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U of M: Seventeen-Point Iowa Second Half Haunts Football in Defeat

The University of Michigan football team carried a 21-7 lead into halftime before being outscored, 17-0, in the second half in a three-point (24-21) defeat at Iowa on Saturday (Nov. 23) at Kinnick Stadium. Despite a trio of interceptions on defense, 158 total yards of offense doomed the Wolverines.

After being forced to punt on its opening drive, U-M blitzed on Iowa's first play from scrimmage and forced an errant pass from quarterback Jake Rudock, whose floater went right into the hands of junior linebacker Brennen Beyer (Canton, Mich./Plymouth), resulting in a seven-yard interception return and 7-0 Michigan lead with just 1:41 off the clock.

Iowa, which missed a 36-yard field goal earlier in the first quarter, overcame an early 15-yard penalty to tie the contest, as Rudock connected with CJ Fiedorowicz on a third down from the five with 3:39 remaining.

Michigan's defense came up big on the next two possessions, first stopping Iowa on fourth down, before junior/sophomore defensive back Blake Countess (Owings Mills, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) recorded his fifth interception of the year -- the first U-M DB to reach that mark since 2000 -- and returned it to the Hawkeye 28.

The Wolverines took advantage of the short field, and on a second and goal to go from the two, senior/junior quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) scrambled and found sophomore tight end A.J. Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore HS), whose first career catch put U-M up a touchdown.

Late in the quarter, U-M again took advantage of the short field (47 yards), as Gardner completed one to fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apoka, Fla./Apoka) from nine yards out to extend the Wolverines' lead to 21-7 with 41 ticks left in the half.

A long Iowa kick return following the touchdown gave the Hawkeyes a chance to kick a field goal with less than 10 seconds remaining. A bobbled snap, however, prevented the kick from being attempted.

The Hawkeyes received the kick to start the second half and needed just three plays to halve the Michigan lead, with the dagger being a 55-yard scoring pass-and-catch from Rudock to Tevaun Smith.

After five consecutive punts, junior corner back Raymon Taylor (Detroit, Mich./Highland Park) halted an Iowa possession in Michigan territory with an interception; but the Hawkeyes marched down the field to start the fourth and took less than three minutes to tie the game at 21. Mark Weisman finished the drive with a nine-yard run, as he helped the Iowa rushing attack top 100 yards for the game.

Following junior punter Matt Wile's (San Diego, Calif./Francis Park) 10th punt of the day, the Hawkeyes utilized a nine-play drive to take a 24-21 lead with 6:02 showing in the clock, as Mike Meyer booted a 34-yard field goal.

Michigan moved the ball into Iowa territory, but on a second-down scramble, Gardner had the ball ripped from his arms and Iowa recovered with just 2:40 remaining. Two Iowa first downs later, the game came to a close.

Gardner failed to get over 100 yards passing (98) despite his two TD throws, while Taylor notched a team-high nine tackles and junior defensive end Frank Clark (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) had 2.5 tackles-for-loss.

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