By Alex Kuhn and Nick Szafranski
Kinnick Stadium was in a state of shock after the Hawkeyes fell to Central Michigan 32-31 on a last second field goal Saturday. Despite a 217-yard rushing performance by Mark Weisman, Iowa squandered an eight-point lead in the final 45 seconds of the game.
After a Weisman 12-yard touchdown run with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes surrendered a 64-yard touchdown drive to the Chippewas in less than two minutes. However, a failed two-point conversion forced Central Michigan to attempt an onside kick.
The low bouncing kick split the Hawkeyes onside recovery team and was corralled by the Chippewas. A 47-yard field goal by senior David Harman sealed the victory for Central Michigan with three seconds left.
Weisman followed up his performance against Northern Iowa with another outstanding game carrying the ball 27 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore fullback paced the Iowa offense much of the day including a third-quarter 54-yard touchdown drive that was entirely gained by Weisman.
James Vandenberg quietly passed for 215 yards and added his first touchdown pass of the season on the opening drive of the game. Vandenberg finished the first quarter completing all eight of his passing attempts for 129 yards.
“We got some good looks [in the passing game] early and hit a couple play actions,” Vandenberg said. “But we started running the ball so well that there was no reason to pass.”
However, 106 yards on nine penalties handicapped the Hawkeyes and gave the Chippewas second chances throughout the game. “It’s not paying attention to detail,” wide receiver Keenan Davis said. “We were not focusing.”
A Hawkeyes defense that ranked 20th in the nation in points allowed continued to leave wide receivers open as Central Michigan slashed Iowa’s secondary for 283 yards in the air.
Allowing only ten total points in the second half in the previous three games, Central Michigan’s nine second-half points all came in the last 45 seconds.
The loss sends Iowa (2-2) into Big Ten play against Minnesota looking for a rebound and a chance to grab hold of the coveted Floyd of Rosedale trophy. However, the 3-0??? Golden Gophers come to Iowa City on Saturday having upset the Hawkeyes in their last two meetings.
“When we go through these tough situations you really see peoples inner character and how much they want it, “ Vandenberg said. “I have a lot of faith in the guys in the locker room. I think offense, defense and special teams wise we will respond.”