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Hawkeyes save their best for last in victory

October 25, 2009|Associated press

EAST LANSING, MICH. — To stay undefeated, Iowa needed every last second and one perfect throw from Ricky Stanzi.

Stanzi connected with Marvin McNutt for a seven-yard touchdown pass as time expired and No. 7 Iowa escaped with a 15-13 victory against Michigan State on Saturday night.

The Hawkeyes are 8-0 for the first time in school history and have sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Conference at 4-0.

"It speaks to our players, the character that they have," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. "They realized they still had time."

Iowa, sixth in the Bowl Championship Series standings, has won 12 straight dating to last season, the second-longest streak in the nation.

Michigan State (4-4, 3-2) grabbed a 13-9 lead with 1:37 left when Kirk Cousins hit Blair White on a 30-yard touchdown. But the Hawkeyes stormed back with a sharp, game-winning drive led by Stanzi.

Stanzi threw a 16-yard pass to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos to move Iowa to the Michigan State 15. A defensive holding penalty wiped out an apparent interception -- upsetting a loud Michigan State crowd -- and moved the ball to the Spartans' seven-yard line.

Stanzi threw three incomplete passes in the end zone, but on fourth down with two seconds on the clock, he hit McNutt on a slant pattern in front of Michigan State defensive back Chris L. Rucker.

"He made a nice break inside, made a great grab," Ferentz said of McNutt.

Said Stanzi: "Obviously Marvin did a great job of getting open and the O-line did a great job of protecting."

Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio said he "couldn't believe" there were still two seconds on the clock before the last play.

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