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Iowa stays perfect thanks to late heroics

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Iowa Survives With Last-Second TD Vs. MSU (1:03)

Ricky Stanzi found Marvin McNutt as time expired to keep Iowa's undefeated season alive (1:03)

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

There's something very special happening with the Iowa Hawkeyes right now, and who knows how far it will take them.

Perhaps all the way to Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 7.

No college football team runs the table without a few bumps in the road. Iowa has traveled a path littered with potholes and continued to reach its destination.

The Hawkeyes survived another scare Saturday against Michigan State, rallying for the seventh time in eight games. And this one topped them all in terms of drama and clutch plays.

After enduring just a miserable night, junior quarterback Ricky Stanzi hit Marvin McNutt in the end zone with no time left to lift Iowa to a 15-13 victory.

Stanzi and his wide receivers once again were at their best in the clutch, hooking up four times for 59 yards on the last drive. And after twice being denied inside the 10-yard and having to settle for ugly looking field goals, Stanzi came up with the pass of his life.

Iowa has opened a season 8-0 for the first time in team history and will rise in the BCS standings on Sunday. The Hawkeyes are three-fourths of their way through a tortuous Big Ten road schedule, with only a trip to Ohio State on Nov. 14 left. I don't see Iowa losing its three home games, so everything likely will come down to the Ohio State clash.

Neither team reached the end zone for 58 minutes before Michigan State broke through with 1:37 left. The Spartans made what would have been the play of the night as Blair White gained 27 yards on a hook-and-lateral from Kirk Cousins to Brian Linthicum on third-and-18. White then found an open zone in Iowa's defense and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown from Cousins. It's hard to think of a tougher way for a team to lose a game. Michigan State's defense totally shut down Stanzi until the final drive.

Actually, both defenses played out of their minds, especially Iowa's front four.

The Big Ten still has a horse in the national championship race. And right now, it would be foolish to bet against the Hawkeyes.