(Saturday, October 24th)
Final Score: (7) Iowa 15, Michigan State 13
East Lansing, MI (Sports Network) - Ricky Stanzi threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt as time expired, saving seventh-ranked Iowa's perfect season with a 15-13 win over Michigan State at Spartan Stadium.
After Michigan State scored a touchdown with 1:37 remaining to go ahead, 13-9, the Hawkeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) fought back.
Iowa drove down the field quickly, and a 21-yard pass play from Stanzi to Trey Stross put the visitors on MSU's 31. Another 16-yard pass to Derrell Johnson- Koulianos got the Hawkeyes inside the red zone.
The Spartans (4-4, 3-2) recorded an interception on the following play, but a holding penalty was called to give 1st-and-goal to Iowa at the seven with less than 30 seconds left. Each of the next three plays resulted in an incompletion, as no Hawkeyes receiver could get open.
On 4th-and-goal from the seven with two seconds left, McNutt ran a simple slant play on the left side, and Stanzi hit him in stride at the two-yard line. The momentum from the perfect throw led McNutt into the end zone, and the team rushed out from the sidelines to celebrate.
"I definitely wasn't thinking about championships or an undefeated season," Stanzi said of the final play. "If you are thinking about that, then you are probably going to make the wrong play. I can promise you that championships haven't entered our minds...All we were worried about was getting to eight and zero, and all we are worried about now is the next game."
Stanzi finished with 138 yards on 11-of-27 passing with the lone touchdown for Iowa, which is 8-0 for the first time in school history. Freshman running back Adam Robinson added 109 yards on 27 rushes, and Johnson-Koulianos led the team in receiving with 59 yards on three catches.
"To be honest, I didn't even know if I was going to catch the ball," McNutt said. "It felt like the slowest play ever. Once I got open, I didn't know if he was going to throw it. Then I saw the ball, and I thought, 'okay, just catch it.'"
Kirk Cousins completed 16-of-32 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown for Michigan State, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Blair White made three catches for 95 yards and a score -- the go-ahead 30-yard touchdown with 1:37 left.
"We are going to learn from this and move on," Cousins said. "It hurts right now, but we showed heart and played with some Spartan pride as we always talk about. We're going to have to bounce back, as we've done in the past."
Edwin Baker added 68 yards rushing on 11 carries in a losing effort.
The first half was a defensive battle, with each team netting only a field goal.
After Iowa's second punt in as many possessions to start the game, Michigan State used a 23-yard reception by Mark Dell to set up Brett Swenson's 34-yard field goal for the lead with 3:39 left in the opening quarter.
The Hawkeyes responded with a drive deep into Spartans' territory, ending with Daniel Murray's 37-yard field goal to tie the game early in the second quarter.
Michigan State had another scoring opportunity before halftime with a 3rd- and-2 from the Iowa 30, but Cousins was sacked for a 10-yard loss to push the team out of field goal range.
The Spartans drove down the field early in the third and had 1st-and-goal from the one-yard line after a gritty 37-yard run by Baker. The Iowa defense, though, held firm for three plays, and Michigan State settled for a 23-yard field goal from Swenson for a 6-3 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, the roles reversed. Iowa drove down to the Michigan State one, as Robinson's tough 11-yard run set up a first-and-goal. But the Spartans' defense was up to the task, forcing Murray to kick the game- tying 20-yard field goal with just under 12 minutes to play.
After Murray hit a 20-yard field goal for Iowa with 2:56 left to play, the Spartans took over at their own 40 trailing by three. Two consecutive sacks put Michigan State in a 3rd-and-18 situation, and Cousins threw an 11-yard pass to Brian Linthicum, who promptly lateraled the ball to White for an additional 27 yards down to the Hawkeyes' 30.
"The hook-and-ladder play was one that we ran in the spring game last year and hadn't really run it in a game yet," Cousins said. "It worked the way we wanted it to, and then I threw the touchdown to Blair. I just stepped into the pocket, and he was wide open, and I hit him."
Two plays later, Cousins avoided pressure and found White wide open in the front of the end zone for the go ahead score, setting up the dramatic finish.
Swenson became the all-time leader in Michigan State history in scoring and field goals. His first-quarter field goal eclipsed Dave Rayner's record of 62 field goals, and his extra point in the fourth quarter gave him 335 points, also passing Rayner...Iowa became the second Big Ten team to win at Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State in the same season. The 1997 Michigan Wolverines also accomplished the feat and shared the national title that season after going 12-0...Iowa leads the all-time series, 21-18-2...Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz got his first win at Michigan State in his fifth try.
10/25 01:06:31 ET