IOWA CITY, IOWA - Jim Harbaugh and Iowa just don’t mix.
He broke his leg here when he was young. He returned quarterbacking the nation’s No. 2 team in 1985 and lost a national title shot.
And now, his team’s perfect season vanished in a 14-13 loss at Iowa tonight, when Iowa kicked a game-winning field goal to win the game with no time remaining.
Just like the 1985 game when Harbaugh’s team was also No. 2, the Hawkeyes’ Keith Duncan kicked it to win it in the final seconds after a controversial facemask penalty put them in position.
Harbaugh’s No. 3 Michigan team came into Iowa favored by 21.5 points but left the 48-point per game offense at home.
But the Wolverines (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) managed only one touchdown, that early in the second quarter and only 201 total yards of offense.
And when they only needed to run out the clock in the final two minutes, the Wolverines couldn’t do it, giving Iowa that last chance to pull a stunning upset on a night full of them across the country.
After No. 2 Clemson and No. 4 Washington lost earlier in the night, it became a sweep with the Wolverines, joining that fateful day Oct. 19, 1985 as the last time Nos. 2-3-4 lost on same day.
Iowa’s last win over a top two AP team came in that game, 12-10, over Michigan.
U-M had its chance to seal the win, clinging to a two-point lead in the final minutes, Iowa was driving for the game-winning field goal or touchdown, marching on the ground.
But then the Hawkeyes got greedy and C.J. Beathard threw a bomb down the middle of the field. U-M’s Taco Charlton applied enough pressure that he couldn’t step into the throw and Channing Stribling was there to intercept it with 1:54 to play. Stribling injured his shoulder on the play.
The Wolverines only needed to run out the clock to escape with a win. But that wasn’t so easy with Iowa burning its time-outs and an injured quarterback in Wilton Speight. He tried to convert a third down but the ball slipped through Amara Darboh’s grasp.
After failing to gain a first down for 24 minutes – the final nine of the second quarter and all of the third quarter – Michigan’s offense gained a pair of first downs to open the fourth quarter.
That qualified as movement. So did when their offense stalled and punted, only to have Iowa rough the center, Scott Sypniewski.
Michigan had new life and stumbled its way into long field goal range.
Kenny Allen drilled a career-long 51-yarder with room to spare to give Michigan the lead, 13-11 with 9:35 to play.
The defense got its stop and the Wolverines were marching – until a third down pass to Jehu Chesson was bobbled and intercepted.
The Wolverines entered the fourth quarter trailing, by one, 11-10, the first time all season.
That’s the result of running seven plays for 15 yards in the third quarter, which started in a hole when Khalid Hill fumbled the kickoff and Iowa recovered.
After a fourth down conversion, Iowa capped a 10-play drive with a 25-yard field goal to take an 11-10 lead.
It was the second time Michigan trailed in the second half this season.
The first half was all kinds of bizarre.
From Iowa’s fake punt when its punter, former Central Michigan punter Ron Coluzzi, did an unintentional somersault, drawing a targeting ejection from Devin Bush Jr. to Michigan settling for a field goal on its second drive, it was clear it would be an unusual first half. Then Iowa missed a 45-yard field goal.
Michigan’s stumbling offense put together one sustained drive capped by a Ty Isaac touchdown to take a 10-0 lead with just under 9 minutes to play before halftime.
It seemed that’s when the Wolverines could pull away.
But after getting a stop on the next series, the punt pinned U-M on its own one yard line.
Two plays later, De’Veon Smith was tackled in the end zone for the safety and Iowa had what accounted for momentum in this game.
Two series later they busted off a few key plays and Iowa’s Akrum Wadley caught a 3-yard touchdown pass.
But Iowa decided to go for the two-point conversion and the receiver, Adrian Falconer, dropped it, leading to the 10-8 halftime score.