The game on Saturday went about how I thought it would. There was a lot of offense and a lot of points. Iowa's defense was able to keep Denard Robinson from breaking any big plays and Iowa's offense took advantage of Michigan's poor defense. Before the game, people were talking a lot about how Iowa's defense would perform against Denard Robinson, but the real story of the game was not how either defense played, but rather how the offenses performed.
Iowa's offense was efficient, largely mistake free, and made big plays in key situations. Iowa converted on big third down plays including a couple of 3rd and longs, didn't turn the ball over, and went 5 for 5 in the red-zone. Iowa was almost able to score at will whenever they weren't in conservative mode, and even then that usually worked too. Adam Robinson had a huge game finding large cutback lanes to run through and breaking tackles left and right (I'd be interested to see his YAC numbers). Stanzi was also very efficient. He completed over 70% of his passes and threw 3 TDs (all to DJK) and no picks.
Michigan on the other hand moved the ball well and racked up 522 yards of total offense, but in key situations made huge mistakes. Robinson and Forcier combined for 3 interceptions and Michigan also lost a fumble. Iowa turned the 4 turnovers into 14 points of their own. Michigan also struggled in the red-zone and on third downs, scoring 3 times in 5 tries in the red-zone and converting just 37.5% on third down.
Keys to the game revisited
Robinson vs. Robinson: Iowa clearly won this battle. Adam Robinson had one of the best games in his career. He ran for 143 yards and had additional 61 yards receiving. Robinson was at his best on third downs. He had a 15 yard run, on 3rd and 14 when Iowa was just trying to get a little closer for a field goal; a touchdown run on 3rd and 3 from the 11; a huge 26 yard gain on a 3rd and 8 when Stanzi checked down to Robinson, who broke about 4 tackles before going down at Michigan's 14 yard line to set up the game-sealing field goal.
Denard Robinson was held in check by Iowa defense. Though he went out midway through the 3rd quarter, re-aggravating a minor shoulder injury, he had only been mediocre to that point. He had 105 rushing yards and was averaging almost 6 yards per carry...but most importantly from Iowa's perspective, was that his longest run of the afternoon was just 12 yards. So while he was moving the ball, he wasn't making big plays or putting points on the board. Through the air, he finished 13 of 18 for 96 yards with a TD and an INT. So, again he moved the ball pretty effectively but only in small chunks.
Kicking: Iowa clearly won this battle too. Michigan tried just one field goal, which was blocked by Adrian Clayborn and returned by Tyler Sash 37 yards eventually setting up an Iowa TD. Iowa also tried just one field goal. Mike Meyer hit a clutch 30-yarder with less than 3 minutes left in the game that put Iowa up to two scores and effectively put the game out of reach.
Michigan also struggled on kickoffs, as 2 sailed out of bounds giving Iowa great field positions. The first out of bounds kick Iowa turned into a touchdown, and the second Iowa scored the game sealing field goal.
A fast start: Michigan actually got out to a faster start scoring on its first possession. Iowa went 3-and-out on its first two possessions. Things quickly changed though and Iowa shut down Denard Robinson the remainder of the first half and scored touchdowns on its next 3 possessions.