IOWA CITY, Iowa — Michigan squandered a 10-point lead. The No. 3 Wolverines missed tackles left and right, and allowed Iowa to hold onto the ball for the bulk of the third quarter.
At one point, the best player on the field was Iowa P Ron Coluzzi — which says something about the quality of play Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium.
But even a late-game interception by CB Channing Stribling couldn’t stop the Hawkeyes. A face mask penalty against Mike McCray on a punt moved Iowa from its own 49-yard line to the Michigan 36, and Iowa’s Keith Duncan kicked a 33-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to hand the Wolverines their first loss of the season, 14-13.
Here are five things we learned Saturday about Michigan:
- Discipline was lacking on special teams, particularly on the punt coverage unit. Devin Bush got thrown out for targeting after hitting Coluzzi in the first quarter — Coluzzi tripped on the turf. On Iowa’s next drive, Coluzzi punted twice after Michigan’s special teams defenders ran into the punter twice — the second time gave Iowa a first down and allowed the Hawkeyes to extend the drive, which ended with a missed field goal. Then, at the start of the second half, Khalid Hill coughed up the ball on a kickoff return that set up Iowa’s 25-yard field goal, which gave the Hawkeyes an 11-10 lead five minutes in.
- Michigan wasn’t sure-handed in the first quarter. Jehu Chesson was unable to hang on to the ball on a 14-yard pass from Wilton Speight on third-and-13 — officials overturned the completion. Officials also overturned Amara Darboh’s bobble in the end zone at about nine minutes into the game, wiping out a touchdown that could have given Michigan some breathing room.
- Timely penalties continue to hurt. Michigan took four penalties for 33 yards in the first half, but one penalty in particular hurt the Wolverines — a personal foul for unnecessary roughness against Bryan Mone late in the half. That moved Iowa from the Michigan 17 to the Michigan 9 and helped the Hawkeyes cut Michigan’s lead to 10-8 with less than 3 minutes left in the half. Iowa would have tied the game had C.J. Beathard’s conversion pass not bounced off the hands of Adrian Falconer in the end zone.
- Tackling is a growing concern. As the season has worn on, the linebackers have worn down. A week after allowing Maryland to run roughshod on the front seven — which allowed Maryland’s passing game to thrive — Michigan was unable to get its hands on Iowa’s rushers. This should be a fundamental thing for the Wolverines, but it’s gotten weaker as this fall has progressed.
- The Wolverines capitalized on mistakes and penalties, particularly a call against Iowa on a fourth-quarter punt attempt — roughing the center — which set up Michigan’s go-ahead drive, capped off by Kenny Allen’s 51-yard field goal with less than 10 minutes left in the fourth.
Turning point (s)
Khalid Hill’s fumble that opened the third quarter, and immediately gave the Hawkeyes possession. Iowa needed 10 plays to take its first lead, 11-10, and wipe out a 10-point deficit on Keith Duncan’s field goal five minutes into the third. That got Iowa back into the game.
Could Michigan shake off the stigma of losing at Kinnick Stadium?
No. Michigan is 1-5 in its last six games in Iowa City.
How does Michigan regroup as it prepares for Indiana’s no-huddle, up-tempo offense? Defense is typically optional when a team faces the Hoosiers. The Wolverines struggled to create offense against the Hawkeyes, who have been up-and-down this season.
28:37: time of possession through three quarters for Iowa.
What it means
Michigan’s flaws continued to be exposed: poor tackling, poor special teams play and an unusually shaky game by Speight, who finished with 103 yards and one interception on 11-of-26 passing.