Turnovers cost Michigan as No. 12 Iowa hangs on for 30-28 victory
Robinson scored on a 3-yard run with 3:16 to play, then threw an interception near midfield with 46 seconds left after missing part of an offensive signal coming from the sideline. Rodriguez bristled at reporters’ questions about his decision to sit Forcier after the game, saying he put Robinson in “to get a spark.” “And we got a spark,” he said. “And that spark was still lit. And we made a couple plays and we moved the ball, got a first down or so, and just threw a pick at the end. That’s - the head coach, I can do that. We can decide what we want to do.” Robinson declined to speak after the game, and Michigan’s athletic department representatives said both quarterbacks were off limits to reporters. Robinson carried eight times for 42 yards on Michigan’s late touchdown drive and completed both of his passes for 16 yards. Michigan failed to recover the ensuing on-side kick, but held Iowa to three-and-out and regained possession at its own 17 with 1:30 to play. Robinson completed a 14-yard pass to Martavious Odoms and ran for 7 yards before Brett Greenwood intercepted his pass near the Iowa sideline. “At the end we thought, geez, we had pretty good field position, put Denard in there, had a little plan with him, and he gave us a spark,” Rodriguez said “End of story. Let’s not create something that’s not there guys. I’ve got two outstanding quarterbacks, three quarterbacks, and we did it, OK? That’s not the story of the game.” No, the story was Michigan’s five turnovers and its continuing inability to get off the field on defense. Forcier, who led game-winning, fourth-quarter drives against the Irish and Hoosiers, finished 8-of-19 for 94 yards Saturday, lost a fumble and threw an interception. Brandon Minor, making his first start of the year in place of the injured Carlos Brown, also lost a fumble in Iowa territory, and Greg Mathews muffed a third-quarter punt at the Michigan 16. Iowa scored just six points off the turnovers, but also converted eight of 18 third downs, including a third-and-24 in the first half. “It was frustrating,” Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “It was too bad. The third-and-24, that should be an interception. He shouldn’t throw that ball, but we’re young in some spots, and that’s what I would tell you.” Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi finished 20-of-38 for 284 yards. He threw touchdown passes of 34 and 42 yards to Tony Moeaki. The 34-yarder came on a third-and-12. Michigan scored 46 seconds into the game on Donovan Warren’s 40-yard interception return, his third pick of the year, and led 14-10 after Minor’s 3-yard touchdown romp late in the first quarter. But Iowa scored 13 unanswered points, and Stanzi’s second touchdown to Moeaki sealed the game with 12:56 to play. Moeaki, returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of Iowa’s last three game, finished with six catches for 105 yards for Iowa. Minor carried 22 times for 95 yards for Michigan, which lost its second straight game after a 4-0 start. The Wolverines (4-2, 1-2) reach the midpoint of the season with an expected or slightly better than expected record, but little chance of winning the Big Ten. No team has shared the conference title with as many as two losses since 2000. No. 12 Iowa (6-0, 2-0) is the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten. Ohio State (5-1, 3-0) also is unbeaten in league play. Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.