IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa freshman kicker Keith Duncan kicked a 33-yard field goal with no time remaining to lift the Hawkeyes to a 14-13 upset of Michigan at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night.
Iowa began its game-winning drive at the Michigan 36 after a late hit penalty. Four plays later, the Hawkeyes drove to the Michigan 15, where Duncan hit the field goal.
Michigan (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) has lost its last four games at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) now is bowl eligible.
5 key things we learned Saturday
- Iowa can play some run defense. Last week’s 599-yard output against Penn State was an aberration. The Hawkeyes’ defense was active and physical all night against the Wolverines. After allowing 359 rushing yards against Penn State last week, the Hawkeyes gave up 98 yards on 35 carries in the first half. Iowa rallied to the football and was aggressive. This is the type of run defense we expected all year.
- Punter Ron Coluzzi can take a punch. Coluzzi tripped on the FieldTurf while faking a punt. He was hit in the head while down and Michigan’s Devin Bush was ejected for targeting. Then he twice was clubbed while punting, which resulted into a pair of 5-yard Michigan penalties. But he bounced back and performed his normal punting and kickoff duties.
- Running back Akrum Wadley is going to get paid. Midway through the third quarter, Wadley, a junior, had 115 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving against the nation’s best defense. Entering the game, Wadley ranked seventh among Big Ten rushers with 664 yards. His 99 carries were the fewest of any player on the list and his 6.7 yards per carry was the best. With NFL scouts from Seattle (2), Minnesota, Baltimore, Kansas City Chiefs (2), Denver, San Diego and Arizona, Wadley brought some quality attention to himself on Saturday.
- The wide receiver corps needs to make strides. Each of the receivers found ways to get open, yet they all failed to make vital plays in the clutch. Adrian Falconer dropped a 2-point conversion. Jerminic Smith got caught turned in the wrong direction on two deep routes. Riley McCarron missed a pass over the middle, which appeared to be too high. There’s a lack of chemistry among the receivers with quarterback C.J. Beathard, and that was evident when they missed some big plays.
- Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson is a beast. Johnson not only recorded a safety when he tackled Michigan running back De’Veon Smith in the end zone, but Johnson finished with nine tackles, including two for loss. He’s playing his best ball of his career the last month of the season.
Iowa kicker Keith Duncan’s 33-yard field goal on the game’s final play. Enough said.
Iowa’s passing game found openings in the Michigan defense, but at least three dropped passes or overthrows cost the Hawkeyes big plays. One, a 2-point conversion drop by a wide-open Falconer, cost the Hawkeyes a tie late in the first half. Can the Hawkeyes build on that performance against Illinois and Nebraska? We’ll have to wait and see.
Could Iowa keep the sellout Kinnick Stadium crowd engaged for four quarters? That was answered quickly with the Hawkeyes’ first offensive drive. Iowa mixed groupings and moved the ball from its 23 to the Michigan 48. That gave the team confidence and inspired the crowd. Then the defense countered with the right intensity, which kept the crowd alive. Then, the Hawkeyes won.
Iowa rushed for 164 yards against the nation’s No. 10 run defense, which allowed 107.4 yards a game entering Saturday.
What it means
Iowa played its best game of the season against the best regular-season opponent it has faced in several years. It’s something the Hawkeyes can use to build upon as it winds down the season and enters prepares for a possible bowl game.