IOWA CITY, Iowa – Stellar defense led the Michigan State Spartans to a 26-14 victory over Iowa, in their first Big Ten game of the 2013 season.
Starting quarterback Connor Cook helped lead the offense to welcomed success Saturday, with career highs in pass attempts (41) and passing yards (277), while adding two touchdowns through the air.The Hawkeyes’ came into Saturday’s matchup as the 19th ranked team in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging over 244 yards. The Spartan defense was up to the task, containing Iowa’s rushing attack to only 23 yards on the day.
The Hawkeyes’ offense got off to a slow start, not converting a first down the entire first quarter. But sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock was perfect in the second quarter, completing all 11 of his passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. However, that was all the Hawkeye offense could get going. Michigan State allowed only 96 yards in the second half, with help from cornerback Darqueze Dennard’s second interception of the day, coming with five minutes remaining in the game.
Defense was the main story of the day, but the Spartans’ special teams delivered perhaps the key play in sealing the victory.
Punter Mike Sadler faked a punt at the beginning of the fourth quarter on 4th and 6 for a 25-yard run. This helped set up a 49-yard field goal by freshman kicker Michael Geiger, a career long for him, which expanded the lead to 23-14.
Spartan receivers also showed signs of progress Saturday, as Macgarrett Kings Jr. and Bennie Fowler combined for 186 yards receiving and two touchdowns.