Michigan State stifled Iowa’s offense for the game’s first 25 minutes of both halves. Iowa punted four times and threw an interception on its first five possessions, none of them amounting to first downs. In the second half, Iowa gained only one first down on its first six possessions.
“It was very frustrating,” Iowa running back Damon Bullock said. “We tried to run the ball. It wasn’t working out for us so we had to go to our passing game.”
Michigan State entered the game leading the country in total defense at 188.8 yards per game. The Spartans mixed up their line fronts and threw multiple blitzes at the offensive line, which created havoc.
“It was very difficult,” Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff said. “As a unit they’re right there, and the next thing you know you look up and they’re gone. We’ve got to keep our eyes up the whole time.
“They came up with their cross blitzes. They blitzed quite a bit and they just outplayed us.”
BY THE NUMBERS
0 — Rushing TDS allowed by Iowa in its first six games
9 — Rushing yards by Iowa’s Mark Weisman, who ranked 2nd in the Big Ten
23 — Iowa rushing yards Saturday
25 — Rushing yards by Michigan State punter Mike Sadler
11 — Consecutive completions by Iowa QB Jake Rudock in the second quarter
4 — Consecutive home Big Ten games lost by Iowa
C – The Spartans win the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling movie trophy. We’ll call it the “Golden Bicep.”
– Marc Morehouse
D – Hawkeyes don’t play MSU again until 2017. Right now, they’re good with that.
– Mike Hlas
C — The dish ran 25 yards with the spoon.
– Scott Dochterman
Michigan State’s run defense. Iowa ranked 19th entering the game at 244 yards per game. Michigan State entered the game ranked second in rushing defense at 58.3 yards per game. The Spartans overpowered Iowa at the point of attack and allowed just 23 rushing yards on just 16 attempts.
Iowa running back Mark Weisman, who was the national leader in carries at 119, was held to nine yards on seven carries. Iowa didn’t rush for a first down.
“That’s not what we’re looking for,” Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff said. “They outplayed us. The beat us off the line of scrimmage.”
“We were tough to run the ball against,” Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio said. “Maybe an understatement.”
Iowa suffered multiple injuries in the game, many of which kept key starters from returning. Both wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley (lower leg) and defensive end Dominic Alvis (lower back/hip) both suffered first-half injuries and did not return. Weisman played sparingly after he hurt his right leg in the second quarter.
Bullock replaced Weisman in Iowa’s lineup.
“Injuries are always a factor in the game, but you’ve got to fight through them no matter what,” Weisman said.
In the second half, Scherff left the game with “a sharp pain” in his right lower leg. He broke the same leg in the seventh game last year against Penn State.
“It’s just my right leg not feeling good,” Scherff said. “I had to get a little treatment.”
Linebacker Christian Kirksey left the game with an ankle injury late in the second half and did not return.
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock was splendid on the two final series of the first half. He threw 10 straight completions on those drives for 137 yards and two touchdowns to give the Hawkeyes a 14-10 halftime lead.
Rudock’s first touchdown was a 47-yard pass to Bullock, who slipped past a blitzer on the left side. He was open in the left flat and raced untouched for the score.
“I just had a free release option route,” Bullock said. “I could have went in or out, then I saw a corner blitz, so I tried to take advantage of that because I knew there would be an open spot. I whiffed him, I let him go past me and I caught the ball.”
Rudock’s second touchdown was a 10-yard strike to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz with 1:10 left in the second half.
Iowa and Michigan State have played in each of the last seven years since Mark Dantonio took over the Spartans. The Hawkeyes hold a 4-3 advantage over that time frame.
The teams currently are part of the Legends Division but go to separate geographic divisions next year. Their next game is slated for Sept. 30, 2017.
Iowa (4-2) is idle next week, then plays at Ohio State. It’s Iowa’s first visit to Columbus since 2009, when the Hawkeyes lost 27-24 in overtime.
It’s the only scheduled game between Ohio State and Iowa from their last game in 2010 (OSU won 20-17) and their next scheduled game on Nov. 4, 2017.
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