One Hawkeye that does not get nearly the attention he deserves is cornerback Desmond King. The junior is a sesnational player and should be up for all-conference honors at season's end. He not only makes plays, three interceptions on the year, but he fills his responsibility in the run game perfectly, gives opponents a very slim opening to deliver the ball in, and has been a quality returner on special teams so far.
King has had two stiff challenges already this year, in Iowa State's Allen Lazard and Pittsburgh receiver Tyler Boyd. Lazard is moved around a lot so he wasn't always locked up on him, but he squared off on Boyd often. Once King picked off two passes in the first quarter, head coach Pat Narduzzi and the Panther offense also got creative to give Boyd opportunities against secondary members other than King.
Boyd put up strong numbers in the game against Iowa as you can't keep a player of that caliber down all game long. However, his explosiveness was limited. Despite racking up over 100 yards receiving, he was never able to break loose for a long gain or take one to the house.
"Knowing the ball being up there and knowing if I had a chance to go get it, I was going to go get it," King said of his interceptions. "The one in the back of the end zone, I was trialing him. I knew they were going to throw to him. That's their guy. They like to get it to him in the red zone. Once I seen I had a shot to go get the ball, I cut up underneath him and got the ball."
King had success but he still had a ton of praise for the Pittsburgh standout.
"Going up against him last year, same thing," King commented. "I knew he was one of the top receivers in the country. That's a big challenge. If you want to take that challenge as a corner, you have to step up to the plate."
"He's an excellent player," King continued. "I think he's a great receiver. No doubt about it. He's one of the best receivers in the country that I have faced and that's a fact."
Boyd's ability is always a welcoming challenge for King, but he's always been geared up when the week to face Pittsburgh arrives.
"(I've been excited about this matchup) since freshman year," he noted. "Ever since I found out we were going to play Pitt. I always like playing against Pittsburgh because that's one of the teams I was looking at but it didn't work out. I always want to go against Pittsburgh whenever we have a chance."