Michigan’s grip on a Big Ten East title got much looser on Saturday night in Iowa City. The No. 3 Wolverines, who had been blowing out teams by insane margins all season, struggled mightily by Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Wolverines held a slim 13-11 lead throughout the second half, but couldn’t hang on till the end. The Hawkeyes were able to drive downfield in the final minute, and were able to miraculously make a 33-yard field goal to upset the No. 3 Wolverines 14-13.
Now things look very interesting inside the Big Ten East. If Michigan loses to Ohio State in a couple weeks and Penn State doesn’t lose again, a two-loss Penn State team would win the division and go to the Big Ten title game. That’s thanks to Penn State’s upset win over OSU earlier in the season, which gives Penn State a head-to-head tiebreaker.
Week 11 will go down in the 2016 season as Upset Saturday — No. 2 Clemson was upset at home 43-42 by Pittsburgh, and an undefeated No. 4 Washington team lost at home to No. 20 USC. This season had been lacking chaos, with most of the teams winning the games as they were supposed to, but this weekend provided our first batch of pure big upsets amongst Playoff contending teams.
Michigan’s game against Iowa lacked sufficient offense throughout — something that the Wolverines had, for the most part, avoided virtually all season.
Both teams were held to under 200 total yards of offense until inside the three minute mark of the game. To put how bad this game was offensively into perspective: At one point, Iowa’s punter accounted for 25 of those yards himself, after he drew three UM penalties in a single quarter.
The game was entertaining throughout, thanks to the Hawkeyes being able to hang around throughout the entire game. Iowa was able to come back from a 10-0 deficit in the second quarter by getting a safety on UM running back De’Veon Smith, and then a touchdown pass closed the gap to just two points.
A 25-yard field goal in the third quarter gave the Hawkeyes their first lead of the night, but Michigan’s 51-yard field goal gave UM a two-point lead that they held until Iowa’s field goal in the closing seconds.
Although Michigan can still make it to the Big Ten Championship, the road looks a bit tougher after the upset loss.