Just three yards short.
The University of Michigan football team drove 79 yards in the final two minutes and 15 seconds only to come up three yards short in a 24-16 loss at Iowa Saturday afternoon.
The 13th-ranked Wolverines fall to 7-2 on the season, 3-2 in Big Ten play and probably out of contention for a Leaders Division title and a shot at the Big Ten title game.
Michigan never led in the game but came within a whisker of a touchdown in the final seconds that could have tied the game with a two-point conversion.
Michigan had a first down at the three-yard-line with 16 seconds to play and no timeouts remaining. Four passes went incomplete.
On second down with seven seconds to play, it appeared that quarterback Denard Robinson completed a pass to Junior Hemingway at the back of the end zone but it was ruled his knee touched out of bounds. Replays were inconclusive.
“The last plays were chaotic,” said Michigan tight end Kevin Koger. “Junior was out of bounds. We needed to put the ball in the end zone.”
“I don’t have a great seat but I know one (official) in the back thought he did and the other guy thought he didn’t,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said of Hemingway’s effort
The final play of the contest was a pass to running back Vince Smith that could have been called pass interference but wasn’t. Earlier in the series, Smith apparently rambled 82 yards for a touchdown but on replay it was ruled that Smith was down after an 11-yard gain. Smith’s attempted cartwheel move was overturned.
Michigan hurt itself with a costly fumble by Robinson and an end zone interception by Robinson.
Michigan’s defense played well at times, stopping the Hawkeyes on downs early in the game and then in the final minutes ending an Iowa drive to get the ball back for one last drive. Freshman Jake Ryan made a big stop for the Wolverines.
But the Hawkeyes got great efforts from running back Marcus Coker, the Big Ten’s leading rusher, who ran for a game-high 140 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Marvin McNutt caught nine passes for 101 yards.
“We made some stops but we gave up the big play,” said Hoke.
A big mistake for Michigan was a botched placedown on a point-after kick by Michigan’s Drew Dileo.
“He just dropped it,” said Hoke.
Fitz Toussaint, who had a big day for Michigan last week in a win over Purdue, scored for the Wolverines but he was injured in the second half and ran for only 58 yards.
Michigan is only 1-2 in road games this year while Iowa, which lost last week at lowly Minnesota, is 6-0 at home. The Hawkeyes are 6-3 overall and 3-2 in league play.
“We didn’t play Michigan football,” said Hoke. “We had an interception when we were trying to score at the end of the (first) half, we dropped a snap on a PAT, which we can do 1,000 times and never drop it. There’s a lot to learn but I’m proud of these kids. I’m proud of how they fought. They kept swinging.”
“We just need to execute,” said Robinson.
Michigan plays at Illinois next Saturday and then ends the season with home games against Nebraska and Ohio State.
For more info: mgoblue, annarbor.com, espn