Kirk's Works: Counting down the Top 25 wins of the Ferentz era - Number 7

Might as well just put this here

The date: October 24, 2009

The opponent: Michigan State

The score: #6 Iowa 15, Michigan State 13

What the hell just happened? Only Chris Martin’s biggest contribution to football (he did play for Northwestern after all):

"Seven got Six."

With those three magic words. Iowa’s last-second, dramatic victory over Michigan State will live on forever in Hawkeye lore. In 30 years, I may not remember what year the game took place or some of the details surrounding the contest, but I’ll always remember "Seven got six."

Of course, seven refers to receiver Marvin McNutt, who famously told offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe that the slant was open and the Hawkeyes went with it as Ricky Stanzi put it right on the numbers to set off a celebration that was both jubilant and filled with wonderful Spartan schadenfreude.

Now if you excuse me, I'll be watching this all day

The play capped a whirlwind 10-play, 70 yard drive that took all of the game’s remaining 97 seconds. The drive started the same way it ended – with a McNutt catch – and Stanzi showed off some of his American-born moxie with a huge third-down conversion to Trey Stross that brought Iowa to Michigan State 31. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos added his own catch and Michigan State was called for a holding penalty (which was big since they picked off Stanzi’s pass on the play) to set the thrilling finish.

Unbelievably, Iowa was able to get off four plays in the final 15 seconds of the game with the final being McNutt’s iconic grab.

Iowa’s final march down the field might have been the biggest surprise of the entire game (and we’re talking about a contest where Michigan State successfully pulled off a hook-and-lateral) because up to that point the Hawkeyes and Spartans were mired in one of the hardest hitting Big 10 affairs of the Ferentz-era.

In the first half, Iowa had the ball five different times and came up with five first downs (and maybe in the most Iowa-thing ever, the Hawkeyes were called for delay of game on the third freaking play of the game), while getting a Daniel Murray field goal. Things weren’t much easier for Michigan State though, and the first half ended with the two teams tied at 3-3.

Michigan State retook the lead in the third quarter, but only with a field goal as the Hawkeyes stopped the Spartans three times from the one-yard line. About a quarter later, Michigan State returned the favor, stopping Iowa three times on the one to force another Daniel Murray field goal.

Iowa added one more field goal a little later in the fourth quarter (this drive is where Colin Sandeman was hit helmet-to-helmet and subsequently taunted at while lying on the turf, did Dantonio dispute the call? Of course) to take a slim 9-6 lead with 2:56 remaining.

Kirk Cousins was sacked on the first two plays of Michigan State’s ensuing drive, but the hook and lateral converted a 3rd-and-18 and you just knew the Spartans were going to score, which they did two plays later to set up the Hawkeyes’ game-winning drive.

Heroes: This game really announced the arrival of McNutt, who would catch a 92-yard touchdown a week later against Indiana and also add a score against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. This game also showcased the clutchness of Stanzi which just makes the late game duds against Wisconsin and Ohio State in 2010 even more frustrating. You might not see three uglier field goals, but Iowa doesn’t win without them, so Daniel Murray, you sir are a hero (c’mon you know where that link is leading to).

Important? Well the game did give Iowa its fair share of national media coverage (unfortunately most of it focused on how lucky the Hawkeyes were). Iowa continued its dream season for another week with the wacky win over Indiana before Corey Wooten crushed Stanzi’s and America’s ankle *shakes fist* FITZGERAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALD! Also worth noting: Iowa hasn’t had a better finish since.

A/V:

2009 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Highlights (via Hawkeyeshawn1234)

Personal memories: I think there is still a sweat stain on my chair from when I watched the game. Like most I was pretty resigned to the fact that the dream season was over when Michigan State scored its touchdown, but that final drive kept going and going and the tension rose and rose before finally Seven got Six. It still remains the only game where I have received phone calls immediately afterward that consisted of nothing but guttural screams.

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