#17 Iowa Has Big Holes to Fill for A Huge Game on Saturday
Iowa is 6-0 for the first time in six years and became bowl eligible on October 10. Few outside the Iowa program saw that coming, this soon. However, Saturday's game was one that left Iowa with some serious injury concerns heading into a BIG divisional matchup this Saturday.
Iowa won another hard-hitting West Division game at Kinnick Stadium, in front of nearly 67,000 fans and moved up to #17 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll's. The Hawks lost two more key parts of the team during the game. Senior Defensive Lineman Drew Ott, who already was dealing with a dislocated elbow has now, according to reports, torn his right ACL. That injury would undoubtedly remove him from the remainder of the season, bowl game included. Starting offensive lineman Ike Boettger went down with an ankle injury. His replacement, true freshman James Daniels, struggled mightily. The week of practice ahead will be a big help to him as it's possible he'll be forced to practice with the first team all week.
Another offensive lineman, Boone Myers, wasn't in uniform due to continuing issues with his neck. Running back Leshun Daniels was sidelined with continuing woes from an ankle injury. Following the game Ferentz discussed Daniels situation by saying, "We're just kind of treading water and that's not good enough, so we're starting to take a little different approach right now, and we'll see what this week brings, but we just made the decision this week to try to let's see if we can't start climbing the ladder a little bit more."
Thank goodness for Jordan Canzeri. He toted the ball an Iowa single-game-record 43 times for 256 yards and caught two passes for 15 more. It was nearly a necessity with Daniels out injured, Derrick Mitchell returning from injury, and the explosive Akrum Wadley having been fumble-prone during the early portion of his career. Canzeri just kept answering the call. I love this photo of him during one of his carries yesterday.
One other huge bright spot yesterday was true freshman wide receiver, Jerminic Smith. He came into the game with no catches in his young career. He had four grabs for 118 yards, making him the first true freshmen to have more than 100 yards receiving in a game in Ferentz's coaching career at Iowa. Tevaun Smith will be out again next week, and Jerminic will likely once again be a popular target for Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard.
A trip to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern won't be one iota as easy as yesterday's Michigan/Northwestern final might indicate. The Wolverines won 35 to 0. Pat Fitgerald and company will be licking their wounds and ready to pounce on the Hawks. A Northwestern win vaults them into a first place tie with Iowa in the West division. A Hawkeye victory gives Iowa a two-game lead in the division and the "sky's the- limit" talk gets even louder. The game will kickoff at 11 Saturday morning and be televised by ABC.