Recap: Iowa football falls to Michigan, 27-14

Alyssa Hertel
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY — Iowa football faced Michigan on Saturday, in the first matchup between the two programs since the Wolverines demolished the Hawkeyes, 42-3, in the Big Ten Championship last season.

Despite coming into Saturday’s game with that chip on the shoulder, Iowa could not pull out a win against one of the top programs in the nation.

Iowa lost to Michigan, 27-14, and fell to 3-2 on the season.

Michigan came out strong, scoring 20 unanswered points and holding Iowa scoreless through the first three quarters. The Hawkeyes mustered some strong offensive drives in the final frame but could not manage any more points against a Michigan team that’s become the standard of excellence in the Big Ten this year.Here’s what happened in Iowa’s loss to Michigan.

POSTGAME — Kirk Ferentz on Michigan's Blake Corum

"He's an outstanding back, first and foremost," Ferentz said postgame. "Really good football player. That didn't surprise us. You look at film, you can see that. And then they're good up front. Those guys last year and this year are really blocking well.

"The other part of the equation is they threaten you outside. They have really good receivers and a quarterback that can get it out to them."

POSTGAME — Kirk Ferentz on the clipping penalty

Ferentz was asked if he received a valid explanation for the clipping penalty, to which he said that there's always a valid explanation.

"But today to say it didn't impact the game a little bit, the way things went, I think that would probably be naïve," Ferentz said. "The two things we've been pretty good at, even if we don't have a real good team, we're usually pretty good at ball security. ...To have six major penalties, that's kind of uncharacteristic. Maybe we were overwhelmed talent-wise or maybe our guys are that sloppy. It didn't feel that way from the sideline. It is what it is. But it impacted the game, and we weren't good enough to overcome that."

POSTGAME — Kirk Ferentz on Kaleb Johnson

Here is what Ferentz said when asked what he saw out of Johnson, especially because the stats might not have been as good as they could've been because of the penalties.

"I think he's a good young player who's playing pretty well. You're exactly right. That's just kind of what I'm trying to articulate is that when yards are taken off the board or negative yardage plays are thrown on, it kind of skews things a little bit."

FINAL — Michigan 27, Iowa 14

Iowa drops to 3-2 on the season with the loss to the Wolverines.

0:08/Q4 — Too little too late for Iowa's offense

The Hawkeyes go 75 yards on seven plays in just over a minute, and Luke Lachey scores a second touchdown for Iowa. But with eight seconds left on the clock, it was too late for the Hawkeyes to stage a comeback.

1:19/Q4 — Michigan adds another touchdown in final two minutes

Blake Corum runs 20 yards for another Michigan touchdown. Extra point is good and Iowa will get the ball back with 1:19 remaining in this game.

1:37/Q4 — Iowa offense can't step up with late opportunity

The Hawkeyes defense forced Michigan to go three and out, putting the ball back in Iowa's hands with enough time to score some more points.

Instead, Petras was sacked twice and faced a quarterback hurry once. Iowa went for it on fourth down and Petras' pass fell incomplete. Michigan took over on the 28-yard line.

5:41/Q4 — Close but no cigar

Iowa's offense made it all the way to the 6-yard line off some huge plays.

But the Hawkeyes couldn't get in the end zone. Iowa decided to pass on 4th and 2, which fell incomplete. On top of that, Iowa's Arland Bruce was called for offensive pass interference. Michigan declined and took over possession on the 5-yard line.

12:37/Q4 — Defense follows touchdown with big stop

Iowa's defense continued the momentum from the Hawkeyes first touchdown of the game into the next play. Michigan's Blake Corum attempted to run the ball on 3rd and 1, and Iowa's defense stopped him for a loss of one. Michigan punted on 4th and 2, and Iowa takes over on the 17-yard line.

14:56/Q4 — Hawkeyes are on the board

Iowa starts the fourth quarter with a touchdown. Kaleb Johnson runs for a two-yard touchdown and the point after is good. The Hawkeyes trail Michigan, 20-7.

End of the third quarter — Ragaini puts Iowa in scoring position

On the last play of the third quarter, Spencer Petras completed a 28-yard pass to Nico Ragaini. Iowa will start the final quarter from the two-yard line, with a chance to score the Hawkeyes first points of the game.

2:33/Q3 — Short punt gives Iowa prime field position

After a forced fumble on a sack by Deontae Craig, Michigan was forced to punt. Brad Robbins did send the ball 36 yards, but Iowa will have great field position, taking over on the 44-yard line.

4:48/Q3 — Iowa offense struggles, again

Here's how the last drive went for the Hawkeyes: A positive 12-yard gain on the ground by Kaleb Johnson, followed by another two yard run. And then things went downhill.

A personal foul called on Nico Ragaini sent Iowa back 15 yards. Then Spencer Petras sent a near interception. Michigan ended the drive by sacking Petras for a loss of eight.

The Wolverines have the ball on the 21-yard line after a 10-yard penalty for an illegal block on Michigan.

7:51/Q3 — Michigan adds another touchdown

J.J. McCarthy converted a bad snap on third and seven into a 12-yard touchdown pass. Some boos from the crowd as the replay appeared to show that he was past the line of scrimmage, but touchdown stands and extra points is good. Michigan chews up 5:32 on the drive.

13:20/Q3 — Spencer Petras sacked to start the second half

Iowa started with the ball in the third quarter, but it didn't last long. Spencer Petras was sacked on the first play of the second half for a loss of nine, and the Hawkeyes couldn't convert after. Tory Taylor punted for 43 yards.

HALFTIME — Michigan 13, Iowa 0

Despite some solid plays on offense for Iowa and a big stop by the defense late in the second quarter, the Hawkeyes head to the locker room without any points on the scoreboard. Iowa will receive to start the second half.

0:09/Q2 — Michigan adds a field goal before the end of the first half

Iowa's defense stepped up big time — aided by a delay of game call against Michigan — and held the Wolverines to a field goal in the final thirty seconds of the first half.

Touchback on the kick, and the Hawkeyes take over on the 25-yard line with less than ten seconds to play in the second quarter.

3:29/Q2 — Ball back in Michigan's hands

The Hawkeyes can't convert on third down, after Gavin Williams was tackled for a loss of four. Tory Taylor's punt goes 51 yards and Michigan takes over from the 22-yard line.

5:42/Q2 — Iowa calls second timeout after two huge penalties

Iowa's offense picked up some huge runs on two different plays...but they won't count. On this drive, the Hawkeyes were called for offensive holding and clipping, for a total loss of 25 yards. Now, after getting to the 46-yard line, Iowa is back at the 31 on a 1st and 25 attempt.

8:28/Q2 — Moody extends Michigan's lead

Michigan couldn't convert third down and opted to kick rather than go for it on 3rd and six. Jake Moody hit a 44-yarder to give the Wolverines a 10-0 lead. Michigan went 54 yards on 13 plays and took seven minutes off the clock.

End of the first quarter — Michigan 7, Iowa 0

After two huge first down passes from Spencer Petras, the Iowa offense fell short and was forced to punt from the 42-yard line. Hawkeyes special teams can't down it, giving Michigan a touchback and the Wolverines have the ball to start the second quarter.

3:07/Q1 — Michigan punts for the first time

Iowa's defense came back strong for the Wolverines second drive. After quarterback J.J. McCarthy tripped for a loss of five, the Hawkeyes brought the pressure and forced Michigan to punt 35 yards. Iowa takes over on the 9-yard line.

8:19/Q1 — Iowa punts on first drive

Compared to Michigan, which was able to march down the field for a touchdown on its first drive, Iowa was stopped by the Wolverines defense and needed to punt. Tory Taylor sent the ball to the 21-yard line, where Cooper DeJean made an instant stop.

9:53/Q1 — Michigan scores first

Ronnie Bell took the ball 16 yards for the Wolverines and picked up the first touchdown of the day. Michigan went 75 yards on 11 carries and took over five minutes off the clock.

15:00/Q1 — Iowa wins the toss

Iowa wins the Hawkeyes defer to the second half. Michigan will receive and defend the south goal.

How Kaevon Merriweather became an impactful leader

I won't try to paraphrase Chad Leistikow's words about Kaevon Merriweather because he wrote it best:

"Kaevon Merriweather’s impact on the Iowa football program has been immeasurable. Not only has he become one of the star players on one of the nation’s most suffocating defenses (Iowa ranks No. 1 nationally with 5.8 points per game allowed), it was his leadership that helped galvanize Hawkeye players through the racial-disparities outcry in the summer of 2020. For the fifth straight Saturday, he’ll be one of the Hawkeyes’ four gameday captains when Iowa (3-1) hosts No. 4-ranked Michigan (4-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kinnick Stadium."

Leistikow did a deep dive on Merriweather — going all the way back to his childhood — to see how he was shaped into the person he is today.

Hawkeyes will be without Jestin Jacobs

Iowa linebacker Jestin Jacobs did not return in the second half of Iowa’s game against Rutgers, and it was confirmed this week that he will require surgery which will take him out for the remainder of the season.

It’s the second injury Jacobs dealt with this season after being injured in the season opener, seeing sporadic action against Nevada and missing the Iowa State.

The Hawkeyes do have some options to take over in Jacob’s absence, but it will be a tough blow to Iowa’s defense.

How will injuries affect Iowa's defense?

The Hawkeyes defense is among the nation's best in almost every category, including No.1 in scoring defense (5.8 points per game) and No. 6 in total defense (236.2 yards per game). The Hawkeyes also have recorded four defensive scores: two touchdowns and two safeties.

The biggest news was that junior linebacker Jestin Jacobs will miss the rest of the season due to an injury suffered at Rutgers. Additionally, Ferentz said that Terry Roberts is questionable on Saturday and backup cornerback Brenden Deasfernandes remains out as well.

And those are just some of the injuries affecting Iowa's defense. Kennington Smith has you covered with a more in depth look ahead of Saturday's matchup.

Key matchups in the Iowa-Michigan game

We reminded you of the 42-3 loss in the Big Ten Championship, and trust us, Iowa football players remember that game too.

“Thirty-nine points, it’s on my mind definitely,” Merriweather said. “I think we’re all ready and will be prepared for next week.”

Iowa’s defense will need to step up against the Wolverines, especially after their performance against the Hawkeyes the last time these two programs played. But what are some of the other key matchups on Saturday? Our own Kennington Smith breaks down four to keep an eye on.

8 minutes with Spencer Petras

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras previews Michigan matchup and briefly looks back at Rutgers during Tuesday's media availability.

Need to know how to catch the game at home?

Here is how to watch the Iowa versus Michigan game on Saturday, along with some more pregame details.

  • When: 11 a.m. CT, Saturday, Oct. 1
  • Where: Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City
  • TV: FOX
  • Livestream: Fox Sports Live
  • Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network

Alyssa Hertel is the college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.