The 2010 Hawkeyes (7-5) are matched up against the #10 ranked Missouri Tigers (10-2). Iowa is trailing 24-20 in the middle of the fourth quarter when the game is flipped on its head. Iowa’s defense has been bending, but not breaking, all game with Blaine Gabbert amassing over 400 yards through the air. During this drive, Missouri is eating up clock and picking up first downs utilizing their quick, underneath passing attack.
With 5:56 remaining, Missouri has 1st and 10 at the Iowa 29. From shotgun, Gabbert looks to his right where slot receiver TJ Moe, who ended the game with 15 receptions, is running a quick out. Iowa has it covered well. With the running back helping the right tackle in pass protection, true freshman James Morris takes off toward Gabbert. This spooks Gabbert and causes him to abandon a clean pocket and roll to his left. Adrian Clayborn runs parallel to the line of scrimmage to keep Gabbert from being able to scramble up field. Gabbert slows, turns his shoulders, and floats a ball to the left sideline where it is intercepted by Micah Hyde. The rest of the play is a part of Hawkeye lore as Hyde crosses the entire field to return the interception 72 yards for a touchdown. 26-24 Iowa.
On the replay from behind the quarterback, you see number 8, Wes Kemp is blocking Hyde preparing for Gabbert to take off running. Gabbert sees Hyde start to get past Kemp and thinks he will have space to float the ball over Hyde as he runs toward him. Once Gabbert turns his shoulders to start to pass, Hyde changes directions and backups right into Kemp. The pass goes right to Hyde and he makes the biggest play of the game from there.
The extra point is about to put Iowa ahead by a field goal but then…
That was WAY too close of a call as Meyer’s kick bounces off the right upright but manages to still clear the crossbar between the uprights. A field goal will only tie the game.
Can the defense hold?
After a few plays, Missouri is able to get the ball back into Iowa territory. On first down, the go with a shotgun run that only nets a yards. Once again with a clean pocket, Gabbert inexplicably takes off running to his left and scrambles for 3 yards before running out of bounds.
Once again it is the young James Morris that helps the Iowa defense on 3rd down. He blitzes from his spot over the field inside slot receiver. He comes untouched and forces Gabbert into a quick and incomplete throw. Gabbert pays the price with Morris drilling him right after he releases the ball. Watch the safeties, Greenwood and Sash, on this play prior to the snap. The field safety starts to come forward to cover the receiver that Morris is leaving, while the field safety rotates back and center. Gabbert should have recognized this movement and read the blitz. Shaun Prater is covering the boundary slot and faking a blitz as well. Just an excellent design and execution by Phil Parker’s defense.
With the game seemingly coming down to this 4th and 6, Iowa brings another blitz from the field linebacker. To disguise the blitz, Sash starts to shuffle to the middle of the field and away from his coverage responsibility. Right before the ball is snapped he changes direction and sprints back out to cover the inside slot. Gabbert has time but great coverage and a throw that is a little outside leads to an incomplete pass, that had to be overturned by replay.
Nail in the coffin
Iowa seals the win with a 3rd down play action pass to tight end Allen Reisner, who runs and flips his way to the 1 yard line. It’s not a shock you see Iowa use this same concept to this day as you see offensive center and now current offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz sprint down field to congratulate Reisner.
Here were the first three plays of the drive to set up that pass. Freshman Marcus Coker had a huge night for the Hawkeyes while he was filling in for the suspended Adam Robinson. In addition to Robinson, starting receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was also suspended for the game.
Iowa gets a much needed win to cap what was an otherwise disappointing 2010.