Skip to main content

Michigan Handles Iowa 27-14

Michigan did something that not many teams do — beat Iowa, in Iowa, by double digits.

The first road game of the season is always an adjustment.

Being in a hostile stadium, surrounded by raucous fans that cheer for every misstep and failed play requires a complete change in approach. And when that initial tilt is in a stifling environment like Kinnick Stadium, where top five teams go to die, the adjustments needed are only compounded.

But the No. 4 Michigan football team was initially undeterred by the hostile conditions, beating Iowa 27-14 behind consistent offensive production and stout defense. The Hawkeyes put some pressure on the Wolverines’ defense late, but were effectively neutralized for most of the game. Sophomore quarterback JJ McCarthy directed a clean game under center, minimizing mistakes and leading the offense to score more points than Iowa has allowed so far this season.

The Wolverines had no trouble moving the sticks early.

Junior running back Blake Corum repeatedly found holes in the Iowa line, and McCarthy supplemented the rush attack with productive throws to the flats. Graduate wide receiver Ronnie Bell capped the drive with a creative reverse play, scampering 16 yards to put Michigan up 7.

And the offensive production continued.

Halted only by a single punt before the third quarter, the Wolverines made repeated drives deep into Iowa territory. The Hawkeyes were able to hold Michigan to two field goals and a touchdown though, keeping the game from getting out of hand too early. The Wolverines offense eventually slowed down, logging three three and outs, but not before garnering a 20-0 lead early in the third.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

McCarthy was not flashy, but made the plays necessary to lead Michigan to a commanding lead early. He was safe with the ball, and save for a trip on his drop and a fumble due to defensive pressure, was nearly flawless in the pocket. This is a clear difference from his game last week, where overthrows of his receivers were rife.

The Wolverines also shored up many of the problems Maryland exploited on the defensive end last week.

They shut down the Iowa rush early, drawing an immediate three-and-out. For most of the game, the Hawkeyes were entirely one dimensional, depending on quarterback Spencer Petraas to make plays through the air. Five more punts followed the first, with Iowa scoring its lone points on an early fourth quarter touchdown and a touchdown in garbage time.

The defensive product was largely a team effort, relying on consistent pressure rather than big difference making plays. Senior Defensive end Mike Morris and sophomore linebacker Junior Colson each made big plays, tallying three tackles and two sacks and seven tackles respectively.

But the defense slowed down late, and Iowa began to move the ball. The Hawkeyes went on two long drives in the third and fourth quarters. The first was a 2:37 drive that resulted in their first points of the game. On the second, they quickly made it to the red zone. The Wolverine defense was able to shut down Iowa deep in the red zone on fourth down, keeping the game well out of reach.

Michigan stuck to its game plan, played safe and consistently, and shut down some of Iowa’s biggest strengths. The Wolverines were faced with a bit of adversity late, but the defense shored up when it was necessary, and the team will leave Iowa City with a win that was never really in doubt.

Michigan will travel to Bloomington next week as they attempt to remain undefeated against a middling Indiana team.