Make no mistake about it, Iowa, was the better team on the field on Saturday. Mistakes placed the Spartans behind early and they never recovered as the Hawkeyes saw big play after big play push their lead to more than even the cardiac Spartans could overcome.
The Hawkeyes opened with an 80-yard drive that saw Ricky Stanzi hit Colin Sandeman for a 3-yard score and Iowa never looked back as they saw big plays in all three phases of the game push them to a decisive victory over the fifth ranked Spartans.
Mark Dantonio expressed his disappointment following the game.
"Obviously a disappointing performance by us today. We are still an 8-1 football team and that is something that we need to recognize."
While the Spartans have been able to have back-to-back come from behind victories the past two weeks, Saturday found the Spartans down early against a team ready to push them out of the way.
"We have to make plays," Continued Dantonio. "The game started out badly with the reverse and not getting off the field on a third down. To me, we need to run the ball effectively and we can't turn the ball over three times and not get anything done on defense. You can't win if you can't sack the quarterback. You can't win if you can't stop the run. "
The Spartans head coach made it no secret his team was hurting after the game.
"Right now everyone is hurting, our coaches and our players. Nobody like to come in and play like this or coach like this. We will find out about ourselves next week. I don't think right now is a good time to judge. The proof of our team will be in how we play next week."
For the third game in a row, the Spartans could not get their running game in gear. It did not help that Iowa got out to such an early lead and forced the Spartans into passing more. While the Spartans threw the ball 39 times, they were only able to average nine yards per catch as compared to Iowa's seventeen yards per reception.
Iowa's Stanzi was his consistent self, going 11-of-15 for 190 yards and three touchdowns while never being sacked. Nevertheless, it was the fact the Hawkeyes were able to score on their first five chances with two of the scores coming off interceptions.
The Spartans did not find the end zone until the third quarter as Iowa had a solid lead in the game.
Michigan State returns to Spartan Stadium next Saturday for a battle against Minnesota and a chance to keep their hopes of a Big Ten title within their reach.
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