Cooper DeJean’s 70-yard punt return with 3:45 remaining Saturday night snapped a tie and lifted Iowa to a 26-16 Big Ten Conference win over Michigan State in Iowa City.
Drew Stevens added a 34-yard field goal with 59 seconds left, his fourth of the game, to wrap up the result for the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1). Iowa won despite being outgained 349-222 and losing quarterback Cade McNamara to a left leg injury in the first half.
Backup Deacon Hill completed just 11 of 27 passes for 115 yards for the Hawkeyes with a touchdown and an interception. But Iowa forced four turnovers and committed just three penalties for 25 yards.
Spartans quarterback Noah Kim hit 25 of 44 passes for 193 yards but tossed three interceptions. Nathan Carter rushed 20 times for 108 yards for Michigan State (2-3, 0-2), which lost its third straight game under interim coach Harlon Barnett.
The Spartans took a 16-10 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter when Cal Haladay returned a fumble 42 yards for their only touchdown. Stevens equalized later in the period by connecting on field goals of 53 and 36 yards.
In addition to its turnovers, Michigan State was flagged 10 times for 94 yards.
Iowa initiated scoring on the game’s first possession, driving 53 yards to set up Stevens’ 40-yard field goal at the 11:25 mark. Michigan State answered with 31- and 32-yard field goals from Jonathan Kim, the latter one giving it a 6-3 edge with 11:04 left in the first half.
The Hawkeyes responded with their first touchdown with 3:48 remaining in the half as Hill connected with Erick All for a 13-yard strike, finishing off an 80-yard drive that required just 2:16. The big play was a 32-yard pass from Hill to All, coupled with roughing the passer on the Spartans.
But Michigan State stole the momentum going into halftime when Kim bombed a 58-yard field goal as time expired, enabling it to go to the break trailing 10-9.