IOWA CITY — As his wobbly 47-yard field goal snuck over the crossbar with 3 seconds remaining Saturday, Central Michigan kicker David Harman hesitated, uncertain if he had reason celebrate.

All he needed to do was look across the line.

Denied a game-changing block, Iowa’s Tom Donatell fell to his knees, burying his head in his hands as Tanner Miller stared in disbelief at a Kinnick Stadium scoreboard which did not lie.

Harman’s kick had the distance, and the Hawkeyes were forced to stomach a 32-31 loss to the Mid-American Conference program, letting an eight-point lead slip away in the final minute of a mistake-filled game.

“The game, it was there for us to win, and we gave it right back to them,” Iowa linebacker James Morris said. “We’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.”

From a plethora of penalties to a pass defense which struggled from start to finish to slow the 26-of-35 passing performance of Chippewas quarterback Ryan Radcliff, it was a day-long struggle for the Hawkeyes.

“We’re a young football team in a lot of ways, and we played that way. It’s frustrating,” said Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg, who completed 16-of-25 passes for 215 yards.

The Hawkeyes, who trailed 23-14 at halftime, seemingly had dodged the potential upset when Mark Weisman capped a 217-yard rushing performance with his third touchdown run of the game with 2 minutes, 18 seconds remaining.

His score, which followed a 46-yard field goal by Mike Meyer earlier in the fourth quarter, gave Iowa a 31-23 lead and put the game in the hands of a defense which had not given up a point in the final quarter of a game this season.

Radcliff had other plans.

He drove the Chippewas 64 yards over the next 1:33, hitting Titus Davis with a 13-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left after an Iowa defender fell to the ground. Trailing 31-29, Central Michigan went for the two-point conversion, but Radcliff’s pass sailed over the reach of intended receiver Courtney Williams.

It took a pair of onside-kick attempts — the first one negated by a delay of game penalty — before Radcliff had the ball back in his hands after the Chippewas’ Jesse Kroll recovered the kick at the Central Michigan 42-yard line.

Five plays later, Harman ignored a high snap, got off a low kick with a breeze at his back and had just enough distance to clear the uprights with his fourth field goal of the game.

“Right when it came off my foot, I knew I didn’t hit it perfect,” Harman said. “I hit it a little fat, so it came off a little low, but I know for me I should get it there every time. My heart started racing a million miles an hour until I saw the signal.”

He had the chance to secure the win on a drive extended by the Hawkeyes’ third personal foul penalty of the game, a flag on Joe Gaglione which followed an incomplete pass on a 3rd-and-6 play that moved the ball to the Iowa 39-yard line.

“It’s always the second guy who gets called,” Gaglione said. “I know better, but in the moment, it happened and it cost us.”

The penalty was the ninth of the game for the Hawkeyes, who were flagged for 106 yards of penalties as they ended the nonconference portion of the schedule at 2-2 for the first time since 2007.

“Central Michigan got the job done there in the last minute the way you have to, and we didn’t,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Some of those things are just kind of reflective of the whole game.”

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(16) comments

IowanInNevada

Bobaloo - Why should the heat be taken off Ferentz?! He is a lousy coach and you can tell by his actions on the sidelines that he just care what happens. His time has come and gone and it's time to replace him. NOW!!!!

Bobaloo

OK, would you have the guts and courage to say those words to him on his call-in show? Would anybody have the courage to say, "Hey, Coach, you need to be fired" in his call-in show?

Any hands?

Anybody? Don't be shy.

MrGadfly

Folks it is all about MONEY! The Hawks have to win just 4 more games to get a bowl berth, I realize that may be tough this year. If they make a bowl it will be the 5th year in a row. Then they get their cash that covers expenses and they make some extra money. That's all this is for IOWA. The lemmings that show up each week and go to these jokes of bowls each year allow the program to continue with the status quoe. I am not saying people shouldn't go to the games, they are a blast, it is just a business and as long as they are selling tickets and making money, 7-5, and HORRIBLE NON CONFERENCE games are what we are going to get over and over. Why don't we get ONE team on our schedule that I would want to pay to see that is out of conference? I think the U of I really thought that they would be 4-0 at this point. Nothing against the Clones because they have become a competitive team, but the other three teams on the schedule are a joke for Iowa to play. You can play one or two of them in a season but three? Just get the 6 wins however you need to do it and you get to go to a bowl! The season will be a success and Dolph and the boys can tell us the refs cost us the game yesterday! Sorry just a frustrated fan.

Bobaloo

So then, praytell, what is the solution? I don't think it is Iowa's non-conference schedule, to which I'd think they'd be no worse than 3-1. And granted, I think that Iowa should have beaten Central Michigan by no fewer than four touchdowns, and possibly Northern Illinois by that much as well. Instead, they've won by 12 points over one good team and one team that shouldn't have even been on the field with them.

So again, what is the solution when it comes to bowls? Fewer bowls with an emphasis on winning over quality opposition?

I do think some of the heat should come off Coach Ferentz. Yes, it ultimately falls on his shoulders, but he can only motivate the players so much and do so much to ensure their mental preparedness to play the game and dominate a team like CMU. He's not the one making plays on the field, nor are any of his assistant coaches ... the players are. The player that had the personal foul called against him in the final minute ... that wasn't on Ferentz, but that player alone. Same with the other personal foul penalties.

It's like Vandenberg said: “We’re a young football team in a lot of ways, and we played that way. It’s frustrating.” Indeed, but now, the only thing to do is for us bloggers to shut up and let the players learn from this loss.

Again, the only recourse now to dull this disappointing loss is to come out hard against Minnesota and get a big win. Or in the very least, play great football and whatever happens happens.

MrGadfly

Bobaloo,....I agree with some of what you stated. The solution? Fans need to stop supporting some of these JOKE of bowls. Let the market fix the problem. When you are rewarded as a team for scheduling, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Central Michigan, by getting wins used to determine if you are bowl eligible, and making your Conference schedule mean little, then yes your non con schedule is a problem. If Iowa would have run the table, which they could have, they would be 4-0 and only need to win 2 games in conference to go to a bowl. WHAT the heck is that? College football has become over the past 30 years a money machine. This is all set up to get money not necessarily wins. When Iowa goes 7-5 it is a good year per the University. But whom did they beat? I do not expect the Hawks to go 12-0, or 10-2 each year. But if you went 7-5 and played only 2 non con games and the rest in conference then I think you have done something. It isn't just the Hawks, it is most of College Football.

Do you really think UNI, against a Big 10 team like Iowa is a good team? Yes they are a good team in their conference but they should lose 90 out of 100 games against a Big 10 team.

Bobaloo

The only problem regarding your comment "Fans need to stop supporting some of these JOKE of bowls" is that, at least in Iowa's case, they will travel to no matter where the bowl is, or if it is a top-tier or bottom-of-the-barrel bowl. They at least get to see their team "one more time in action," for lack of a better way of putting it. No matter if they have had a good season or if the Hawkeyes are best off calling it a season, learning from the disappointments, the coaching staff doing their job at assessing what worked and what didn't (and also recruiting) and coming out firing on all cylinders the next year.

UNI DID lose to Iowa ... although that should have probably been four touchdowns, at least. Heck, one year, Iowa crushed UNI 66-0, and it could have been far worse than that.

Dallas

They will not make any money off their bowl, assuming they go bowling, that's a problem with too many bowls, teams go into the red just to be in one.

Contemptio

Why take a knee with 12 seconds in the 1st half, when you're behind. It's like the lotto, you can't win if you don't play.

Arc Angel

Took Cent. Mich + 16!!!!

Meatstick

As others have stated this team was once again out-coached when it mattered the most. Compound that with this Iowa team which isn't very good in the first place add in the multiple bone-headed plays on the field itself and you have a college football team that looks and performs like the North Scott Lancers of the 80's. Not a good football team and a coaching stff that has regressed.

Bobaloo

Hahahahaha ... OK, very funny on the North Scott reference.

While it most certainly isn't appreciated from this Lancer fan's perspective, it is also comparing apples to oranges (i.e., college to high school football). Perhaps if you were to compare Iowa's teams of the 1970s before Hayden Fry's arrival (which was before my time, I'd admit), then maybe you'd have a point.

Roy Munson

I was really hoping that Iowa would come to their senses and fire Ferentz this offseason after back to back 7-5 seasons. But they didn't of course and now at this point I would be shocked if these guys won 5 games this year. Heck they are very lucky to have 2 wins at this point. I'm sure the Ferentz fanboys will be here shortly to tell me I am wrong though and these last several seasons aren't his fault.

Bobaloo

OK folks, to everyone who says "Fire Ferentz" – name ONE coach who would automatically jump at coming to Iowa and give us a 12-0 season in Year 1? The Hawkeyes got beat by a team that played better today, plain and simple. Get over it. Maybe this will light a fire under the Hawkeyes as they get Minnesota in a week's time.

IowanInNevada

I can name two - Mark Stoops and Dan Enos. Maybe even Dan McCarney.

bobaa2

This is a program that is going backwards. Time for changes at the very top and get more spark into the program. Ferentz is an underachieving coach with a high salary and has not given us a respectable program for the last three years. Would have thought with the coaching changes we would see a better product on the field but quite honestly these guys should be considered has beens and move on to the high school sector for their head coaching ability. not sure they would win there ither since they are so predictable. Our athletes are getting shafted by this group whom are just lining their pockets with nothing to show for it.

Woz

Iowa was out-coached. Iowa’s defensive coordinator should resign out of respect for the program. Ferentz is the highest paid under performing head coach in the Big Ten.

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