IOWA CITY — The Michigan football team may have covered up the pink locker room, but it couldn’t hide the Kinnick Stadium magic.
Keith Duncan’s 33-yard field goal as time expired secured a 14-13 upset for Iowa, capping a wild day for top-five teams and ending the Wolverines’ hopes at an undefeated season.
A facemask penalty during a punt return with less than 90 seconds in the fourth quarter gave the Hawkeyes excellent field position for their game-winning drive, which ended with the crowd of 70,585 storming onto the field to celebrate the victory.
"It was an incredible feeling kicking that in front of 70,000 fans," Duncan said. "... You don't really practice these things. I was just running, and then I saw the fans. That was pretty cool — it was definitely the biggest kick of my career so far."
Iowa kept it close throughout despite entering as a three-touchdown underdog. Trailing in the fourth quarter for the first time all season, the Wolverines seemed to have done just enough to escape Kinnick Stadium with a victory.
Kenny Allen’s right leg and a timely interception by Channing Stribling had given Michigan the opportunity to secure a two-point win. But the Wolverines went three-and-out, with an incomplete pass on third down that stopped the clock, and the 15-yard facemask penalty on the ensuing punt flipped the script.
"We didn't make enough plays to extend drives and convert first downs, and we missed some deep throws," Harbaugh said.
Despite the result, Michigan still has a path to the Big Ten Championship game and the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines control their destiny and would win their division if they can defeat Indiana and Ohio State.
But Saturday night in Iowa City, an upset-laden day in college football got a little bit crazier.
Michigan struck first, using an Allen field goal and a Ty Isaac rushing touchdown on consecutive drives to build a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter. Then things got interesting.
Iowa’s Ron Coluzzi pinned the Wolverines at the two-yard line with a picture-perfect punt. Two plays later, defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson blasted untouched into the backfield and dragged De’Veon Smith down for a safety.
"I turned, handed the ball off and turned around and saw a tackle happening in the end zone," Speight said. "We'll have to go back to Ann Arbor, look at the tape and figure it all out."
Later in the second quarter, Beathard engineered a seven-play, 52-yard touchdown drive. It culminated with a fourth-down strike to Akrum Wadley, who had drifted out of the backfield uncovered when the Wolverines blitzed.
Speight finished the first half just 8-of-17 for 79 yards, with a potential touchdown overturned after a review and some uncharacteristic accuracy issues later in the first half. The Wolverines entered halftime with just 124 total yards -- and, after the safety, went three-and-out on four consecutive drives.
And things didn’t improve much after the break.
The Hawkeyes pooch kicked to begin the third quarter, and Delano Hill fumbled during the return. Iowa took advantage of the short field to kick a go-ahead field goal -- handing Michigan a second-half deficit for the first time since the Colorado game on Sept. 17. Michigan gained just 15 yards in the third quarter.
But two big plays in the fourth were nearly enough to let the Wolverines escape unbeaten.
The first was Allen’s field goal, which came after Michigan was the beneficiary of a drive-extending roughing the snapper penalty. The low, driving kick was a new career-long for the fifth-year senior.
The second was Stribling’s interception, which stopped Iowa as it was approaching midfield. Taco Charlton’s pressure on Beathard forced an early throw, and Stribling turned his head in time to make the diving pick.
Those weren’t enough, though, and after a Michigan punt the Hawkeyes marched down the field to claim the upset.
"We'll be pissed off about this," Speight said. "We'll mourn this a little bit. Then, just like a win, it's on to Indiana. It's next week."