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Sports Then and Now

Iowa Vs. Michigan, 8 Classic Gridiron Clashes, Part 2

Posted on October 15, 2010 by JA Allen

Part Two: The Final Four Fantastic Finishes

Running back Fred Russell carries the ball for Iowa.

When Iowa travels to Ann Arbor on Saturday, they will face this season’s most impressive offensive force to date, all packed into one player—Michigan’s Denard Robinson.

Even in defeat against Michigan State last weekend, Wolverine quarterback Robinson still managed to generate more than 300 yards of offense. This was billed as “containing him.”

Michigan’s offensive prowess will be pitted against the Hawkeyes’ highly ranked defense in what promises to be an intense struggle on the front lines.

The difference in the game could come be the ability of the Wolverine defense to stop Iowa on offense.

It will hopefully be another fascinating game to add more sizzle to the historical football rivalry between Iowa and Michigan as we look back over the past 30 years.

Which down-to-the-wire games have provided the most excitement during these eight gridiron classics––as the game clock ticked down while one team was making a last second charge to score for the ultimate win? You be the judge.

1990: Iowa Wins 24-23 in Ann Arbor on October 20

Iowa place-kicker Jeff Skillett helped Iowa win in 1990.

Iowa was coming off a losing season in 1989, as the bloom was definitely off the rose and the earlier glory days of the 1980s seemed to fade.

Yet Iowa was beginning to climb out of their recent funk and into the limelight, coming into Michigan with a 4-1 record and a ranking of No. 23.

Hope blossoms eternally for Hawkeyes and their fans.

No. 10 Michigan was waiting to fulfill their own destiny, which for them necessitated putting down the Iowa Hawkeyes.

It did not look good early for the Iowa faithful as Michigan built a 14-7 halftime lead.

When Michigan, led by quarterback Elvis Grbac, seemed to be cruising, taking a 20-10 lead in the third quarter, Iowa roared back, putting on their defensive brakes.

The Hawkeyes shut down the Michigan offense—holding them to three first downs in the second half.

Michigan, however, fought hard to overcome stiff resistance long enough to score on a field goal in the fourth quarter, stretching their lead.

Iowa was led by quarterback Matt Rodgers, who passed for one score and ran the ball in for a second touchdown on the afternoon.

But the best thing Rodgers did was lead Iowa down the field on the final drive of the game to score against the Wolverines and lift Iowa past Michigan to score a major upset in the Big Ten.

Iowa was behind 23-17 with just a little over four minutes left on the clock.

Rodgers led the Hawkeyes on an amazing run—85 yards down the field with Paul Kujawa going in from the 1-yard line to score and send Iowa up by one when Jeff Skillett punched through the PAT.

As usual, Iowa’s defense did their part to stall the Wolverine offense in key moments, allowing Iowa to leave Ann Arbor 5-1, 3-0 in the Big Ten.

2003: Iowa Escapes 30-27 in Iowa City on October 4

Iowa QB Nathan Chandler eludes Michigan tackler.

Kirk Ferentz had taken over the Iowa football program in 1999 after esteemed coach Hayden Fry retired after a 20-year stay in Iowa City.

The first few years under Ferentz had been rough.

Eventually, the Iowa squad began to rebuild, finding success and respect.

In 2002, after seven years of losing to Michigan, Iowa finally won at Ann Arbor 34-9.

In 2003, coming into the game against Michigan at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa was ranked No. 19 and Michigan was ranked No. 9.

Nothing went well from the outset for the Iowa Hawkeyes, as they fell behind to the Wolverines 14-0 in the first quarter.

That was not part of the Iowa script for victory, especially after suffering an embarrassing loss the week before to an unranked Michigan State team.

Iowa quarterback Nathan Chandler finally scored, running the ball in from the 6-yard line to get Iowa on the board in the first quarter.

However, Iowa was able to find its way back into this contest primarily on the toe of kicker Nate Kaeding, who gave Iowa nine points on three field goals.

The play action of Iowa duo QB Chandler and preseason All-American running back Fred Russell kept the Michigan attack stymied most of the afternoon, as Michigan had prepared to stop the run by keying in on Russell.

At halftime Iowa trailed 20-17.

Iowa went up by three points in the third quarter after Kaeding made two of his three field goals of the day.

At that point Iowa led 23-20. This was another one of those down to the wire games Iowa fans were used to.

Iowa scored another touchdown when Chandler completed a 31-yard pass to Ramon Ochoa with 5:16 left in the fourth quarter—the score 30-20 in Iowa’s favor.

But Michigan quarterback John Navarre was not finished. He completed a 41-yard pass play to Braylon Edwards to pull Michigan back to within three.

Iowa’s defense, however, held. The Hawkeyes kept Michigan, who threatened in the closing moments, from scoring again.

Iowa survived to win two in a row against the vaunted Michigan Wolverines.

2005: Iowa Loses in Overtime 20-23 in Iowa City on October 22

Iowa QB Drew Tate directs the action on the field.

Iowa did everything better than Michigan in this contest at home in Iowa City except win the game––finally losing this one in overtime.

Iowa had more first downs—Iowa 23, Michigan 19. Iowa had more rushing yards—Iowa 38-139, Michigan 41-122—and more passing yards—Iowa 288, Michigan 220.

The Hawkeyes had more total offense on the day. So how did they lose this game?

Sometimes when you play the odds, it all works out, but sometimes it does not.

Iowa remained hot at home.

They had not lost in Kinnick Stadium since 2002, when Iowa State beat them.

In fact, the Hawkeyes led in this contest 14-10 well into the game when Michigan quarterback Chad Henne threw a screen pass to Steve Breaston, who ran it 52 yards down the left sideline into the end zone, giving Michigan the lead at 17-14 with 8:51 left in the contest.

As the clock continued to tick down, Iowa got the ball on their own 12-yard line and marched down the field behind Iowa quarterback Drew Tate.

Finally Tate’s pass to Herb Gribsby gave Iowa a first down on the Michigan 20 with a little more than one minute left on the clock.

Unwilling to risk a turnover, however, the Hawkeyes settled for a Kyle Schlicher field goal, which sent the contest into overtime at 17-17.

In overtime, Iowa managed only another field goal by Schlicher to go up 20-17.

But Michigan came back with Henne throwing an 18-yard completion to Jason Avant, leaving Jerome Jackson to bring the ball into the end zone for Michigan for six.

The Wolverines won this one in overtime 23-20.

2009: Iowa Hangs on to Win 30-28 in Iowa City on October 10

Iowa's Greenwood intercepts a pass in 2009.

It was homecoming in Iowa City, and the Hawkeyes entered the contest 5-0, while Michigan came in on shakier ground at 4-1.

Iowa and Michigan had not played each other since 2006, and Iowa had not defeated Michigan since their 30-27 victory in 2003.

The first quarter brought out the heat, as both quarterbacks suffered from interceptions as they attempted their first pass of the evening.

Ricky Stanzi was picked off by corner Donovan Warren, who scampered into the end zone to give Michigan a 7-0 lead. But Stanzi did not let this deter him, as he found a wide-open Tony Moeaki, who scored for Iowa to even the score.

Jeremiah Hunter picked off a toss by Tate Forcier, which led to an Iowa field goal and an Iowa lead of 10-7.

But Michigan showed up to play football, and they engineered another successful drive into the end zone, scoring the first rushing touchdown against an Iowa defense in 33 quarters—the last one coming from Penn State in 2008.

Before the half, Murray gave Iowa another field goal to bring Iowa within one, 14-13, with 12:50 left in the half.

When Forcier fumbled, Iowa took over and scored again as Brandon Wegher leaped into the end zone.

Iowa led 20-14.

Iowa started the third quarter with a Murray field goal, now leading 23-14.

But Michigan fought back, scoring a touchdown on a run by Wolverine Brandon Minor, and Michigan closed to within two, 23-21, with under five minutes left in the third quarter.

After many missed opportunities, Iowa scored its final touchdown on a pass from Stanzi to Moeaki after a brilliant punt return by Colin Sandeman gave Iowa possession on the Michigan 42-yard line.

Michigan scored again, this time under the leadership of QB Denard Robinson, who ran it in himself for Michigan’s final score.

The clock ran out with Iowa holding on 30-28 in Iowa City. Iowa moved to 6-0 for the season—still perfect on the year.

2010: Football Kickoff in Ann Arbor at 3:30 Eastern Time

Another exciting game between Iowa and Michigan.

As No. 15 Iowa heads off to Ann Arbor on Saturday, there is one thing we know for sure—it will be a close game.

A win over Michigan is critical for Iowa if they are to keep their Big Ten Conference Championship hopes alive.

The wished-for victory was perhaps made more difficult because of Michigan’s defeat at the hands of in-state rival Michigan State last Saturday.

Now Iowa will be expected to win a bit easier at Michigan, something they have not managed to do often in the past.

During Iowa’s bye week, the Hawkeyes no doubt spent their time studying to prepare for Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and crew.

Robinson was exposed in action against Michigan State last weekend as Michigan lost their first game of the year in Ann Arbor.

But Michigan will not go down easily in Week 7. Iowa will be in for a real dogfight. No doubt another classic in the making in the Iowa vs. Michigan football rivalry.

To read Part I, click here and read about the years 1981, 1985, 1986 and 1988.

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