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Turning Point of the Game: Iowa

Michigan maintains perfection but what was the moment that turned the tide?

Michigan v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines improved to 5-0 after taking down the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road. Despite a late game push by the Hawkeyes to make things more interesting, it was far too little too late. The Wolverines pulled off their 27-14 win behind an impressive showing from both their offense and defense.

J.J. McCarthy is coming into his own, as he recorded his first road win as Michigan’s starting quarterback. McCarthy threw for 155 yards and one touchdown with a 75% completion rate. There was definite improvement in some aspects of play, but some things missed the mark. A few passes overshot his receivers, but perhaps the most costly mistake was McCarthy’s fumble. While it was recovered by Donovan Edwards, this mistake gave Iowa a short field. The Hawkeyes were able to turn it into a touchdown to finally get on the board in the fourth quarter.

Michigan was also led behind the efforts of Blake Corum once again, as he rushed for 133 yards and one touchdown. The Wolverines welcomed back Edwards, who missed the last few games to an injury. He rushed for 29 yards on five carries and had a receiving touchdown in the second half.

Perhaps one of the best performances was from Michigan’s offensive line. They allowed Michigan’s backfield to rush for a combined 172 yards, the most allowed by Iowa’s defense so far this season. It was very promising to see the offensive line go against one of the best defenses in the country and play at a high level.

Now it’s easy to look at the numbers and know this game was all Michigan. But what was the moment that won it for the Wolverines?

This week’s turning point of the game goes to Michigan’s defense and their late effort to force a turnover on downs.

The Hawkeyes, after getting their first touchdown of the game, were searching for another opportunity to find the end zone to pull within one score. It looked ideal for Iowa since it’s defense forced Michigan’s offense to go three-and-out on the previous drive. But then the Wolverines struck right back.

Iowa took the field at its own 42 when quarterback Spencer Pentras was sacked for nine yards by Mike Morris. After an incomplete pass on second down, Pentras was sacked again by Eyabie Okie and Taylor Upshaw to put Iowa to its own 28. On fourth down, Pentras threw another incomplete pass and the Wolverines took over on downs.

Michigan’s next drive resulted in a 20-yard rushing touchdown from Corum to put Michigan up 27-7. The Wolverines’ ability to get to the quarterback and force Iowa off the field allowed for Michigan to maintain its lead and cement the win.

The Wolverine defense ended the game with four sacks and five quarterback hurries. This was the most sacks in a game since the Colorado State game, and it was the most quarterback hurries in a single game all season.

The Wolverines were dominant in their first road game and rose above the narrative that Kinnick Stadium is a “place top-five teams go to die.” They remain undefeated in Big Ten play and hit the road again next week to take on the Indiana Hoosiers.