It was drizzly, soggy and gray and there was but one touchdown scored. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr thought it was a beautiful day.
"A lot of people are going to talk about how ugly it was, but I think it's a wonderful win in very, very difficult field conditions. If you like defense, which I do, you liked it," Carr said after No. 25 Michigan's 12-9 win against Iowa on Saturday.
The Wolverines turned the ball over five times and narrowly escaped the upset thanks to a 22-yard field goal by Jay Feely in the fourth quarter and a late safety.
"We found a way to win," Carr said. "It's amazing Iowa got only nine points. I thought our defense was just tremendous."
Iowa coach Hayden Fry said he liked the way his defense played, too, but thought that the Hawkeyes were a bit too sloppy.
"We played our hearts out. Our defense played tough and good, forcing turnovers and holding them to one touchdown," he said. "We made some mistakes. Some young guys made some critical mistakes for us."
The Wolverines (3-2, 2-0 Big Ten) overcame sloppy play and turnovers to win their third consecutive game and continue their mastery over Iowa (2-3, 1-1). Michigan has won six straight games in the series and is 13-3-1 at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa has not beaten the Wolverines at home since a 12-10 win in 1985.
Michigan, which had been averaging 34 points and 414 yards per game, was stuffed for much of the game while totaling 293 yards. The Wolverines also committed 12 penalties for 94 yards, lost three of five fumbles and were intercepted twice.
Michigan quarterback Tom Brady said that even though his team is unbeaten in Big Ten play after two games, he said the Wolverines (3-2, 2-0) will have to improve offensively if they plan to defend their national title.
b>"As an offense, if you're going to win championships, you can't turn the ball over. You can't put your defense in bad situations like that," Michigan quarterback Tom Brady said.
However, a stout defense compensated for a sluggish offense, holding the Hawkeyes to just 7 first downs and 159 total yards, including 66 yards rushing.
Trailing 9-7, Brady led Michigan on a 10-play, 54-yard drive down to the Iowa 5 to set up Feely's winning field goal with 8:19 remaining.
Feely booted a career-high three field goals in Michigan's 29-17 win over Michigan State last week, including a 51-yarder to tie a career-best.
Feely, a senior, came into the season with 12 points. He collected 11 points against last week and now has a team-high 34 points this season.
Feely's performance helped offset a solid effort by Iowa kickers Zach Bromert and Tim Douglas.
Douglas, who tied an NCAA record with three field goals of more than 50 yards in a 37-14 win over Illinois last week, nailed a 49-yarder in the second quarter to go with boots of 29 and 28 yards by Bromert, also in the second quarter, that gave the Hawkeyes a 9-7 halftime lead.
Michigan took a 7-0 lead on a 14-yard pass from Brady to Tai Streets that culminated a 14-play, 84-yard drive that consumed 6:20. The Wolverines were penalized five times on the drive, but Brady bailed his team out by completing six of seven passes.
Brady ended up completing 14 of 24 throws for 146 yards, although he threw two interceptions, both to Terig Holman.
Iowa squandered a chance to get on the board in the first quarter when it recovered James Whitley's fumbled punt return. The Hawkeyes had a first down on the Michigan 31, but quarterback Kyle McCann was sacked twice in three plays and a 52-yard field goal attempt by Douglas fell short.
Douglas, who was 5-of-7 coming into the game, cut Michigan's lead to 7-3 with his 49-yarder at the 12:29 mark of the second quarter. Michigan went four-and-out on the ensuing possession and Bromert pulled the Hawkeyes to within 7-6 with 6:47 before halftime.
Bromert's last field goal gave Iowa its first lead with 15 seconds before intermission.
The Hawkeyes appeared to have one more chance at the end of the game when they forced Michigan to punt. Kahlil Hill caught Jason Vinson's punt near the sideline at the Iowa 3. He tried to circle back to the middle of the field but was tackled in the end zone by Anthony Jordan for a safety with 39 seconds to play.
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