Posted November 17, 2012 on AP on Fox
Iowa is in danger of closing the season with its longest losing streak since Kirk Ferentz was in his first season in charge of the once-proud program. Devin Gardner had a lot to do with the latest setback, scoring six touchdowns the first six times No. 23 Michigan had the ball in a 42-17 rout against the Hawkeyes on Saturday. ''Defensively, we didn't have any answers for anything they did,'' Ferentz said. Offensively, the Hawkeyes didn't fare much better after kicking a field goal early in the second quarter to make it 14-10. Iowa (4-7, 2-5) was officially eliminated from postseason contention by losing its fifth straight game for the first time since 2000. ''What we have to play for is pride,'' safety Tanner Miller said. If the Hawkeyes don't upset Nebraska next week at home, the six-game skid will be their longest since losing the last eight games of 1999 in Ferentz's first season as head coach. ''It's not much fun,'' he said. ''After we're done, we'll address it and find solutions and get back to where we want to be.'' Iowa athletic director Gary Barta has insisted the end is not near for Ferentz, publicly supporting a coach to whom he has given a contract through the 2020 season. The Wolverines (8-3, 6-1) weren't stopped on offense by the hapless Hawkeyes until Gardner threw an interception early in the fourth quarter. Denard Robinson played after missing two-plus games with nerve damage in his right elbow, starting at running back and taking some snaps at QB without throwing a pass. Iowa got a key player back on the field at the Big House. Running Mark Weisman, who had been out with a groin injury, ran for 63 yards on 16 carries and caught a TD pass from James Vandenberg late in the game. That didn't make the score look much more respectable. ''We're getting what we deserve,'' receiver Keenan Davis said. ''We're not playing well enough to win games.'' Vandenberg was 19 of 26 for 181 yards and threw two TDs for the first time this season. He made a 16-yard pass to Henry Krieger-Coble that made it 7-all late in the first quarter in a game that the Wolverines led 28-10 at halftime. Vandenberg tossed a 13-yard pass to Weisman for the final score with 2:12 left in the rout. The senior quarterback said he didn't want to think about his college career being over next week, ending a season that started with high hopes. ''Obviously, it hasn't turned out as we wanted,'' he said. ''We always talk about building something for the next game, for the future. ''We're building for next year now.'' Vandenberg, though, won't be around to help the Hawkeyes in 2013. Iowa had beaten Michigan three straight times for the first time in series history and five times in the previous eight matchups. ''They didn't write us off this time,'' Vandenberg said. ''They came out ready to play. They beat us in every phase of the game.'' --- Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage
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