The Hawkeyes used a faster than normal start and capitalized on Minnesota turnovers for a 31-13 win on Saturday. The victory brought Floyd of Rosedale back to Iowa City. Find out the last news on the injury front, a tight end getting significantly more snaps, and we hand out our weekly game balls to three very deserving Hawkeye players.
OFFENSE: Iowa's Offensive Line - Let's give the game ball to the entire Iowa offensive line. They haven't given up a quarterback sack since the first game of the season and they have been opening up some running lanes that have been gigantic. Specific recognition goes to center James Ferentz, left guard Matt Tobin, and left tackle Brandon Scherff. That trio has been outstanding and playing the best I've seen an Iowa offensive line performed in many years. As any skill position player on the Hawkeyes, especially quarterback James Vandenberg and running back Mark Weisman and they will tell you the offensive line is making it all possible right now for the Hawkeyes.
DEFENSE: James Morris - Early on this year some fans were getting after Morris a little bit, but those critics have grown silent these days. Morris has been playing the best football of his Iowa career right now and more importantly, he's taken over the leadership role on the defense. Morris finished with ten tackles against Minnesota, including a quarterback sack. He has also a pass breakup as the Hawkeyes limited the Gophers to just 13 points on the afternoon.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Micah Hyde - The easy pick is always going to be Mike Meyer, but Iowa's punt return game has been silent most of the season. For the first time this year, it really showed signs of life thanks to a more aggressive Micah Hyde. His 27 yard return in the second quarter helped set up one of the Hawkeyes three touchdowns in the quarter. Hyde finished the day with 35 return yards.
NEWS AND NOTES
Cornerback B.J. Lowery missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury. He was replaced by senior Greg Castillo, who had his first career interception and also seven tackles against Minnesota. Lowery is expected to return when Iowa faced Michigan State in two weeks.
Right guard Austin Blythe missed today's game due to injury. He was replaced by redshirt sophomore Andrew Donnal, who helped lead the way for another big day on the ground by running back Mark Weisman and kept James Vandenberg sack free once again.
Running back Greg Garmon returned to action this week for the Hawkeyes. After missing last week due to injury, Garmon served as a backup to Mark Weisman and rushed for three yards and caught a pass for three years. Garmon also served as one of Iowa's return men on kickoffs.
Linebacker Nate Meier did not dress today. No reason was given.
It was thought at one point that true freshman Reese Fleming might play this season at wide receiver. Those plans are probably out the window now. Fleming was working at cornerback today in pregame warm-ups. Incidentally, Fleming was originally recruited by Iowa to play cornerback.
Kickoff Return: Garmon, Cotton, Staggs, Perry, Lowdermilk, Hillyer, Gimm, Hamilton, Rogers, Derby, and Duzey.
Kickoff coverage: Meyer, Hillyer, Sleeper, Lowdermilk, Shumpert, Law, Alston, Castillo, Swanson, Lowdermilk, and Kirksey.
A DUZEY OF A PLAYING TIME
Redshirt freshman tight end Jake Duzey saw the most extensive playing time of his young career. Duzey played significant snaps for the first time in his career. Sophomore Ray Hamilton saw a significant move in his playing time of the season, including 20 yard reception.
WEISMAN FOR HEISMAN
It's a catchy phrase, don't you think? The one time fullback was pressed to service at running back against Northern Iowa, added 177 more yards to his impressive rushing totals. In the past three games, Weisman has rushed for 507 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Iowa's defense was very opportunistic against Minnesota, forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions. The most spectacular of those picks was by Tanner Miller in the first quarter. Initially the play ruled out of bounds before being overturned by replay official. In addition to Castillo's interception earlier in the contest, Christian Kirksey also intercepted a pass and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
RACKING UP EARLY YARDS
Iowa's offense was really moving in the first half, particularly in the second quarter when the Hawkeyes scored 21 quick points. In the first half Iowa rolled up 328 yards of total offense. In the second half, Iowa could only generate just under 60 yards of total offense.
As usual, Anthony Hitchens led the Hawkeyes with twelve tackles, including one quarterback sack. James Morris finished with 10 tackles, including one sack. Greg Castillo and Louis Trinca-Pasat finished with seven tackle each.
The Hawkeyes have a week off this coming week. The following week they travel to East Lansing, MI to face Michigan State. Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. (Central Time). TV for the game should be determined on Monday.
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