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Posted on Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 1:09 a.m.

Turnovers cost Michigan as No. 12 Iowa hangs on for 30-28 victory

By Dave Birkett


Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway picks himself off the turf as Iowa players celebrate after Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson threw a game-ending interception intended for Hemingway. (Lon Horwedel |

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Tate Forcier’s late-game heroics against Notre Dame and Indiana didn’t count for anything in the final minutes of Michigan’s 30-28 loss to Iowa on Saturday.   Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez benched Forcier for the Wolverines’ final two drives, turning instead to fellow freshman Denard Robinson to try and lead Michigan to a comeback in the most hostile environment it has played in all year.


Iowa's Derrell Johnson-Koulianos hauls in a long pass over Michigan's Donovan Warren to set up a second-quarter touchdown for the Hawkeyes. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

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 He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Mon, Oct 12, 2009 : 4 p.m.

The story of the game was not the Michigan QB's. Obviously the turnovers were critical. But the real story of the game was Michigan's defense not even trying to gard Tony Moeaki.


Mon, Oct 12, 2009 : 7:47 a.m.

All of you over zealous maize and blue fans. Tater was hurt plain and simple and to have him in that last series may have cost the U more in the long run. Shoelace need to be given more playing time and you will see that he is more than a running QB. Shoelace can pass.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 2:56 p.m.

Focier has got a big heart and a ton of talent, but hes got tiny little baby hands. He looks like that guy in the BK commercials who doesnt want to eat a Whopper because his hands are so small. Ill bet he wears a size small ladies isotoner gloves. hes going to have trouble holding onto the ball every time the weathers not dry and warm. Did anybody catch the Arkansas game? They have a big Manly Man QB.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 2:46 p.m.

Most everybody isn't recognizing that the five turnovers cost UofM the victory last night. Iowa didn't stop UofM, we stopped ourselves. Football is a game of execution and not making mistakes. Realistically, UofM was only a mistake away from beating State last week too, although State played better against UofM than Iowa did. Heck, State should've won 50-0, but State is a team that isn't capable of beating teams they play by that much. Some people are such hypocrits too because we are right on schedule to make a bowl game this year, but people are complaining because we are not perfect right now. And Coach Rod is the man in charge, he has every right to get on his players. This isn't a country club where players are coddled and fed twinkies and ho-hos. UofM is doing fine.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 2:20 p.m.

Shaw and Minor turned the ball over. They're not freshmen, they're Seniors. This turnover trend is KILLING us. We continue to give up big plays on defense and hand the ball over to the other team (two years worth is a trend, imo). I'm glad they were still in it, but Michigan football is not about moral victories, it's about victories. 7 in a year and a half is insufficient. Championship teams win the turnover battle and play stifling defense, just ask Pete Carrol, Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, and Les Miles. I don't care what scheme we run on O, if we can't hold onto the ball and play outstanding defense, we won't win championships. Period. We will score a lot of points and be fun to Texas Tech. I don't think Michigan fans dream of being like Texas Tech. Our goals are more in the realm of USC, Florida, OSU, Oklahoma, and...the Michigan of recent past. I'm in, and I want RR to prove he's in and is capable of building a champion. I haven't seen proof yet.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 11:21 a.m.

Can't anyone else see it? Finally, after a full season of frustration, Michigan fans have a team that has improved to the point that we have expectations. We fully expect our team to be even more than competitive - we expect our team to win.. Pretty nice to be back to this kind of position. Soon - real soon- we'll be back to the position of not sneaking up on anybody............ Thanks RR - you've taken us a long way. With regards to RR's temper with the players, I have two observations: First, he usually ends the discipline with a positive - a tap on the helmet, etc..... Second, please correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Bo have just a tiny bit of a temper? So please, when you ask for Lloyd Carr back, remember that the outcry during the hiring process was to bring in someone with Bo's passion. Can you imagine what Bo would've said to Matthews after the muffed punt?. Finally, the sideline reporter last night said something that made sense (surprisingly?). She reported that when Tate came off the field for the last time in the 4th quarter that he told RR, "I don't know what you want me to do". If Tate as a fresham is that confused, time to go to Denard.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 11:10 a.m.

If I'm thinking about going to U of M to pay football seeing coach RR screaming and hitting his players helmets is a real turn off! I'm not sure if it's a lack of class or not but Bobby Knight retired didn't he?


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 9:31 a.m.

Hope you all don't mind a hawkeye fan eavesdropping. From the perspective of a Hawk fan, we are very lucky to have won - and we did win bye the way.(VictorsValient). I agree that it may be a while before it happens again. Michigan has a great team and a bright future. My question is with Michigan needing two scores to win late in the fourth quarter, they put Robinson in and drive the ball with all but one running plays. If they conserved the clock by passing they may have had enough time to do better than desperation passes. As a hawkfan, I was somewhat relieved that Tate was out.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 8:15 a.m.

Denard Robinson's turnover performance has be an unqualified disaster all year long, so why Rodriguez put him in for the last set of downs tells us something about Rodriguez. In spite of Forcier's uncanny performances in late game situations, Rod sends in Dennard, and, imagine, he throws the ball to Iowa. Where's Rod's head? He takes out his frustration with the game and a couple of mediocre team downs on Forcier, and spoils the entire Wolverine effort. Not only did Rodriguez lose this game, he lost me too.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 8:10 a.m.

Dennard Robinson's turnover performance has be an unqualified disaster all year long, so why Rodriguez put him in for the last set of downs tells us something about Rodriguez. In spite of Forcier's uncanny performances in late game situations, Rod sends in Dennard, and, imagine, he throws the ball to Iowa. Where's Rod's head? He takes out his frustration with the game and a couple of mediocre team downs on Forcier, and spoils the entire Wolverine effort. Not only did Rodriguez lose this game, he lost me too.

John Galt

Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 12:58 a.m.

Seems like Michigan has trouble getting started in their games. They fall behind and need to play catch-up. Must be something with getting motivated or in preparation for the games...And MSU has the opposite problem. They usually jump out to a good lead and fade toward the end of games. Conditioning? Both programs need to be more consistent. The way things are going, they will probably finish with a similar record. Somewhere in the middle of the pack. A disappointment for MSU (picked to contend for the Big Ten Title this year), but an improvement for UM.


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 12:53 a.m.

This was not the poorest job of coaching by Rich since he has been here, last week still comes to mind... BUT, STILL a horrible job in coaching in general. The defense needs to be commended for their performance, and Rich needs to go back to school. He makes some of the poorest decisions I have ever seen a college coach make. He makes bad calls for sure, but I am AMAZED at his personnel decisions. He seems to blow up at the defenses inability to stop a team on 3rd downs (though they are getting FAR better in that area) but will not admit to his own poor coaching. Benching Tate for Denard on the last drive cost us the game. It was clear that we did not have the time to run the ball, and even though sending a quarterback in who is designed to run usually opens up the passing game, Denard makes the worst decision(read) you can EVER make EVERY TIME! He tries to go for the home run every time he throws it that is why he was 4 for 11 on the season with ZERO touchdowns and 2 interceptions going into the game!! I will 100% agree with anyone that he is great running, and he could be Michigan's Percy Harvin, but he CANNOT run this offense! Tate should have been in that game on the last drive if we wanted to win PERIOD! The ONLY reason that we scored on the drive before that was that he was limited to long hand offs and very short passes when throwing, and he ran most of the time. You CANNOT win a game with Denard unless he is in a different position. Wake up Rich, you are ruining our season once again. I love your offense, but I HATE your decisions running it sometimes. Move Denard to slot when Devin Gardner gets here, and then go for the two headed monster. You weren't teaching just Tate a lesson tonight, you taught me one as well... You ARE willing to lose at the expense of getting in one of your players heads, you are NOT the guy who "hates to lose". I am, and that is why I am writing this!!! PS - Who wants to bet that Denard starts next week with a comment like "he had a really good week of practice and Tate is hurting a little bit still". I cringe up every time he sets up to throw, I always say to myself, "RUN, DON'T THROW, JUST RUN"... He is kind of like Forest Gump to me RUN DENARD RUN!!! =)


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 12:49 a.m.

I have My Motor City Bowl Tickets ready......


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 12:48 a.m.

come on mu fans be proud they stay in the game after 5 turnover tate is a good qb but he needs to look at hes 2nd and 3rd wr the ofline gave him time that was a good benching


Sun, Oct 11, 2009 : 12:29 a.m.

As a msu fan,I am not here to gloat-just to set the facts straight.first to all you"true" blue fans,you need to do one thing -when it comes to rodriguez and tate.relax!all of you thinking it is wrong for a coach to yell at his star player when he's wrong-chill out! it happens to tom brady too!I for one LOVE to see a coach discipline his players,to me it shows he cares about winning,and not just excepting defeat.I would love to see dantonio take this approach sometimes its refreshing..As for tate,I must say -I HATE michigan,but this kid and has something special about him(some kind of voo-doo moxy)he will be a great player and true leader of this program.He just wants to win,and you know what-I wish some of msu's quarterbacks would take this approach.And last:to all you denard robinson lovers,the kid is talented yes indeed.But let me say this-he will never, I repeat he will never lead this team as a starting quarterback to where forcier is leading this program as a starter.So in one word relax...winning takes time,and I cant wait for the future msu and michigan games.GO GREEN!


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:48 p.m.

GWin,Denard was in b/c Tate was having a BAD night!PERIOD!!He was off tonight.Denard came in provided a spark on the drive before the pick!!RR gambled that he could continue,maybe break a long run for TD or possible dink his way down for a field goal but,Denard is still not ready to pass the ball like that yet!!He'll get there.Just not tonight!!We(the fans)WILL learn that experience(REAL GAME EXPERIENCE)is soo valuable!!It precious.And our team is getting it everytime they play this!!!We will be better......just need PATIENCE!!!GO BLUE!!!


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:41 p.m.

CMU has a better winning percentage against MSU than MSU has against UM. I would be real careful about the comments you start spewing sparty. 67-30-5. Rod will get the job done with 86 fresh and soph on the team I think Michigan is doing pretty well this year.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:34 p.m.

I think that UM better stop playing road games. Let's be like ND and weaken the schedule every year.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:30 p.m.

Yes, no doubt that Michigan is much improved from 2008. We have certainly been in every game. Also I think that Iowa and PSU are not as good as they were last year. Still 5 Big Ten games left.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:28 p.m.

What's wrong Boo you guys can dish it out but you can't take it? Don't say we didn't warn you about your fraudulent 4-0 record. We did. Your team is proving it's fraudulent with every loss, talk about getting too cocky and Karma. Next year when you get a shot at us remember,it's not 1997, keep your mouths shut. Peace out.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:21 p.m.

why are all the msu fans reading the Michigan blogs?? still living in last week? live this year up.......


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:21 p.m.

What really makes me mad is y u would put in Denard when he has thrown 3 picks and no tds. Or u could go with tate who has had 4 late drives to win or tie the game. That is when tate is in the best of his game and u dont even give him the opportunity and there was no time for denard just to run around like usual


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:18 p.m.

Well BlueAlum,this IS NOT Michigan football!!This is the new SPREAD football that they are trying and HOPING True-Blue Wolverines will except!!Time will tell whether this "SPREAD" type of offense will work in cold weather Big-Ten football.The spread is beautiful when it works(usually in warm weather.When everything is nice and pretty and the ball is not slick.The field is nice and dry)But this Big Ten football here and it gets UGLY!!Weather turns COLD and field gets muddy/slick!!!That's why we run the ball soooo much in this conference!!!It will get tough to play in those conditions sometimes but you line up and fight with everything you got!Line up,we're running,try and stop us!!!You need HEART!!Hopefully we'll get there.Not sold on the play calling early in the gm.The Power-I formation seemed to work well.We have work to do.GO BLUE!!!


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:17 p.m.

dzuck....we did nothing to win the MSU game? Ok, Total Yards: 417-271 State Rush Yards: 197-28 State TOP: 39:46-20:14 State You're right though, State didn't deserve to win that game. Another brilliant comment by a scUM fan who didn't even attend college like 90% of the fan base (or went to Eastern). I don't know why I really care, I never post this stuff, but I happen to find the rage of the maize hilarious. I love it.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:16 p.m.

Victors Valiant----how can you realistically say U of M lost the game against MSU didn't win it? MSU is looking like a better team than U of M period point blank. They're playing like the team that was supposed to compete for the B10 championship right now. You're only setting yourself up for some major heartbreak if you can't accept the fact MSU is better than UM this year and by all indications on paper should be better next year.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:10 p.m.

Relax all. This year is truly a rebuilding year. Mich is going to win the big 10 next year and a national championship the following. I'll tell you one more thing....Mich will beat OSU this year. Forget about the record this year....Mich is on their way to redemption. It's all good ya'll.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:09 p.m.

hey Freefallin. so to you going for two and the win a whole 2 yards is not a good idea. Instead have your team go 25 yards then bring out your amazing defense and count on them for a stop?! that seems like a great idea.. and i'm glad you know that they wouldn't have gotten it.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:09 p.m.

A better bowl? I didn't realize the Little Cesars Bowl was that big? You might want to book a hotel now in Detroit now Fighting Rich Rod's, I hear they fill up fast. Big Ten Records: Spartans: 2-1 Walvarines: 1-2 Enough said...


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:09 p.m.

I highly doubt U of M will be playing in a better bowl than MSU. They're improving every week. Michigan is showing more flaws and disorganization as the schedule gets tougher. MSU looked like a better team than Iowa. MSU very well could be competing for a league championship. U of M will be lucky to win 3 more games this year. I think 6-6 looks like their fate.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:08 p.m.


Victors Valiant

Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:07 p.m.

Look at it this way. Michigan lost the games at MSUcks and Iowa. Neither one of those teams won. Michigan shot itself in the foot with freshmen and a bad defense. Wait till next year and the years after. Michigan will dominate the Big Ten and return it to its glory days. Tate should have been in there because he has instincts that D-Rob doesn't. That pick should not have been thrown. Odoms was wide fricking open and "laces" throws the ball right to Iowa. Rich Rod should be criticized for his decision but not hung. Spartina and Hawkeye - Go ahead and make those t-shirts and post those billboards celebrating your two wins in 8 and 9 years. That's all you have to celebrate. That's all you'll ever have. We are building for a national championship or two. Two plays and we are 6-0. We are not because we lost those two games on our own with turnovers. You did nothing to win them. GO BLUE!


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:04 p.m.

Tate will be fine...he is a freshman...The people that hyped him for heisman should be ashamed, but this kid produced better than most would have thought. U should be proud to have him representing your university. I may be a buckeye, but I am becoming a tate fan....


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:04 p.m.

Hey Boo. They would have lost if they went for 2 last week and you'd be saying "why didn't they kick the extra point and force OT?". Really, maybe your team is just mediocre. Don't excuse it as youth b/c what B10 team isn't young? Look around. All the teams in the league have youth at key positions. Take a reality break.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11:01 p.m.

I'm supremely disappointed that Forcier wasn't in there. Robinson proved he can run the ball, but he has yet to show he is a quarterback. He is a running thrower, whose only real QB throw was the catch by Odoms. He looked heartbroken at his INT, but he should be, and so should the coach. In the two-minute offense Forcier knows what he is doing. Odoms was there, and it sucks because DR is making the mistakes like Odoms did last year. I guess the only positive thing about DRs propensity to give the ball away is that Odoms has been extremely consistent this year -- even the reason we won some games this year. Iowa isn't that good -- solid fundamentals and a great coach, but we have double the talent-level. What a shame.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 11 p.m.

The last series that Tate managed, no doubt that he looked like he did not have control of his game. If Coach Rod felt like he had to sit him for the next series to settle him down, so be it. And Denard certainly was able to alter the tempo and momentum of the game. But on that last series, Tate needed to be in there. He has managed the offense well all year, particularly in clutch situations, with few exceptions. And whatever his failings may have been this evening, there was plenty of blame to be spread around. Greg Matthews fumble of the punt in the second half was devastating, as was the Brandon Minor fumble at the end of the first half, when Michigan likely would have added a touchdown and instead came up empty. Ultimately, Denard's interception was the same mistake any QB would have made with so little throwing experience at the collegiate level, particularly so little experience when it's crunch time. I hope that Rich Rod focuses on two things this week: 1) stopping the turnovers that are killing us, and 2) Repairing any damage he may have done this evening to Tate's confidence or, perhaps more importantly, their relationship. GO BLUE!


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 10:59 p.m.

I have been trying to be a RR supporter, but tonight I am struggling. Tate had a frustrating game and Rich was on his case throughout the game. I agree with Denard having a shot and I was pleased, but surprised that he engineered a touchdown. Now with less than two minutes left, and a passing game the obvious strategy, I expected the passing QB Tate to be the man. But, not the case. That last pass was terrible and yet, Denard received a hug from coach RR. Tell me everybody, what is going on and how can I get back to wanting our coach to bring Mich. football back to the level we all want it to be.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 10:58 p.m.

It is obvious that Denard should be the starting QB, Tate is just to full of himself, his ego is larger than his ability. Hopefully we are now entering the Denard era


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 10:57 p.m.

Rodriguez looks really professional screaming at the players for making mistakes and smacking them in the helmet.. i'm ready for carr back...


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 10:54 p.m.

maybe "tate" needed a rest. Needed to chill, bring Denard in early, then let Tate do his stuff.


Sat, Oct 10, 2009 : 10:47 p.m.

I'm still confused about denard being in there... i'm pretty sure tate had gotten the job done for the last three weeks in a row.. and why not go for two last week.. i'm no coach but i can't help but wonder..