Spartans Halt Hawkeyes
A late defensive stand helps MSU to a 5-1 start
Oct. 4, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State's defense made a key fourth down stop in the fourth quarter to lift the Spartans to a 16-13 win over Iowa on Saturday.
Shonn Greene gained 157 yards on 30 carries for the Hawkeyes. But with 2:16 remaining in the game, linebacker Adam Decker stopped him on fourth-and-1 from the Spartans 21-yard line to seal the win for Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten).
Iowa (3-3, 0-2) passed up what could have been a game-tying field-goal attempt to go for it on fourth down.
Michigan State running back Javon Ringer was held in check. He entered the game as the nation's No. 2 rusher and tops in the Big Ten at 179.4 yards a game. But Iowa held him to 91 yards on 25 carries.
Greene entered the game ranked sixth in the nation averaging 133 rushing yards, second in the conference behind Ringer.
Brett Swenson's 25-yard field goal gave Michigan State a 16-3 lead with 9:32 left in the third quarter.
Iowa then started its rally.
Trent Mossbrucker's 33-yard field goal cut the Michigan State lead to 16-6 with 3:18 left in the third. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi connected with receiver Andy Brodell on a 31-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 16-13 with 8:47 left in the game.
Iowa entered the game allowing just 10.2 points per game, fewest in the Big Ten. But Michigan State got just enough from Ringer, and the threat of the run helped set up the passing game.
Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer made a play action fake that did enough to freeze Iowa's linebackers and allow tight end Charlie Gantt to slip behind coverage for a 4-yard touchdown pass, giving Michigan State a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The score was set up by a 52-yard Hoyer pass to B.J. Cunningham, also off a play action fake.
Swenson made field goals of 29 and 32 yards to give Michigan State a 13-0 lead late in the second quarter.
Mossbrucker kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, trimming Michigan State's lead to 13-3.
Iowa committed three turnovers in the first half. Two came deep inside Michigan State territory and took away scoring chances for the Hawkeyes. The other led to a Michigan State field goal.
Last season, Iowa erased a 14-point deficit and beat visiting Michigan State 34-27 in double overtime.