EAST LANSING, Mich. - Kirk Ferentz would have been celebrating this win even if there wasn't a milestone at stake.
Ferentz won his 100th game as Iowa's coach Saturday when the Hawkeyes outlasted Michigan State 19-16 in double overtime. Mark Weisman ran for 116 yards and scored a tying touchdown in the final minute of regulation, and Mike Meyer kicked four field goals for Iowa.
"Whether it was 100th or 10th, this was a game I'll remember for a while, just because of the way the guys battled and stuck with it," said Ferentz, who has 112 victories overall.
Iowa’s Dominic Alvis celebrates following a 19-16 double-overtime win over Michigan State in a Big Ten Conference football game Saturday at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.
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. Iowa then won it when Andrew Maxwell's deflected pass was intercepted by Greg Castillo.
Le'Veon 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.
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.
"It was just an up route. Vandy threw a great ball," Davis said. "It was a play we had to make. Luckily we made it and it gave us a spark."
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. Michigan State could have won it with a touchdown in the second, but Maxwell's pass appeared to be tipped by defensive lineman Louis Trinca-Pasat. The ball then deflected off the hands of wide receiver Keith Mumphery and was intercepted by Castillo.
It was the first interception for Maxwell since he threw three in the season opener against Boise State.
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," 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."
Weisman hurt his right ankle on his touchdown, which ended up being his last carry of the afternoon.
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.
The Hawkeyes trailed 10-0 in the second quarter when Jordan Cotton had a kickoff return for a touchdown nullified by an illegal block. Iowa still ended up with the ball near midfield and drove for a field goal.
Michigan State missed a chance to score in the final seconds of the half because of a farcical 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, but there was mass confusion among the Spartans, who needed only to stop the clock with a spike and bring their field-goal unit out.
Michigan State eventually got lined up - but Maxwell, the quarterback, was nowhere to be seen. Bell went to the line of scrimmage as if to take the snap himself, and Maxwell finally ran over from the sideline to the backfield, but the clock ran out.
"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."