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Saturday, May 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Hoosiers surrender wide lead to Iowa with 4th-quarter defensive failure

IU-Iowa Football

IOWA CITY, Iowa – For the second week in a row, the Hoosiers were up by a double-digit margin at halftime against a Big Ten opponent.

For the second week in a row, it wasn’t enough.

IU lost 42-24 to No. 7 Iowa in Iowa City on Saturday, dropping the Hoosiers’ record to 4-5 on the season. The Hawkeye win preserves Iowa’s undefeated season (9-0) and continues its hope for a Bowl Championship Series game berth. 

And, similar to last weekend’s final-play loss to Northwestern, a major factor in the game was the lack of defense from IU in the fourth quarter.

In that final period alone, Iowa scored 28 unanswered points, totaling 265 yards and four touchdowns. The Hoosiers, in comparison, earned 55 yards in that time.
Iowa’s point total in the final 15 minutes on Saturday was more than it had scored in six different games this season.

IU junior quarterback Ben Chappell said a lack of production from both sides of the ball was the difference on Saturday.

“Every quarter is the same, we got to make plays,” Chappell said. “Right now, I guess you can say we are not making as many in the third and fourth as we are in the first and second. We got to step up and make some plays.”

The momentum began to shift in favor of the Hawkeyes after Iowa’s first drive of the fourth quarter with the Hawkeyes down 24-14.

Despite starting at his own eight-yard line, Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi connected with wide receiver Marvin McNutt at the Hawkeye 25-yard line. McNutt sprinted down the right sideline for a 92-yard touchdown reception that brought the Hawkeyes to within three points of the Hoosiers.

On Iowa’s very next offensive play, Stanzi found wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos up the middle of the field. He cut to the right, outrunning three IU defenders for another touchdown and a 28-24 lead.

Both passing touchdowns came on fake handoffs to the running back, plays that seemed to routinely work for the Hawkeyes.

“They were just mental breakdowns,” IU senior safety Collin Taylor said.
“Physically, we played with them all game. The defense played well, but we had just a couple breakdowns – mental mistakes – and we just let that slip away.”

But Iowa was not finished.

After a Hawkeye interception within IU’s territory, Iowa got the ball back with 10:39 remaining in the fourth quarter. Following a 19-yard pass to tight end Tony Moeaki, Iowa went to its run game.

Running back Brandon Wegher carried the ball five consecutive times, culminating in a six-yard scamper into the end zone and the 11-point Hawkeye advantage.
Iowa’s final drive of the game finished with a 27-yard touchdown run by Wegher with just more than one minute remaining in the game.

Wegher, who started in place of injured running back Adam Robinson, had 118 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday against the Hoosiers.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he was “really pleased” with Wegher’s performance.
“It will be a good confidence-booster for him,” Ferentz said. “I think he rises to the competition. I think he embraced the challenge this week.”

The loss forces IU to win two of its remaining three games – against Wisconsin, No. 12 Penn State and Purdue – to become bowl-eligible.

“We got it to the fourth quarter again, but we couldn’t finish it off,” IU coach Bill Lynch said. “There were some crazy plays in that football game from about the middle of the third quarter on. We just didn’t have enough plays in our own arsenal to hang with them.”

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