Both teams played very conservatively in the first half, as the teams punted back and forth. Toward the end of the second quarter, Kinnick made a touchdown saving tackle on a Notre Dame run at the Notre Dame 41 yard line. On the next play, a Notre Dame pass was intercepted by Kinnick at the Iowa 45 yard line, and Kinnick dodged several tacklers to return the ball 20 yards with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.
On the next play, Kinnick fired a pass for Dean in the end zone, but it was intercepted by Steve Sitko at the goal line. Sitko returned the ball for a few yards before being hit hard by Andruska, forcing a fumble. Dean and Evans recovered at the Notre Dame 4 yard line. Rushes by Kinnick and Dean for no gain brought up third down, and Notre Dame called a time out. Kinnick shifted to right halfback on third down and carried the ball over the goal line for the touchdown with forty seconds remaining in the half. Kinnick added the extra point under a heavy rush to give Iowa a 7-0 halftime lead.
Most of the third quarter, like the first half, was just a long exchange of punts. But late in the period, Notre Dame put together their best sustained drive of the game. The third quarter ended with the Irish on the Iowa 10 yard line. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Notre Dame rushed ahead for the touchdown. But the critical extra point attempt missed wide left, and the Hawkeyes still held a one point lead.
Iowa's defense continued for force punts from the Notre Dame offense, while Kinnick's booming punts kept Notre Dame on the other side of the field. With under two minutes remaining in the game, Kinnick's 16th punt of the game traveled 63 yards and rolled out of bounds at the Notre Dame 6 yard line, effectively sealing the Iowa victory.
|Box Score - Notre Dame vs. Iowa, 11/11/1939|
|IA - Kinnick 3 yard run (Kinnick kick good) IA 7-0|
|ND - Piepul 6 yard run (Zontini kick missed) IA 7-6|
- Iowa started the same players as they did against Purdue.
- Ken Pettit, Andruska, Bergstrom, Enich, Prasse, Evans, Couppee, and Kinnick played the full 60 minutes.
- Notre Dame was ranked #3 in the nation by the Associated Press.
- The game was played on Armistice Day, now known as Veteran's Day. Kinnick was later killed in a plane crash, training to fight in the Navy during World War II.
- Kinnick kicked 16 punts for 731 yards. Both are school records for Iowa that still stand today.
- Notre Dame switched from (navy) blue jerseys to green jerseys at halftime, probably to avoid confusion with Iowa's black home jerseys.
- The University of Iowa cancelled classes on Monday following the victory.
- When huddling before Kinnick's touchdown (one of perhaps three convened by Couppee all year), a play was called for Buzz Dean, but he had a separated shoulder.
- Ironically, considering his halftime tirade in favor of running Kinnick the week before against Purdue, Anderson was reported to have been yelling, "Don't give the ball to Kinnick! Everybody in the stadium knows you're gonna give the ball to Kinnick!" at Couppee during the aforementioned huddle. He got the ball anyway and scored.
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