EAST LANSING, Mich. — Andrew Maxwell completed a nice pass to put Michigan State in field-goal range, then headed toward the sideline while confusion reigned around him.
The Spartans needed only to spike the ball to stop the clock before they could bring their field-goal unit out, but when they lined up, their quarterback was nowhere to be found. So running back Le’Veon Bell went to the line of scrimmage as if to take the snap himself. Then Maxwell finally ran back over from the sideline.
Then the clock ran out. No points.
“I think it was miscommunication. I was running down and saw the field-goal team running on, so I thought we were going to sneak in a quick field goal,” Maxwell said. “So I ran off, and we had half the offense and half the field-goal team.”
That snafu at the end of the first half was one of several breakdowns and missed opportunities that led to Michigan State’s 19-16, double-overtime loss to Iowa on Saturday. The Spartans allowed a tying touchdown in the final minute of regulation.
“When you go from an opportunity to win at the end of the game to losing it in a split-second, it’s tough to deal with,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “It’s tough for our players to deal with and our coaches and, I’m sure, a lot of people.”
Mark Weisman ran for 116 yards and scored the tying touchdown, and Mike Meyer kicked field goals in both overtimes, including a 42-yarder in the second that gave the Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten) their first lead of the game.
Michigan State still could have won it with a touchdown, but Maxwell’s pass appeared to be tipped at the line of scrimmage, then deflected off the hands of wide receiver Keith Mumphery. The ball was intercepted by Greg Castillo to end the game.
It was the first interception for Maxwell since he threw three in the season opener against Boise State.
Michigan State missed a chance to score in the final seconds of the half because of miscommunication. Maxwell completed a 19-yard pass to Mumphery to the Iowa 32 with 6 seconds left. The clock stopped momentarily because of the first down.
Michigan State eventually got lined up — but there was nobody to take the snap.
“It was a long field goal, but we wanted to clock the ball,” Dantonio said.
Bell ran for 140 yards and a touchdown for Michigan State, but the Spartans (4-3, 1-2) couldn’t hold on late. Iowa drove 68 yards in nine plays and tied it at 13 on Weisman’s 5-yard scoring run with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Iowa has won two in a row since a loss to Central Michigan on Sept. 22. Michigan State beat Central Michigan 41-7 last month.
“You can’t afford to look back,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You learn from what you go through, good or bad, and we’re going to have to do the same thing this week, because this one took a lot out of us.”
The Hawkeyes appeared to be in trouble late in the fourth when they faced second-and-26 from their own 16, but James Vandenberg found Keenan Davis single covered along the right sideline for a 35-yard gain.
Weisman’s 37-yard run on third-and-6 gave Iowa the ball at the Michigan State 8 and set up the tying TD, which also came on third down.
The teams traded short field goals in the first overtime.
On a rainy day at Spartan Stadium, Vandenberg threw an early interception when his pass was tipped by defensive lineman William Gholston and picked off by Denicos Allen.
Michigan State took over at the Iowa 26 and gave the ball to Bell four straight times. His 14-yard touchdown run made it 7-0.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.