Saturday was a homecoming for a few of the Iowa players on the roster, including starters Jaleel Johnson and Jordan Walsh. Both grew up and played their high school football in Chicago near the Northwestern campus. The Hawkeyes love to recruit the 'Windy City' as it is an area plentiful in talent and in close proximity to Iowa City.
Not only does the proximity give Kirk Ferentz's program an advantage when they show up in Chicago, they compete for some highly-rated prospects in the region. Both Jaleel Johnson and Jordan Walsh were four-star recruits. Having the ability to tell them that they will play quite a few games near their hometown can always have a positive impact.
For Walsh, it was great to return home but it does always bring on the pressure of finding enough tickets for everyone in his inner circle.
"Not enough," when he responded to how many tickets he had to get in order for his entourage. "I didn't get enough. The good thing is that they love me enough to buy a ticket or two as well."
It had been a while since the senior was able to play in front of his close friends and family in person and it's definitely something he was looking forward to and then enjoyed.
"Yeah, I had a lot of family and friends here," Walsh shared. "It was definitely fun. We went out there and played a very good Northwestern team and then winning, that made it even more fun. Credit to (Northwestern), they're a good football team."
"Yeah (it was more meaningful)," he added. "It's definitely great (to be in front of people that haven't seen me play in person in a while)."
Blocking for his quarterback that was hobbled and getting the victory over the Wildcats to move to 7-0 on the season was the icing on the cake for Walsh.
"It's definitely (awesome to block for C.J. Beathard)," he pointed out. "He's a hell of a player. He's playing real good football. There was no doubt in how tough he was. No doubt about it. He goes down, gets back up, and keeps going. It's awesome."
"This win just means it's the next step," Walsh continued. "We just have to keep building. We have to keep getting better every week. We have the bye week to get healthy and then we'll focus on the next opponent."