IOWA CITY — It wasn’t going to be the same old story. Not today.
Not on Senior Day. Not if those very same Hawkeye football seniors had anything to say about it.
Senior Mike Meyer kicked a go-ahead 34 yard field goal with 4:54 left to go in regulation, giving Iowa its only lead of the day against Michigan. That lead would hold up when senior linebacker Anthony Hitchens stripped and recovered the football that was lost by Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner in Hawkeye territory.
Senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, who caught Iowa’s first touchdown of the game on Saturday, hauled in a game-clinching 12-yard pass to get the final first down the Hawkeyes would need in their final game of 2013 at Kinnick Stadium. All told, 16 seniors went out smiling as several thousand bundled-up fans of the Black and Gold as Iowa scored 17 unanswered second half points to pull out a 24-21 come-from-behind win.
Iowa's seventh win was gratifying for a number of reasons. After allowing Gardner, a versatile signal caller who can beat teams with his arm and with his legs, to produce six touchdowns last year in a 42-17 embarrassment for the Hawkeyes, Gardner was held in check most of the day by a veteran defensive unit.
Gardner finished throwing for just 98 yards on 13-28 passing and netted only 12 more yards running the football. Even when Gardner appeared to have made a big play with his legs, running into potential game-tying field goal range late in the fourth quarter, the Michigan quarterback made a mistake by carrying the ball in his right hand heading for the left sidelines.
That opening was all Hitchens needed. On his final play ever inside Kinnick Stadium as a Hawkeye, the Iowa senior linebacker grabbed the ball just before Gardner could step out of bounds and pulled it free before recovering it on the turf also just before it went out.