The Wolverines learned another lesson about facing unranked teams on the road who are, for the moment, playing well enough to spring an upset. The difference for Michigan, on Saturday, was they learned their lesson before it was too late.
Michigan doesn't usually trail games by more than 10 points, and when they do, they usually don't win. The Wolverines trailed 20-7 in the third quarter. The Iowa Hawkeyes made big plays on offense, and continued to snuff out the run, while Michigan's passing game wasn't in sync. The Wolverines didn't hang their heads, they played with determination and confidence as the game unfolded. It was one thing to comeback and take a 21-20 lead, it took something even more, when Iowa regained the lead at 26-21.
Coach Lloyd Carr didn't play the game safe. His decision to kick a field goal from 51 yards out, and not pooch punt, was gutsy. Hayden Epstein had already missed a shorter field goal. Another miss would have given the Hawkeyes good field position to tie or take the lead. The make with 3:37 left, forced Iowa to score a touchdown. Carr's newest trick play, "TIGER", was last used by the coach in the 70's at Westland John Glenn High School. It was called on 3rd down. Many times the coach has been criticized for just trying to hang-on. Coach Carr learned his lesson before this one was too late.
Michigan quarterback John Navarre had a tough first half. He struggled with his accuracy; however, he made plays in the 2nd half. Navarre's pass to Tyrece Butler was a thing of beauty. Navarre only threw 16 completions, but they were to nine different receivers. So much for "locking on".
The wide receivers didn't play all that great in the first half, but Marquise Walker wanted the ball. He caught a third down pass after he nearly tripped on his slant route. His one handed touchdown grab came one play after he was stripped of an appearant touchdown. When Chicago rookie, and former Wolverine David Terrell, made a one handed grab for a touchdown with a minute left in regulaion, the Chicago announcers could only think of one better catch they've seen. One exclaimed, "Terrell is no Marquise Walker."
With Iowa already scoring 26 points, the Hawkeyes needed one last drive to pull off the upset, the Wolverine defense would deny them. They stopped one of the conference's best rushers, Ladell Betts, on 3rd and one, and stopped Iowa's fourth down deep pass.
The Wolverines learned a valuable lesson in Iowa City, and they learned it before it was too late.