- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

IOWA CITY, IOWA (AP) - Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz took full blame on Tuesday for a pair of calls that helped Wisconsin beat the Hawkeyes 31-30 last week.

Ferentz said he wished he would have told quarterback Ricky Stanzi to spike the ball rather than take a timeout late in the fourth quarter. He also regrets not calling for safer coverage on a fake punt that helped Wisconsin keep its game-winning drive alive.

Stanzi converted a fourth down with a sneak at the Wisconsin 39-yard line with the Hawkeyes trailing 31-30. But Iowa burned its final timeout with 12 seconds left rather than have Stanzi spike it, which would have stopped the clock.

Stanzi then threw a shovel pass under heavy duress to Adam Robinson, who failed to get out of bounds before the clock ran out.

Ferentz and Stanzi both said that the sneak took much less time off the clock than they thought it would, which messed up what Iowa was planning to do from there on.

“In retrospect, I wish we would’ve clocked it quite frankly,” Ferentz said. “I wish I had done it over, could do over. I can’t. So, live with it. Cost us one play.”

The bigger blunder came midway through the fourth quarter, though, when Wisconsin converted a gutsy fake punt from its own 26-yard line trailing 30-24.

The Hawkeyes sent nearly everyone back for a return instead of keeping more players back to prevent a possible fake. Punter Brad Nortman took a couple steps as though he was going to kick the ball, then tucked it down and ran 17 yards for a crucial first down.

The Badgers capped the drive with Montee Ball’s 8-yard TD run with 1:06 left.

“Had we gone punt safe, it wouldn’t have been an issue,” Ferentz said. “We blew that one. That’s my job.”

Ferentz caught a lot of heat for those calls after the game, though a blocked extra point and a botched field goal also hurt the Hawkeyes chances.

Iowa’s players said that Ferentz quickly took responsibility for those mistakes.

“That just shows so much about his character. That, him being the leader of the team, the head coach, and taking the blame for that even though it may have been our fault on the field or somebody else’s fault…that’s huge,” Robinson said.

No. 18 Iowa (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) hosts fifth-ranked Michigan State (8-0, 4-0) on Saturday.



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