The Hawkeyes wrapped up the 2012 in disappoint fashion with their sixth straight loss, all in conference play. We have all the news and notes from Friday afternoon's loss to Nebraska, including new faces in the lineup, players returning to the field, and we hand out our weekly game balls.
OFFENSE: James Ferentz - The Iowa offense struggled most of the day, but we really need to recognize the effort of James Ferentz today. He was terrific just about all game long. He always plays with a bit of a mean streak and today it was extra mean. After an emotional greeting with his parents prior to his final game as a Hawkeye, Ferentz played one of the best games of his career.
DEFENSE: James Morris - The junior middle linebacker has been basically stuck together the final weeks of the season with a variety of nagging injuries. In the final game of the regular season he came up huge with 13 tackles, including two for loss. Iowa's defense played inspired football for a good portion of the game limiting the Huskers to just 13 points after struggling the last month to stop any opponent.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Conor Kornbrath and John Wienke - This was hardly an ideal day for anyone kicking the football, unless you had the wind at your back. The Iowa punting duo averaged 40 yards per punt on seven opportunities and Kornbrath put two kicks inside the 20 yard line.
NEWS AND NOTES
As expected, Damon Bullock did not dress on Saturday. The sophomore running back dressed last week at Michigan and went through pregame drills, but did not play. Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that it was unlikely that Bullock would play against Nebraska.
Christian Kirksey left for a few plays and was replaced by Travis Perry at linebacker.
Joe Gaglione missed the final game of his college career due to injury. The senior participated in senior day activities, but did not play against Nebraska. He was replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Darian Cooper, who played defensive tackle. Steve Bigach moved out to defensive end.
Besides Cooper moving into the starting lineup, a few adjustments were made during the game, particularly in the defensive backfield. Colin Sleeper replaced Nico Law in the first half at strong safety. John Lowdermilk replaced Tanner Miller for part of a series before Miller returned.
Anthony Hitchens returned to the starting lineup for the Hawkeyes after missing last week's game.
It was an emotional senior day for many of the Iowa players. One of the notable parents attending senior day was former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who meet his son, Greg, as midfield for the senior day ceremony.
As mentioned earlier, James Ferentz had his senior day moment and met his father and mother, Mary, at midfield. As they walked away from the initial embrace at midfield, it appeared that Kirk Ferentz was wiping away a few tears. 19 Hawkeyes participated in senior day this year.
C.J. LEADS THE WAY
For the second straight week, C.J. Fiedorowicz was Iowa's leading receiver. The junior tight end caught 6 passes for 56 yards. In the past two weeks he has 14 receptions for 155 yards.
VANDY FINISHES CAREER
The Iowa career of James Vandenberg has come to an end. The senior quarterback completed his 500th pass as a Hawkeye on Saturday. For his career, the Keokuk native completed 507 passes for 5,786 yards. Vandenberg also scored Iowa's only touchdown of the day on Iowa's first possession of the game. It was his 4th rushing touchdown of the year.
The Hawkeyes finished the season with a 4-8 record. That is their worst finish since the 2000 season when they finished 3-9. Iowa finished 2-6 in the Big Ten, including six straight losses to end the season. Iowa finished 2-6 in conference play back in 2006.
In pregame warm-ups the back offensive line was (L/R) Ward, Clark, Gaul, Walsh, and Croston. The backup defensive line was: Spears, Hardy, C. Davis, and Ott.
This week the kickoff return team was: Cotton, Garmon, Kreiger-Coble, Staggs, Reisen, Derby, Hillyer, Lowdermilk, Gimm, Perry, and Donatell.
The kickoff coverage team was: Shumpert, Hillyer, Swanson, Fisher, Kirksey, Meyer, Law, Lowdermilk, Nielsen, Sleeper, and Cotton.
James Morris led Iowa's tacklers this week with 13 stops, including two tackles for loss. Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens also reached double figures in tackles. Kirksey had 11 tackles, including a sack. Hitchens had ten stops. B.J. Lowery had nine tackles. Dominic Alvis had three tackles, including a sack. Darian Cooper had five tackles, including one for loss.
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