12:00 PM ET, October 31, 2009
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Stanzi rallies Iowa by Indiana in 4th quarter despite career-high 5 picks
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Of all the holes Iowa has dug itself, this was the deepest.
Indiana was leading by 14 in the third quarter and just two yards away from the Hawkeyes' end zone. Given how poorly quarterback Ricky Stanzi was playing, one more touchdown might have brought their charmed season crashing down.
Flipping The Script
It was the second straight week and fourth time this season that Iowa has won a game after trailing entering the fourth quarter.
|Opponent||After 3 Qtrs||Result|
|Northern Iowa||Trailed by 3||W, 17-16|
|Penn State||Trailed by 5||W, 21-10|
|Michigan State||Trailed by 3||W, 15-13|
|Indiana||Trailed by 10||W, 42-24|
Tyler Sash instead returned an interception 86 yards for a touchdown, and Stanzi bounced back from a career-high five interceptions to rally the Hawkeyes (No. 4 BCS, No. 7 AP) to a 42-24 victory, yet another improbable finish in a season full of them.
Brandon Wegher had a career-high 118 yards rushing and three TDs for the Hawkeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten), who scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to stun the shell-shocked Hoosiers.
"No matter what happens, we know there's still time left on the clock," Stanzi said. "There's a chance to win, so you can't give up."
Iowa is off to the best start in school history, thanks to four wins by three points or less. And after needing two blocked field goals to beat FCS school Northern Iowa in its opener, the Hawks control their own destiny in the Big Ten -- with a chance to play for the BCS title.
"Our guys don't buckle," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "If they were ever going to buckle, I think today would have been the day."
Stanzi threw four interceptions in the third quarter alone on a windy day in Iowa City, and Indiana (4-5, 1-4) took a 24-14 lead into the fourth.
Wegher made it 35-24 on a 6-yard TD run and added a 27-yard score with 1:12 remaining.
Tale Of Two Quarters
Ricky Stanzi threw for 337 yards and two TDs, his first career 300-yard pass game, with a career-high five interceptions. Stanzi bounced back from a forgettable third quarter to help Iowa outscore Indiana 28-0 in fourth quarter.
|3rd Qtr||4th Qtr|
Ben Chappell had 227 yards passing and two touchdowns to lead Indiana, which must have felt a case of deja vu. The Hoosiers blew a 25-point lead in a loss at Northwestern last week.
"We got into the fourth quarter again and we couldn't fight it off," Indiana coach Bill Lynch said. "We just didn't have enough plays in our arsenal to hang with them."
Stanzi's mental toughness has long been defended by Ferentz, and he showed why at the start of the fourth quarter. He hit McNutt on a play-action rollout for what turned out to be the fourth-longest pass play in Iowa history. Johnson-Koulianos did most of the work on the other long touchdown, weaving his way through the Indiana secondary.
"No matter what happens, he keeps on playing," Ferentz said of Stanzi, who threw for a career-high 337 yards. "If there's one thing I can say about Rick, it's resiliency. He's done a great job of leading our football team."
Stanzi opened the second half throwing interceptions on back-to-back possessions, and the Hoosiers moved to Iowa's 2-yard line already leading 21-7.
That's when Iowa's defense made one more spectacular play.
Chappell was hit from behind as he dropped back to pass, and Sash gathered the loose ball in the air before racing 86 yards for a touchdown that brought Iowa within 21-14 and woke up a stunned crowd at Kinnick Stadium.
• Iowa outscored Indiana 28-0 and outgained the Hoosiers 266-55 in the fourth quarter to win their 13th straight game and remain unbeaten.
• Iowa's 13-game win streak is its longest since winning a school-record 20 straight games from 1920-23.
• The Hawkeyes won despite turning the ball over six times (entered the game tied for third in the FBS in turnover margin -- +11).
• Indiana is 0-3 in Big Ten road games after leading in all three.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"It's just something that jumps start everybody," Iowa kicker Daniel Murray said. "It just kind of gave us confidence that we were back in the game."
The Hoosiers appeared to have answered on a TD grab by Terrance Turner in the corner of the end zone, but the call was overturned by video and Nick Freeland missed a 28-yard field goal.
The game was strange right from the start -- perfect these cardiac Hawkeyes on Halloween.
Iowa deferred on the opening kickoff, a rarity under Ferentz, and the Hoosiers marched 69 yards into the wind for a 7-0 lead on Darius Willis's 4-yard run.
Ryan Donahue, one of the most reliable punters in the nation, shanked an 8-yarder into the stands midway through the second quarter, giving the Hoosiers the ball at the Hawkeyes 35. Five plays later, Chappell found Mitchell Evans for a 16-yard TD pass that made it 14-0.
The Hawkeyes answered on Wegher's 4-yard TD run with 2:39 left in the first half, but after holding Indiana, Amari Spievey inexplicably picked up a wobbly punt and fumbled it away deep in his own territory. Chappell found Damarlo Belcher for a 9-yard TD with 9 seconds left.
It was a brutal end to the first half for Iowa, and a brutal end to the game for Indiana.
As a stunned and delighted crowd of Hawkeye fans filed out of Kinnick Stadium, they were serenaded -- quite fittingly -- by Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer."
"I've never been in a game like this. I've never seen a game like this," Ferentz said. "I can't say enough about our players."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Divine intervention kicked in and Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi overcame 4 third-quarter INTs by throwing two TDs in the fourth.
Gameball goes to... Brandon Wegher. The RB rushed for a career-high 118 yards and three TDs, including two in the final 8 minutes.
Stat of the game... 28. The number of points Iowa scored in the fourth quarter to turn a 10-point deficit into a big win.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-18||7-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||09:59||Darius Willis 4 Yd Run (Nick Freeland Kick)||7||0|
|TD||05:00||Mitchell Evans 16 Yd Pass From Ben Chappell (Nick Freeland Kick)||14||0|
|TD||02:39||Brandon Wegher 4 Yd Run (Daniel Murray Kick)||14||7|
|TD||00:09||Damarlo Belcher 9 Yd Pass From Ben Chappell (Nick Freeland Kick)||21||7|
|TD||07:45||Tyler Sash 86 Yd Interception Return (Daniel Murray Kick)||21||14|
|FG||02:05||Nick Freeland 37 Yd||24||14|
|TD||13:03||Marvin McNutt 92 Yd Pass From Ricky Stanzi (Daniel Murray Kick)||24||21|
|TD||11:38||Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 66 Yd Pass From Ricky Stanzi (Daniel Murray Kick)||24||28|
|TD||07:34||Brandon Wegher 6 Yd Run (Daniel Murray Kick)||24||35|
|TD||01:12||Brandon Wegher 27 Yd Run (Daniel Murray Kick)||24||42|