Weisman leads way: Mark Weisman led the Iowa football in rushing for just the second time in six games Saturday, carrying for 88 yards on 17 carries against a Michigan defense that has allowed just two 100-yard rushers this season.
His work included a 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter which tied the game at 21-21.
“Mark there at the end was running hard,’’ coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He looked like the Mark Weisman of old a little bit. That’s a pleasing sight for a head coach on a sideline.’’
Weisman said the bye week helped all of Iowa’s backs regain fresh legs for the final weeks of the season as they prepared to face a Michigan defense that had limited foes to 111.2 yards per game on the ground.
Iowa collected 168 yards against the 13th-rated rushing defense in the country.
“We came out and played our game,’’ Weisman said. “The line did a good job of opening some holes for us, especially in the second half. I thought we played with some urgency and played tough Iowa football. It felt good.’’
Dealing with Devin: Iowa was able to apply decent pressure on Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, although Carl Davis and Christian Kirksey split the only sack of the game recorded by the Hawkeyes.
“He’s a talented player, tough to bring down one on one,’’ Iowa linebacker James Morris said. “We did what we could to contain him, not let him run free.’’
The Wolverines were dropped behind the line 11 times by Iowa, which limited Michigan to a season-low 158 yards.
Gardner, who spoke quietly and uttered only a few words following the game, said simply that Iowa’s “defense did a good job.’’
On-time delivery: When it mattered most, Mike Meyer delivered Saturday.
The senior connected on the final field-goal attempt of his career at Kinnick Stadium, hitting from 34 yards to provide Iowa with its winning margin in a 24-21 win over Michigan.
“We’ve missed a few field goals historically from where he kicked that last one, and we’ve had some bad moments on that right hash in there tight, but he nailed it when we needed it,’’ Ferentz said.
Meyer missed a try from 36 yards in the first quarter and had a chance for a 37-yard try taken away on a fumbled hold on the final snap of the first half.
Fourth-quarter comeback: Iowa trailed 21-14 entering the final quarter, the first time since bouncing back from 10-3 and 13-6 deficits in an Oct. 13, 2012 game at Michigan State that the Hawkeyes have rallied to win when they have trailed in the final quarter.
Iowa does have 10 fourth-quarter comeback wins since 2009.
Cold kickoff: Saturday’s kickoff temperature of 18 degrees was the coldest ever for an Iowa home game.
With winds blowing at 19 miles from the northwest and gusting to 23, the wind chill was 4 degrees. The temperature climbed all the way to 22 by the start of the fourth quarter.
“I tried to put it out of my mind the best I could,’’ quarterback Jake Rudock said. “There’s not much you can do to deal with it other than just go out and play.’’
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The previous coldest start for the Hawkeyes at home came in 1926 when it was 23 degrees on a day when Iowa lost a 13-6 game to Northwestern.
A teary day: There were a few tears shed during pregame ceremonies prior to the final home game for 15 Iowa seniors.
“It’s always a tough day, but to come back and get a win the way we did, that’s a great way to finish everything up,’’ Morris said. “It was pretty emotional, pretty special, and it couldn’t have ended any better.’’
Head count: With Saturday’s attendance of 65,708, Iowa finishes the season with an average Kinnick Stadium crowd of 67,127 through its seven-game schedule.
The average is the lowest for Iowa since it averaged 65,798 in 2003.
Team loss: Michigan coach Brady Hoke wasn’t pointing fingers following Saturday’s game after the Wolverines’ season-long struggles to move the ball continued.
Michigan finished with just three first downs in the second half as Iowa rallied to win and had the ball for just 11 minutes, 37 seconds over the final two quarters.
“We have got guys on scholarship to play defense and we have guys on scholarship to play offense. We talk about it all the time. You have to be a team. We gave up two touchdowns late in the third quarter that gave up our lead,’’ Hoke said. “We have to hold that lead.’’
— Steve Batterson