Iowa’s fate seemed to be sealed after a 25 yard rush from punter Mike Sadler on a fake punt to open the fourth quarter. At that point the Hawkeyes were down 20-14 and any momentum was sucked out of Kinnick Stadium.
The play was reminiscent of the fake punt run by Northern Illinois earlier in the season that ended in another loss for the Hawkeyes.
According to @hawkeyegamefilm, that fake punt continues now a streak of six straight fake punts succeeding against the Hawkeyes.
“I just wanted our players to know that they’re aggressive on the football field and sometimes coaches need to take a risk too.” Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio said.
Iowa had it’s share of bright moments though, Damon Bullock’s 47 yard hustle for a score in the second quarter gave life to a team who at that point had 23 yards of offense.
It was also a big day for Tevaun Smith, who led the team in receptions with six and showed some of the promise Smith showed in the spring game.
Bullock talked about how in the second half Michigan State adjusted to those kind of plays and just tightened up any holes they showed in the first half.
After scoring two touchdowns within four minutes and 17 seconds towards the end of the first half, Iowa didn’t score again and only crossed the fifty-yard line twice in the second half.
Jake Rudock threw the ball 46 times, a career high, for 241 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Iowa rushed for 23 yards, Rudock picked up 11 of those yards scrambling.
“It’s hard to get anything going against a defense that will stop you like that. We have to go back in tomorrow and see what we did wrong.” Rudock said of the performance.
Michigan State scored on 47 and 37-yard pass plays, both of which the secondary just got burned.
The first touchdown was allowed off of two missed tackles by sophomore Sean Draper, who came on as the nickel-back. After allowing another big play in the nickel formation, Iowa stuck with a 4-3 the rest of the way.
“Where we maybe allowed some big things, they contested every play down field, hit every play hard. “ linebacker James Morris said about the Michigan State defense.
The problem for the Hawkeyes was that every play was contested down the field, besides the Bullock touchdown, there wasn’t really a play in which Michigan State blew an assignment in the favor of the Hawkeyes.
Something that didn’t lose the game for the Hawkeyes but certainly didn’t help, were two unsportsmanlike penalties. A coach slamming a headset down and part of it flying on the field caused the first one, the penalty called on the bench.
The second was a pair of offsetting penalties, that if Donnal had played it cool would have resulted in a much-needed first down for Iowa.
Both interceptions from Rudock were underthrown, a product of the wind, which kept the flags at Kinnick stiff all game.
Iowa now heads into the bye week with a 4-2 record, the same record as last year before a six game losing streak.
Ferentz said though that the bye week will give them the time they need to prepare and going into it with a loss is disappointing, but doesn’t change anything.
Iowa will take on Ohio State after their bye week. The Buckeyes are undefeated at this point and ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll.