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Saturday, November 12, 2011
3Q update: Michigan State 34, Iowa 21

By Adam Rittenberg

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa's not dead yet.

After having its pride challenged midway through the quarter, the Hawkeyes have responded with two late touchdowns to get within striking distance entering the fourth. A big-play offense led by star wide receiver Marvin McNutt (7 catches, 119 yards, TD) has settled into a nice rhythm after struggling mightily in the second quarter.

Iowa needs to replicate its magic from the Pitt comeback, and do so against a much better defense in Michigan State.

The Spartans were in total control midway through the quarter and reminded Iowa that they haven't forgotten the beating it absorbed here last season.

Leading 31-7, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio called for a fake on a 42-yard field goal try and Brad Sonntag picked up the first down.

As one media member remarked, "That's called payback's a [expletive]." The fake undoubtedly was a shot at some aggressive play calling Iowa had with a big lead in last year's game. I like the way this rivalry is headed.

The Spartans need to regroup a bit on both sides of the ball. The defense has had no answer for McNutt, who became Iowa's all-time career receiving yards leader late in the quarter. The Spartans' safeties must find ways to keep McNutt in front of them.

Iowa's defense, meanwhile, must contain the run game in the final quarter. Michigan State established it early with Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker, and it will continue pounding away until Iowa makes some stops.

Should be a fun final 15 minutes. Stay tuned.