Game Balls: Iowa vs Indiana

Handing out the game balls to the top Iowa Hawkeye performers against Indiana.



It was the best that he has looked since the North Texas game, really. Wisconsin didn't have a lot of offense, Illinois was up and down, and he was really battling pain against Northwestern and Maryland. He looked healthier against Indiana and even took some risks with his legs which shows he's getting more comfortable. He's just so much tougher to defend, and contributes so much more when he has his mobility. That can be said for anyone but especially Beathard.


I thought he definitely was knocking rust off for most of the Maryland game but he bounced back on Saturday against Indiana with an excellent performance. It was the best the offensive line has looked in pass protection in months and he was a big reason why. His quick feet and quickness out of the stance really make the left side a good spot for him.


You look up the box score and you wonder why Krieger Coble is getting a game ball from me but it wasn't the numbers, certainly. It was when he came up with his two catches, when he delivered a critical block. He was clutch on Saturday just like his quarterback and seems to come up with a big play when they need it. He's a lot like Matt VandeBerg in that way, coming up big on third downs.



Without Drew Ott the Hawkeyes really struggle with pass rush. They used to be able to get to the quarterback by rushing four but they just don't have the horses to get that accomplished anymore. I've been impressed by Niemann with the way he can move laterally and get from sideline to sideline but he's even more valuable to this defense now as the pass rush has to be manufactured by sending additoinal guys. Niemann is one of the best at coming off the edge, believe it or not. He's got a burst that surprises many folks. Look for him to be used more in blitz packages as the year rolls along.


If I only allowed myself to give one game ball a game, I would give this one to Jewell. Not much more needs to be said. He was everywhere and made play after play on Saturday against the Hoosiers. It was the best linebacker performance I've seen this year by anyone, Hawkeyes or opponents. He was listed as having 15 tackles but that still seems low. 11 of them were solo.


He's been hampered by some lingering health issues the past few weeks but Taylor has shown a lot of toughness in battling through it. This team is tough and he's another example. He struggled in the first few games of the season but he has been one of the top defensive backs in the Big Ten the last few weeks. He's playing at a high level, and if he had stickier hands, he'd probably have a few more interceptions as well.

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