowa was ranked No. 1 for the first time since 1960 and Michigan was ranked No. 2.

The Hawkeyes were riding high. Chuck Long, Iowa’s quarterback, was in the running for the Heisman Trophy.

But first Iowa needed to secure their place at the top of the polls by defeating Michigan at home in Kinnick Stadium.

At the end of the game, the headlines should have read Iowa place-kicker Rob Houghtlin 12, Michigan 10.

Houghtlin gave No. 1 ranked Iowa four field goals on the afternoon as the Hawkeyes  struggled to keep pace offensively against the No. 2 ranked Wolverines.

The Michigan defense again allowed no touchdowns on the day for the fifth time in six games.

Even so, Iowa found a way to win––by also employing stingy defense––as usual.

The only touchdown of the day came on a 6-yard pass from Michigan QB Jim Harbaugh to fullback Gerald White half-way through the second quarter.

Houghtlin’s first 35-yard kick came with 5:55 gone in the second period, scoring another 3-pointer on a 27-yard kick on the final play of the first half.

Michigan took the 7-6 lead into the locker room at the halftime.

Houghtlin added another 36-yard field goal to go up 9-7 in the fourth period.

Michigan’s place-kicker countered, adding his own 40-yard field goal a short time later. This allowed Michigan to surge ahead 10-9.

After Houghtlin missed an attempt from 44 yards, he was able to redeem himself.

On the final play of the game, Iowa’s famed place kicker booted a 29 yard field goal to secure the win and keep Iowa’s No. 1 spot secure for another week.

Needless to say, a gleeful Iowa crowd stormed the field and Beano Cook finally had to eat his words!

1986 Iowa Loses 17-20 at Michigan On October 18

Michigan was led by quarterback Jim Harbaugh in 1986.

Payback time for the Michigan Wolverines who had lost one year ago in 1985 as Iowa kicked a last second Iowa field goal to win 12-10 in Iowa City.

This year it was Michigan who lined up with five seconds left on the clock to kick a game winner.

Even after Iowa called a time out to ice the kicker––Mike Gillette booted the kick through, giving the Wolverines a 20-17 win over Big Ten rival Iowa.

Michigan ranked No. 4 left Michigan Stadium with a 6-0 record, undefeated in Big Ten play.  Iowa, ranked No. 8, suffered its first loss of the season, falling to 5-1.

Iowa led at the half 10-3 with Gillette providing Michigan’s only score––a 53-yard field goal. The Michigan offense led by quarterback Jim Harbough and power running of full back Gerald White came back in the second half, taking the lead at 17-10.

Iowa tied it up when Iowa quarterback Mark Vlasic hit Robert Smith scoring a touchdown on a 15-yard pass play with 11:15 left on the clock.

After a missed field goal by Michigan and an Iowa fumble, Michigan sealed the game with the Gilllette kick.

Another Iowa-Michigan classic entered the books.

1988: Tie 17 -17 in Iowa City On October 15

Iowa Coach Hayden Fry wished to eliminate ties in college football.

Hayden Fry along with several other Big Ten Coaches pressed the NCAA for a tie-breaker system––overtime, to decide a winner so that ties in college football would cease.

After this game, he would have another page to add to his argument as Iowa ended up tying the Michigan Wolverines 17-17 in this college football contest played in Iowa City.

Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler announced his hatred for ties after the game sputtered and died at 17 all.

The tie knocked Michigan out of first place in the Big Ten.

It marked Iowa’s second tie of the season, much to the chagrin of Coach Fry.

Led by quarterback Chuck Hartlieb and bolstered by the catching prowess of tight end Marv Cook, Iowa secured an early first quarter lead.

Michigan came back. On the toe of place-kicker Mike Gillette, Michigan added 3 points, making the score 7-3.

Iowa place-kicker Jeff Skillett responded with another three for Iowa––the score now 10-3.

Immediately off a Michigan fumble on their own 8-yard line, Iowa fullback David Hudson scored and Iowa led 17-3.

Michigan drove the ball to the Iowa 17.  But the Michigan quarterback Taylor could not hear over the crowd noise.

When penalized for delay of game, Coach Schembechler informed the referee he was not happy, causing Michigan to receive an unsportsman-like conduct penalty.

Then Bo was really unhappy.

With the ball backed up to the 37, Michigan still managed to score, making it 17-10 with a minute to play in the first half.

Michigan tied the score in the second half, 17-17.

At that point, both teams had a chance to put up another six points––but fumbles on the one-yard line, leading to turnovers, foiled both teams.

Iowa, going in for a score and the lead in the third quarter, turned the ball over at the 1-yard line.

Then Michigan repeated the same lapse with one minute and 21 left on the clock––when Iowa defense man Joe Mott wrestled the ball away from Tracy Williams.

Chuck Hartlieb’s last gasp pass to tight end Marv Cook fell incomplete as time expired and the two teams had to go home with a tie.

Nobody was happy.

Part Two:

The road to and from Ann Arbor has never been a smooth or straightforward one for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Michigan has built an esteemed football program on the back of outstanding players and superlative coaches.

That has not changed.

Kirk Ferentz knew as much when he came to Iowa in 1999, stepping in to take over after his former boss Coach Hayden Fry retired in 1998.

Part 2 will cover the years 1990, 2003, 2005 plus last year’s contest in 2009.

Come back tomorrow for the rousing finish!


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