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No. 7 Iowa digs itself out of a hole again

Hawkeyes use a big fourth quarter to rally for a 42-24 win over Indiana to remain undefeated.

November 01, 2009|Associated Press

IOWA CITY, IOWA — Of all the holes Iowa has dug itself, this was the deepest.

Indiana was leading by 14 in the third quarter and only two yards away from the Hawkeyes' end zone. Given how poorly quarterback Ricky Stanzi was playing, one more touchdown might have brought their charmed season crashing down.

Tyler Sash instead returned an interception 86 yards for a touchdown, and Stanzi bounced back from a career-high five interceptions to rally the No. 7 Hawkeyes to a 42-24 victory, yet another improbable finish in a season full of them.

Brandon Wegher had a career-high 118 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Hawkeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten), who scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to stun the shell-shocked Hoosiers.

"No matter what happens, we know there's still time left on the clock," Stanzi said. "There's a chance to win, so you can't give up."

Iowa is off to the best start in its history, thanks to four wins by three points or fewer.

"Our guys don't buckle," Coach Kirk Ferentz said. "If they were ever going to buckle, I think today would have been the day."

Stanzi threw four interceptions in the third quarter alone on a windy day in Iowa City, and Indiana (4-5, 1-4) took a 24-14 lead into the fourth.

Stanzi responded by hitting Marvin McNutt for a 92-yard touchdown pass and, moments later, connecting with Derrell Johnson-Koulianos from 66 yards to put Iowa ahead, 28-24, with 11:38 left.

Wegher made it 35-24 on a six-yard run and had a 27-yard score with 1:12 left.

Ben Chappell had 227 yards passing and two touchdowns to lead Indiana, which blew a 25-point lead in a loss at Northwestern last week.

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