The Final Drive: Breakdown

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Iowa's offense had been playing rather poor. The run game was just starting to produce some yards (Robinson had 109 yards on 27 carries), but Stanzi was just 7 of 18 and had been off all night. So how did the Hawkeyes drive 70 yards in 10 plays to win the game?...well here's the breakdown.

PLAY 1

Down: 1st and 10
Yard line: Iowa 30
Time left: 1:32
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
Michigan State sits back in a deep zone coverage only rushing 3 linemen. As a result Stanzi has time and find McNutt on a deep crossing pattern between the linebacker and the safety. The play goes for 16 yards and a first down.

PLAY 2

Down: 1st and 10
Yard line: Iowa 46
Time left: 1:18
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
MSU again sits back, but this time does a good job in coverage. Stanzi can't find anyone open so he dances around a little and takes off down the middle. He gets 2 yards before being taken down by Trever Anderson.

PLAY 3

Down: 2nd and 8
Yard line: Iowa 48
Time left: 1:02
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
MSU is playing with 8 men in coverage again. Stanzi tries to hit McNutt on a fade down the sideline but it is well defended and falls incomplete.

PLAY 4

Down: 3rd and 8
Yard line: Iowa 48
Time left: 0:54
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
For the fourth straight play Michigan State plays a deep zone rushing only 3. Iowa runs a very similar play (maybe even the same play) to the first play of the drive with a couple of deep routes then Stross running a crossing pattern underneath. Stanzi finds Stross in front of the linebackers and Stross is able to make a good run after the catch and goes 21 yards for the first down.

PLAY 5

Down: 1st and 10
Yard line: Michigan State 31
Time left: 0:41
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
Michigan State mixes it up a little and brings Jones on a blitz. It is picked up nicely and Stanzi heaves a pass up to DJK in the endzone. The pass is there, but very well defended and DJK is unable to bring the ball down.

PLAY 6

Down: 2nd and 10
Yard line: Michigan State 31
Time left: 0:34
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
Michigan State brings even more pressure this time bringing 2 linebackers and a cornerback all on the left side. The offensive linemen do a great job picking up the blitz and a key block is made by FB Brett Morse. With the blitz, DJK is open on the left side and Stanzi finds him for a 16 yard first down.

PLAY 7

Down: 1st and 10
Yard line: Michigan State 15
Time left: 0:22
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 3-3/nickle

The play:
Michigan State brings a couple linebackers off the left side and get some pressure on Stanzi which causes Stanzi to throw a less than perfect pass. The blitz leaves DJK 1-on-1 with Rucker, and Rucker holds DJK, then pushes off and intercepts the pass. Rucker gets called for a very obvious defensive holding and Iowa gets a first down and half the distance to the goal.

PLAY 8

Down: 1st and Goal
Yard line: Michigan State 7
Time left: 0:15
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, shotgun; Michigan State - 4-3, Blitz All

The play:
Michigan State brings the house and leaving man coverage all around. In classic Ken O'Keefe fashion (this is the same play Iowa ran with Banks to Clark to beat Purdue and the same play Iowa tried on 1st and goal against Northwestern last at the end of the game) Stanzi and the receivers roll to the right, then Moeaki releases back to the left. The Spartan defense must have read their scouting report and saw this play coming. Two Spartans were there to breakup the pass and it was actually close to being intercepted.

PLAY 9

Down: 2rd and Goal
Yard line: Michigan State 7
Time left: 0:09
Formation: Iowa - 4-wide, Ace; Michigan State - 4-3 Blitz All

The play:
The Spartans once again are in man coverage with everyone else bringing pressure. To me it looks like Stanzi thought Stross would be running a slant inside, but Stross broke outside. There is nobody near the pass and it falls incomplete.

PLAY 10

Down: 3rd and Goal
Yard line: Michigan State 7
Time left: 0:05
Formation: Iowa - 4-wide, Ace; Michigan State - 4-3 Blitz All

The play:
Michigan State does the same thing for the 3rd play in a row and Iowa tries the same play with Stross breaking the right direction this time. The defensive back is all over Stross and Stanzi is unable to thread the needle. Very good defense on this play.

FINAL PLAY

Down: 4th and Goal
Yard line: Michigan State 7
Time left: 0:02
Formation: Iowa - 3-wide, Ace; Michigan State - 4-3 Blitz All

The play:
Iowa takes a timeout to up the final play. Michigan State decides to bring the heat again and leaves the receivers in man coverage. Moeaki goes in motion and leaves McNutt isolated on the left. McNutt and Stross both run slants (I think DJK is running a slant, Moeaki is running a short out, and Morse stays back to block). The offensive line picks up the blitz, McNutt runs a great route, and Stanzi throws the perfect pass. And the celebration begins. It looked like the Stross slant was also wide open but took a little longer to develop. So, I really like the throw to McNutt in this situation. The guy has great hands. It was just a great play (and drive) all around.
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