IOWA CITY—Raspy voiced and red cheeked, Michigan coach Brady Hoke took the podium following the Wolverines’ 24-21 loss at Iowa breathing disappointment as the mid-season goal of a 10-win season came crumbling down Saturday.
“We play for our seniors,” Hoke said when asked what’s left to play for. “And that’s been the first thing we always play for.
“And we’ve got a pretty big rivalry game next week.”
Yes, Michigan is getting set to host Ohio State next Saturday. A Buckeye team that now sits 11-0, a perfect 23-0 since Coach Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus.
Ohio State is also ranked the No. 3 team in the country, sitting just outside of the national title picture with as much on the line as any team in the country.
Still, Hoke tried to exude hope for a Michigan team that now sits 7-4, facing the thought of dealing with a second five-loss season in a row.
“It hurts,” Hoke said. “It takes a little nick out of you but the good thing is the sun comes out tomorrow and we’re going to regroup and we got one more opportunity for our seniors in that stadium.”
In Kinnick Stadium Saturday Michigan looked anything but prepared to take on their chief rival.
Defensively, Michigan got the turnovers they’ve been craving all season but crumbled at key moments in the second half as Iowa stormed back to take the lead.
The offense continued to sputter with a non-existent ground game and passing game lacking in cohesion.
Hoke at least see’s what part of the problem is offensively.
“I think it’s a combination of all eleven guys who are out there,” Hoke said. “I think at times we hit on eleven cylinders, then there’s times it’s ten, then there’s times it’s nine.
“But it seems to be rotating through.”
Linebackers Desmond Morgan and James Ross each left Michigan’s loss at Iowa with undisclosed injuries.
After the game Hoke said he had yet to get word on the status of either.
In their stead, sophomore Joe Bolden and true freshman Ben Gedeon stepped in. Bolden finished his day with four tackles, Gedeon with three of his own.
“Joe Bolden plays a lot,” Hoke said. “I thought Gedeon, I thought Ben -- I saw him on some tackles. Now, were the fits right, you know, all that kind of stuff? I can’t tell you that.”