It was a tricky road back for Iowa cornerback Desmond King. He's a Jim Thorpe Award finalist, a trophy given to the nation's top defensive back. A large part of that is due to his NCAA-leading eight interceptions and the fact he's put the clamps on some top wideouts such as Tyler Boyd of Pittsburgh and Iowa State's Allen Lazard. Along with Jourdan Lewis of Michigan, King has been a household name in the Big Ten all year at cornerback.
King did suffer a setback heading into the final regular season contest of the year. He was late to a team meeting on Tuesday and the university announced that he would be suspended for the first quarter against the Huskers in Lincoln the morning of the game.
In his return of the second quarter, he muffed a punt that was recovered by the Nebraska defense. He also had a few passes completed on him that he normally wouldn't have allowed. He spoke about his struggles when being inserted in the game.
"I wasn't trying to do too much," he said. "I just misjudged the ball. The wind played a part in that. I didn't know the ball would drop like that. They didn't tell me where to line up so I had to do that play on my own. It was just a bad, bad play."
It was tough for King to watch from the sidelines. He's been a focal point for the defense all year and that made him anxious to come in and impact the game immediately.
"It felt good to get back out there knowing that I had to contribute as quick as possible," he commented. "I wanted to help the team out however I could."
His anxiety and pressure to come up with a positive play as soon as possible may have played a part in his mistake.
"Yeah, I think it had an impact," King admitted. "I muffed that punt and it hurt the team a little bit. They scored on that possession. The momentum changed quickly. I had to come back (from that). I made some big plays after that."
King's suspension is behind him and the pressure has been lifted. It was no doubt a learning moment for the junior that has had a sensational season. He did respond in a positive way from his early mistakes and much more positive play can be expected from him in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis where he will be lined up against top wideout Aaron Burbridge for the Michigan State Spartans.