By John Bohnenkamp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Iowa’s 10-3 loss to Michigan in Saturday’s Big Ten game at Michigan Stadium was bad from the beginning, and only got worse.
The No. 14 Hawkeyes (4-1 overall, 1-1 Big Ten), steady all season, were shaken in the Big House, rattled by their own mistakes and the swarming blitzes of the No. 18 Wolverines
Iowa had just one rushing yard — 65 yards of sacks of quarterback Nate Stanley will do that — and committed eight penalties while turning the ball over four times.
“It’s all a team thing,” said offensive tackle Alaric Jackson, back after missing the last three with a knee injury.
“We had to execute better,” tackle Tristan Wirfs said. “That’s on us.”
“I need to get the ball out quicker, not hold on to the ball,” Stanley said.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he wasn’t discouraged by the defeat, just disappointed.
“What’s really critical is learning from a loss, how we handle it, and more importantly, grow from it,” he said. “It’s a tough day for our guys.”
(Photo by Brian Ray / Hawkeyesports.com)
It was tough from the start.
Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent fumbled on the Hawkeyes’ opening offensive play, and it really wouldn’t get any better than that.
The Hawkeyes came in with one turnover in the first four games, and they would leave with four more — the Sargent fumble and three interceptions by Stanley.
“Any time you lose a game, you’re disappointed,” Ferentz said. “I’m not discouraged. I’ve been with these guys, for the most part, since January. What I see these guys do every day, they have great attitudes and they work right.”
Stanley, who didn’t have an interception in the first four games, was nowhere near as sharp. The Wolverines blitzed, and kept blitzing once they figured the Hawkeyes didn’t have an answer.
“We knew they were a good defense,” Stanley said. “We knew we weren’t going to put up 644 yards like we did last week (in a 48-3 win over Middle Tennessee State). That’s just part of the game. We had drives where we would get it going, and then there would be one mistake. We would shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Iowa’s three running backs — Toren Young, Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent — had 21 carries for 67 yards.
“We needed to get the run game started, and we didn’t,” center Tyler Linderbaum said. “That makes it tough on our passing game, makes it tough for our receivers and our quarterback to work. We just lacked that today.”
The No. 18 Wolverines constantly pressured Stanley, turning into sacks that would doom drives.
“We have the ability to get the ball out quicker,” Stanley said. “They did a great job of keeping us on our toes, bringing different blitzes, and we didn’t pick them up.”
“I hate it. It’s tough,” Wirfs said. “Our whole position is keep Nate clean. Once a team starts building momentum, it’s hard to stop that.”
“That’s probably the worst feeling, knowing someone got through,” Linderbaum said.
“They’re a high-blitz team,” Ferentz said. “Once you get momentum doing things, you’re going to stick with it. Our protection was not good, obviously, and that made it tough.”
The Wolverines scored all of their points in the first quarter, a Jake Moody 28-yard field goal after the Sargent fumble and a Zach Charbonnet 2-yard touchdown run.
Michigan would get into Iowa territory just three more times the rest of the day, and ended with just a six-yard advantage in offensive yards.
Post-Game Notes, Stats, Play-by-Play, and Season Stats are here.
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John Bohnenkamp is the newest member of the Hawkeyes Mic Team. He is an award-winning sports writer who is heading into his sixth season covering University of Iowa football. He has covered Iowa basketball for the last 26 seasons. He has won 17 top-10 awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest, along with six top-fives in the United States Basketball Writers Association contest. His story on Iowa’s 55-24 win over Ohio State in 2017 was selected as the top game story in the Football Writers Association of America contest. He is a 1988 graduate of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. John is the editor of HawkeyeMaven.io/iowa; and you can follow John on Twitter – @JohnBohnenkamp.