Kirk Ferentz has led Iowa to a lot of wins, coaching up the Hawkeyes to avoid mistakes and take advantage of their opponents’ miscues.
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Rich Rodriguez can only imagine what that’s like at Michigan.
Ricky Stanzi threw his third touchdown pass to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos early in the fourth quarter and Michael Meyer kicked a 30-yard field goal with 2:53 left, helping No. 15 Iowa hold off the Wolverines for a 38-28 win Saturday.
Michigan outgained the Hawkeyes 522-383, but had four turnovers, didn’t force one and had six of its eight penalties in the first half.
”You’re hoping to minimize mistakes, at least that’s how we try to play because of the way we’re built,” Ferentz said. ”It was a weird game from a statistics standpoint.”
Iowa (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) led the Wolverines (5-2, 1-2) by three TDs early in the fourth quarter for the second time during the game.
Tate Forcier came in for a banged-up Denard Robinson and threw a 45-yard pass to Junior Hemingway and added a 3-yard run to make it 28-21 with 6:55 to play.
Iowa’s Adam Robinson, who scored twice, converted a third-and-8 at the Michigan 40 by breaking a tackle on a 26-yard reception to set up the victory-sealing kick.
”That was a huge play for us,” Ferentz said.
Denard Robinson left during the third quarter after he was hit hard on a run, aggravating a shoulder injury that Rodriguez said bothered him all week.
”He landed on it funny,” said Rodriguez, adding that he expects Robinson to play Oct. 30 at Penn State after resting during a bye week.
Robinson was 13 of 18 for 96 yards with an interception — an ill-advised heave into coverage — and a TD. He ran for 105 yards, gaining no more than 12 yards on any of his 18 carries.
Forcier, who started every game last year, was 17 of 26 for 239 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
Rodriguez scoffed when asked if the quarterback position was open for competition.
”Denard Robinson is our starting quarterback,” Rodriguez said.
Stanzi completed 17 of 24 passes for 248 yards with three TDs, helping Iowa score the most points in school history against Michigan.
”This is a great, great win for our program,” he said. ”Any win is big, but this is one of the greatest places to win a game in college football.”
Iowa’s passing game was complimented by Adam Robinson’s 143 yards rushing and two TDs.
Michigan got off to a good start by forcing a three and out, scoring, and forcing another three and out.
Then, the Wolverines fell apart. They’re hoping the same thing doesn’t happen to their season for the second year in a row.
”Everyone just has to take a deep breath,” athletic director Dave Brandon said.
Michigan has lost two straight after opening 5-0. It flopped to a 5-7 finish last season after winning the first four games.
When the Wolverines weren’t getting overmatched physically by Iowa, they hurt themselves with mental miscues that led to a slew of penalties.
The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, avoided mistakes and their sound brand of football set up another win.
Iowa has won 20 of 23 games and 22 of 26 since the 2008 season.
Two years ago, Rodriguez lost a school-record nine games in his debut with college football’s winningest team and signs of progress since then have been stunted by a lot of losses, many of them ugly.
”I’ve said all along that we aren’t good enough to make mistakes and beat anyone,” Rodriguez said. ”Plus, we were our own worst enemies in the first half with penalties.”