Only two games in the past six seasons have been decided by more than seven points when Iowa and MSU face off. With both teams matching up comparatively this season, another close one wouldn’t be out of the picture. In head coach Mark Dantonio’s tenure at MSU, the last six years of coaching against Iowa have been anything but calming.
Oct. 27, 2007: Iowa 34, Michigan State 27 (2OT)
MSU key player: Running back Jehuu Caulcrick (19 carries, 45 yards rushing and three touchdowns)
Seeking bowl eligibility in Mark Dantonio’s first season, the Spartans traveled to Kinnick Stadium for a showdown with Iowa.
Although Caulcrick found the endzone three separate times on the day to match a strong passing effort by quarterback Brian Hoyer, the Spartans couldn’t hold a 14-point halftime lead. A 1-yard run by Hawkeye running back Jevon Pugh eventually sealed the deal for Iowa in a double overtime thriller.
Oct. 4, 2008: Michigan State 16, Iowa 13
MSU key player: Linebacker Adam Decker (Eight total tackles including a game-saving tackle against running back Shonn Green on 4th-and-1)
As one of the most explosive running backs in the Big Ten at the time, Iowa’s Shonn Greene demonstrated his prowess against MSU, gaining 157 rushing yards on 30 carries.
However, the 158th yard would prove to be the difference.
Facing 4th-and-1 on MSU’s 21-yard line and the opportunity to score within striking distance, Decker stuffed Greene to end the threat and push the Spartans to 5-1 en route to a 10-win season.
Oct. 24, 2009: Iowa 15, Michigan State 13
MSU’s key player: Wide receiver Blair White (Three receptions, 95 receiving yards and one touchdown)
Under the lights of Spartan Stadium, the Spartans and Hawkeyes provided perhaps the most exciting finish of Dantonio’s tenure.
The game had everything. An audible hit by cornerback Jeremy Ware who cracked Iowa wide receiver Colin Sandeman in the fourth quarter. A 72-yard scoring drive highlighted by a hook-and-ladder play to wide receiver Blair White. And finally, a last-second touchdown pass by Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi to walk away with a victory.
Oct. 30, 2010: Iowa 37, Michigan State 6
MSU key player: Wide receiver Mark Dell (Eight receptions and 98 receiving yards)
There weren’t a lot of positives in a long afternoon for the then-No. 5 Spartans.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions, the running game was ineffective and Stanzi carved up the Spartans’ secondary for three passing touchdowns.
The game handed MSU its first loss of the season and was one of the few blemishes in an outstanding campaign, along with the 49-7 shellacking the team took against Alabama in the Capital One Bowl.
Nov. 12, 2011: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21
MSU key player: Quarterback Kirk Cousins (260 passing yards and three passing touchdowns)
The Spartans returned to Kinnick Stadium to a very different result in 2011.
Cousins controlled the pace throughout the game, passing for 260 yards and three touchdowns, two of which found wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, in a convincing victory for the then-No. 13 Spartans.
Oct. 13, 2012: Iowa 19, Michigan State 16 (2OT)
MSU key player: Running back Le’Veon Bell (19 carries, 140 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown)
Another double overtime affair in cold weather and driving rain, the Spartans fell to Iowa a season ago.
Iowa running back Mark Weisman rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown to tie the game in the final minute of regulation. Iowa kicker Mike Meyer drained both field goal attempts in overtime to push the Hawkeyes over the top.