Night terrors: Iowa shocks Michigan on last-second FG
Iowa City — Michigan, in only its second game of the season out of state, found out why playing at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium has always been considered a challenge.
The Wolverines, No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, saw their unbeaten season evaporate as Iowa pulled off the upset, 14-13, when Keith Duncan made a 33-yard field goal with no time left Saturday night before 70,585 at Kinnick Stadium. Fans stormed the field after the victory.
Michigan is 9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, and Iowa is now bowl-eligible at 6-4, 4-3.
Still, Michigan has a shot at the Big Ten championship game if it wins its final two games, at home next week against Indiana and then at Ohio State on Nov. 26 in the final regular-season game.
What does this mean for the Wolverines’ national playoff hopes? They were one of three top-four CFP teams to lose on Saturday, with Alabama at No. 1 the only one to win. No. 2 Clemson and No. 4 Washington also lost. Ohio State, No. 5, routed Maryland and No. 6 Louisville beat Wake Forest. The next nine teams have two losses, so Michigan is in a large one-loss group.
Wilton Speight, Michigan’s first-year starting quarterback, was 11-of-26 for 103 yards and had an interception, one of two turnovers for the Wolverines. He described the postgame locker room as “down.”
“We were treating every week like a championship week, and that was ultimately our goal, to finish the season undefeated,” Speight said. "We’ve all been talking and everything is still right there for us. We just have to handle our business for the remainder of the regular season and then just let it play out. It’s all still right there.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about his team’s focus.
"Every little thing isn’t going to go our team’s way or anybody’s way,” said Harbaugh, who saw his No. 2 Michigan team in 1985 lose at No. 1 Iowa on a field goal as time expired. “Every little thing doesn’t always go your way. To win, you have to make it that way. We didn’t do enough things to make it that way. They played well. They played hard. They set the edge extremely well. Tackled well. Had good coverage.
“We just didn’t get it done tonight. Didn’t do enough to go our way.”
Iowa has now won the last four meetings against Michigan at Kinnick — the others were 2009, 2011, 2013. The Hawkeyes’ win over No. 13 Michigan in 2011 was their last home win over a ranked opponent.
Duncan, a freshman, made both of his field-goal attempts. This was his first game-winning kick in college.
“If I’m put in to kick, I’m just going to kick the ball,” Duncan said. “It was an incredible feeling kicking that in front of 70,000 fans.”
The Wolverines, who entered the game averaging 487.4 yards of offense, were held to 201 yards, easily their lowest output of the season. Their previous low was 349 yards against Wisconsin. They also entered the game ranked third nationally in scoring, averaging 48 points a game. Meanwhile, defensively, they were ranked No. 1 in most categories.
“We didn’t make enough plays to extend drives and convert first downs. We missed some deep throws,” Harbaugh said. “Give Iowa credit, they tackled, they blocked. They played a very good football game. Congratulate them and move on.”
It was a wild fourth quarter.
Kenny Allen made two field goals, including a career-long 51-yarder with 9:35 left in the game to give Michigan a slim, 13-10, lead.
“They were playing really well all day, and we still had time left on the clock,” Allen said. “I knew anything could happen at that point."
Michigan got the ball right back and just as it looked like the Wolverines were driving for another score, Speight was intercepted on a third-and-9 throw. Iowa’s Manny Rugamba yanked the ball away from Jehu Chesson for the interception giving the Hawkeyes the ball at their 25-yard line with 3:43 left.
But Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard on first down, threw deep but was intercepted by Channing Stribling, his fourth pick of the season. Michigan got the ball at its 16-yard line with 1:54 left. Iowa had three timeouts, and the Wolverines could not get a first down and was forced to punt.
“When we got the interception, we knew the game wasn’t over,” Michigan’s Dymonte Thomas said. “We knew they had three timeouts left that it was possible we would have to go back out there. We were hoping the offense would get a first down, but the game just didn’t go our way.
“Nothing we can do about it now. There’s no point of sitting here and saying this and that, what we could have done or should have done. All we can is control the future, so that’s all we’re going to focus on.”
On the punt return, Michigan’s Mike McCray was called for a facemask penalty. Harbaugh said he did not see the facemask. That gave Iowa the ball at the Michigan 36-yard line with 1:23 left and five plays later won on the field goal.
The Hawkeyes’ momentum from the end of the first half carried over into the second. On the opening kickoff, Michigan’s Khalid Hill fumbled, giving the Hawkeyes the ball at their 43-yard line.
Michigan stopped them at the UM 3, but Duncan made a 25-yard field goal to give Iowa its first lead, 11-10.
The Wolverines mustered only 15 yards of offense in the third quarter. Iowa through three quarters had the time of possession advantage, 28:37 to 16:23. And before the end of the quarter, put Michigan in tough field position. The Wolverines started from their 7-yard line, their third from inside their 10-yard line in the game.
That drive appeared to end at the Michigan 49-yard line, but in a game of special teams penalties, Iowa was called for roughing the center. The Wolverines got the ball back at the Iowa 36.
With 9:35 left, Michigan regained the lead, 13-10, after Allen made his second field goal of the game, the 51-yarder. Allen’s hit his previous long, a 47-yarder, last year. He has made his last eight attempts.
The Wolverines held a 10-8 lead at halftime, as Iowa scored late on a safety and touchdown. The Wolverines had 124 yards, including 79 passing, while Iowa had 130, including 79 rushing. Michigan was 2-of-6 on third down and had four penalties, including back-to-back roughing the kicker, for 33 yards.
It was a rough first quarter for the Wolverines, who lost freshman Devin Bush on a questionable targeting call when made helmet-to-helmet contact with punter Ron Coluzzi, who lost his footing on a failed fake punt and did a flip. When he was coming up from the flip, he and Bush hit. Harbaugh said after the game he did not think it was targeting.
Harbaugh was asked after the game the realities of how hard it is to go undefeated.
“Difficult,” he said, “But not insurmountable.”