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Iowa Gets Bounce Back in Step, Beats Michigan

October 05, 2003|From Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa — For the second consecutive week, Iowa found itself trailing by two touchdowns early in the first quarter. This time, the Hawkeyes didn't panic.

No. 23 Iowa capitalized on opportunistic special teams, a stubborn second-half defense and clutch throws by quarterback Nathan Chandler to come from behind and beat No. 9 Michigan, 30-27, Saturday.

The Hawkeyes (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) scored 20 unanswered points and then stopped Michigan's last-ditch comeback attempt to beat the Wolverines (4-2, 1-1) for the second consecutive year.

"We're not a great come-from-behind football team," said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, whose team never recovered after spotting Michigan State two early touchdowns in a loss last week.

"But I couldn't be more proud of our guys than I am right now. Michigan has an excellent football team and the way we bounced back after their first two scores showed how much heart we have on this team."

It also showed the only statistic that matters is the one on the scoreboard.

Michigan outgained Iowa, 463 yards to 295, and Wolverine quarterback John Navarre threw for a career-best 389 yards.

The Wolverines were nearly unstoppable in the first half, as Navarre threw for 224 yards.

Running back Chris Perry scored the Wolverines' first touchdown on a five-yard run eight minutes into the game. On their next possession, Navarre marched the Wolverines 64 yards in seven plays, capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards.

"We just didn't panic," Iowa defensive lineman Jared Clauss said. "They were doing some very good things, but we knew we had to correct some things and clean up our mental errors and get back out there."

Iowa cut Michigan's lead in half when Chandler scored on a six-yard bootleg late in the first quarter. Chandler was 17 for 34 for 195 yards with two touchdowns.

Fred Russell ran for 110 yards in 26 carries and Nate Kaeding kicked three field goals on a day Iowa honored its former coach, Hayden Fry.

Michigan made it exciting at the end as Navarre threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards with 3:43 remaining, cutting Iowa's lead to 30-27.

The Wolverines then forced an Iowa punt, and Navarre marched Michigan across midfield with less than two minutes to go. But three consecutive incomplete passes sealed the victory.

"We needed to execute. We had some plays we didn't get done and they did a good job of taking things away," said Navarre, who is 0-6 on the road against ranked teams.

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