As if losing by 25 points wasn’t enough of a concern for Michigan, it must now deal with the possible loss of two key players on the defense.
In the fourth quarter, on the same play, the Wolverines lost safety Cato June and defensive lineman Dan Rumishek when June fell down into Rumishek’s knee. The collison knocked June unconscious and left Rumishek limping heavily.
The situation was eerily similar to the collision between Zia Combs and Ernest Shazor on Oct. 12 against Penn State, which left Combs temporarily paralyzed.
The same was feared for June, who remained motionless on the field, but Michigan coach Lloyd Carr dispelled any of those thoughts after the game.
“The only thing I know is that when he left the field, he was conscious and he was moving all of his extremities,” Carr said.
The status of both is unknown for next week.
The possible loss of the two players will further test the depth of Michigan, which has already had its fair share of injuries. Combs and linebackers Roy Manning (knee) and Lawrence Reid (blood clot) are out for the remainder of the season.
In addition, safety Julius Curry and offensive linemen Matt Lentz and Adam Stenavich, who were questionable coming into the game, did not play against Iowa.
All three were sorely missed against the Hawkeyes as miscues at their positions were costly for Michigan. Courtney Morgan replaced Stenavich at left tackle and was torched all game by Iowa defensive lineman Howard Hodges.
Curry’s presence was missed on special teams as his replacement, brother Markus Curry, fumbled a punt return that changed the momentum of the game.
Julius Curry said he expects to be back next week for Michigan State.
Slip-screen strife: The Iowa offense picked apart the Michigan defense with simple, well-executed plays like the wide receiver slip-screen. The Hawkeyes ran the screen well and took advantage of the overpursuit of the Wolverines’ defense.
“We ran a couple last year in the game and didn’t quite execute it, and today I think our execution was a little bit better,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “When you execute you have the chance to make something good happen.”
Ferentz said that the screen is run in the hopes that the defense will blitz, but that Michigan did not blitz every time against the screen.
Silver lining: If there is a bright spot in the blowout loss, it is the possibility that Michigan has finally found a placekicker.
In the third quarter, punter Adam Finley knocked in a 40-yard field goal to close the score to 10-9.
The fact that Philip Brabbs missed the extra point on the Wolverines’ lone touchdown did not factor into the decision to use Finley; Michigan had planned on it before the game.
“We were kind of coming into today where Phil (Brabbs) was going to do the extra points and I was going to do field goals – it was kind of our game plan from the beginning,” Finley said.
Finley’s kick provided a ray of hope that the Wolverines’ kicking woes will be cured. The Michigan kickers were a combined 5-of-14 on field goal attempts coming into the game.
After the game, Carr said that Finley will now handle both placekicking and punting duties for the Wolverines. Brabbs will remain the kickoff specialist.
Finley continued to punt well, averaging 42.9 yards per punt against the Hawkeyes and placing four punts inside the 20-yard line.