No. 3 Michigan has a brilliant defense, but Iowa – which does not have a good offense – might have figured out the most efficient way to move the ball against it.
Trailing 3-0 near the end of the first quarter on Saturday night, Iowa faced a fourth-and-10 at its own 30-yard line. Punter Ron Coluzzi stood back to boot the ball away, and when Michigan tried to block his punt, he acted a bit, and Michigan was flagged for a five-yard running-into-the kicker foul.
That brought up a fourth-and-5 for the Hawkeyes, cutting the distance to the chains in half. You’d better believe Coluzzi was ready to get those five yards.
He tried a rollout, rugby-style boot. A Michigan player got kind of close to him, and maybe he touched him. Either way, Coluzzi sold that thing brilliantly. Michigan took another five-yard penalty, and the Hawkeyes’ drive continued. They’d eventually miss a field goal to end the possession, but whatever. Coluzzi’s still a hero.
Earlier in the first quarter, Coluzzi attempted a fake punt, tripped, somersaulted to the ground, and was hit in the head by a Michigan linebacker who got ejected for targeting. He’s an offensive powerhouse.
Michigan didn’t get a first down on Coluzzi’s woebegone fake punt, because Michigan’s targeting foul came after the play was over. But that still gave the Hawkeyes 15 extra yards of field position, so Coluzzi’s now responsible for 25 Iowa yards all by himself.
That’s better than eight yards per play when Coluzzi’s getting himself involved on purpose. Iowa doesn’t have anyone else nearly that prolific.