Iowa becomes eligible for fourth straight bowl game

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- With the score tied and the wind gusting
to 40 miles per hour, Iowa quarterback Drew Tate knew success in
the third quarter -- with the wind at his back -- was crucial.

"We knew that it was the last quarter we'd have with the
wind," he said. "So we really tried to get out there and throw it
around a little bit and put points on the board."

Tate threw for a score and ran for another in a 16-point third
quarter, and Iowa (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) defeated Illinois 23-13 on Saturday, the
Illini's 14th straight Big Ten loss.

The Hawkeyes' defense did its part, too, holding Illinois to
only 26 yards in the quarter and Iowa blocked a punt that went out
of the end zone for a safety.

Tate also converted on third-and-19 and second-and-22 with
successful passes to Warren Holloway and Ed Hinkel during the
second TD drive of the quarter, which ended with Tate running
around left end from 5 yards out after looking for a receiver in
the end zone.

"It wasn't supposed to work out that way, but it did," he

Iowa (6-2, 4-1) won its fourth straight game and became eligible
for a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season. Illinois (2-7,
0-6) lost its sixth straight, further dimming coach Ron Turner's

"When we have opportunities and need to make plays, whether
it's defense, special teams or offense, we're not doing it,"
Turner said. "It's not a matter of anything else, just not making
plays when we needed them, and a lot of that has to do with

Iowa's defense, which came into the game ranked fourth in the
nation against the run, held the Illini to just 58 yards rushing on
25 attempts. The Hawkeyes intercepted Illinois quarterback Brad
Bower once, recovered a fumble and held the Illini to 268 total

"We found ways to get things done," said Hawkeyes coach Kirk
Ferentz, who earned his 50th victory with Iowa. "This is one of
those days that was probably as windy as I can ever remember in a
ball game. To me, wind's much more of a factor than rain or snow."

The Illini scored on their first drive of the game when Bower
threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Jones. But they wouldn't
get close to the end zone again until late in the game.

Jon Beutjer, who transferred to Illinois from Iowa, replaced
Bower to start the fourth quarter and led the Illini on their only
other scoring drive, which finished with a 3-yard TD pass to Jones
with just 49 seconds left. An earlier drive ended at the Iowa 9
when Beutjer's pass bounced off receiver E.B. Halsey and into the
waiting arms of Iowa's Antwan Allen.

Hinkel caught five passes for 108 yards and two 19-yard
touchdowns, and Sam Brownlee carried 19 times for 50 yards as Iowa
gained 319 total yards against a defense ranked 107th nationally
coming into the game.

Tate's first touchdown pass to Hinkel came with 6:28 to go in
the first half and tied the game at 7-all. Faced with third-and-8,
Tate found Hinkel open on a slant route.

Iowa's injury-depleted backfield was dealt two more blows.
Fullback Aaron Mickens was taken from the stadium by ambulance
after he was tackled along the Illinois sideline in the first
quarter and tailback Champ Davis injured his knee and could be out
for the season.

Mickens was experiencing back pain and sustained a mild
concussion, but was expected to be released for the flight home,
Ferentz said.

Mickens and Davis are the fifth and sixth Iowa running backs to
be hurt in a game this season.


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