3 takeaways from Iowa's dramatic win vs. Michigan State
Iowa and Michigan State both arrived at Week 5 with question marks and some disappointing performances on their record. The two sides were both looking to flip that around in Week 5, and the Hawkeyes and Spartans delivered a hard-fought game as a result.
While the Hawkeyes carried a 10-9 lead into the break, Michigan State came up with a game-changing defensive score early in the third quarter. However, Iowa would score the final 16 points in the game, including a clutch punt return touchdown to break a 16-all deadlock.
Here are the key takeaways from Iowa’s 26-16 win over the Spartans:
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Cooper DeJean the MVP
DeJean entered the game with somewhat quiet stats this season after 5 interceptions a season ago that included 3 pick-6 plays. He flipped his season around with some game-defining moments in Week 5.
Undeniably, the play of the game came late in the fourth quarter when DeJean housed a 70-yard punt return to give the Hawkeyes the lead. That score was a clutch one to break the tie as Iowa scored 10 late points for the win.
DeJean also impacted the game defensively, including a first-half interception where he made a better play on a ball than the MSU receiver. He added 6 total tackles (4 solo stops) to his performance.
In case anyone needed a reminder, DeJean demonstrated in Saturday’s game that he is Iowa’s most talented player this fall.
Special teams treat
It’s not exactly a surprise in a game involving Iowa and Tory Taylor, but Saturday’s game produced some impact performances from the special teams units. That includes a new record-long field goal for Kinnick Stadium.
The record-breaking kick came from Michigan State’s Jonathan Kim with the first-half clock expiring. Kim’s kick came from 58 yards and was absolutely drilled. Kim was not the only powerful leg on display with Iowa’s Drew Stevens hitting from 53 yards.
Combined, Kim and Stevens went 7-for-8 on field goal tries with 24 total points in the game. It was certainly a standout performance from the kickers, though Kim’s miss did prove costly for the Spartans.
The punting game was also strong with Taylor and MSU punter Ryan Eckley both averaging nearly 49 yards per punt. A total of 6 punts were downed inside the opposition’s 20-yard line and each player had a punt of at least 60 yards.
Iowa’s QB question mark
Starting quarterback Cade McNamara started the game 3-for-5 for 46 yards throwing the ball, but the good vibes did not last long. He went down with another non-contact injury in the game, and the outlook did not seem positive.
McNamara would spend just a few minutes in the medical tent before being carted to the locker room without applying any weight to his left leg in the process. All the Hawkeyes can do is hope for the best, but it is very possible Deacon Hill is the starter for the foreseeable future.
If that is the case, Hill did not exactly provide a lot of confidence in Week 5. He did throw a touchdown but finished 11-for-27 for 115 yards with an interception. Hill would be the first player up if McNamara is sidelined significantly, but Joey Labas could find his way into some reps down the road.