HALFTIME: Iowa 6, Michigan State 3

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The Iowa kicking team huddles before the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Alyssa Hitchcock)

 

At halftime, Iowa is leading Michigan State, 6-3.

By Danny Payne
[email protected]

INDIANAPOLIS — This one is taking a while, guys. Both teams have had their shots so far, but it’s been the Hawkeyes with the majority of the good chances so far. Below are some thoughts on the first half.

  • The Hawkeyes have had three trips to the red zone and came up with 6 points. The first one came when Josey Jewell intercepted Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, and the second came after a sustained drive at the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter. Toward the end of the half, Iowa had all of the momentum but wasn’t able to come away with points. C.J. Beathard threw a 5-yard pass over the middle to George Kittle, who had it knocked away after coming very close to securing the pass. The ball landed on Riley Bullough and Demetrious Cox alertly pulled the ball of of his back for a pick. Tough break for the Hawkeyes.
  • With that said, Iowa’s defense has been unbelievable. It has allowed 142 total yards and six first downs (2-of-6 on third down) and has come up with plays all evening long. Phil Parker’s unit has been very well-disciplined against an offense with good ability.
  • That said, if there’s a second half to be made for the Spartans, it’s to run more up the middle. The majority of plays have been intended to stretch the Hawkeyes, but the opportunity to push it down Iowa’s gut seems to be there. We’ll see.
  • Michigan State is so, so quick to the edge on defense and extremely disciplined on the cutback side. Iowa’s trying to figure out a recipe for success on the ground but has 59 rushing yards. It’s not that the Hawkeyes are doing anything wrong, Sparty is just that good.
  • Beathard is Iowa’s first-half MVP. We’ve all seen his playmaking ability all year, and it’s been no exception all day.
  • I can’t say I’m overly impressed with Connor Cook. He’s been good but not to the caliber I’ve seen from him all season. Cook is 9-of-15 for 96 yards and an interception.
  • Injury-wise, Jordan Canzeri and Nathan Bazata both left the game for the Hawkeyes with lower body injuries. Canzeri didn’t put any weight on his right leg when being helped off, while Bazata walked off unassisted.
  • Field position has been a large factor today. Iowa’s average starting point is its own 36, while Sparty’s is its own 34.
  • FWIW, Desmond King, a Detroit native, is giving his fair share of mouth to the Spartans. He was passed over by the Spartans recruiting. Nothing has looked serious, all in good fun.
  • The Spartans have missed two long field goals. One went left, one hit the crossbar. That could loom large.
  • Stats:

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